A Creative Commons Christmas

I’m currently busy on an SSATB a cappella composition with the working title of “Starlight”. No text for the piece as yet, but everything going well.

I should have some midi samples ready witihn a week or two, but it is Christmas, so things may slow down as eggnog making, gingerbread house construction, and building of various yummy salads all get in the way of things, as they tend to do at this time of the year.

In other news, I’m now a fully represented SOUNZ composer. They’ve received and approved my paperwork, so you’ll now start to be able to find my works at the SOUNZ website too, along with those of other New Zealand composers.

If you’re looking for new works to perform, go check out the website. It’s worth a look.

Sharing music at Christmas

Christmas is coming fast, and with it a fair number of performances of my works around the world. This week I was sent a copy of the flute line Mark at All Saints Edmonton in London has written for Mary Sings A Lullaby.

They’ll be performing his two voice plus flute arrangement of Mary on the 18th of December. I’ll be adding Mark’s score to this website with his permission, and to the Choral Public Domain Library, sometime fairly soon.

This is the beauty of Creative Commons release – it enables performers to add their own touches to the work, without fear of repercussion. It also provides new options for choirs and churches, free of charge, for their performances and services.

Copyright should end after 10 years

If I had my way, I’d make copyright end after 10 years. I think we need more free – and freely shared – music in the world. Right here, right now at Christmas, I am reminded how it is more important to give than to receive. Ten years would be enough for composers to earn fairly, then to share our music without fees attached.

After all, if we are able to write music it is not through anything we’ve done ourselves, but usually through lucky chance, and the gifts of others – music lessons as a child, music teachers who cared and worked hard themselves, mentors and friends, and others taking an interest in us, supporting us, and performing our music.

After ten years, I think it is high time to give something back.

Christmas performances – England, the USA and New Zealand

Just a quick mention of some more performances I’ve been contacted about recently.

Over in England, right near where my Dad grew up near Nottingham, Sing Christmas! is receiving another performance in the village of Burton Joyce, in the annual Christmas concerts there on the 17th and 19th.

And I was lucky to be able to attend a performance of Sing Christmas! here in my own home city of Dunedin, by the Southern Consort of Voices, performed at St. Paul’s Cathedral. It still feels off hearing my own works from my head, brought to life in front of me. I felt honoured and humbled to be present.

Another piece that received another outing recently was “Yule” from the Wheel of the Year. It was performed by the Timberlake High School Choir in Idaho on December 7th, which gave me an Idaho premiere – I’d never been performed there at all, to the best of my knowledge. I hope your concert went well over there!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

It’s really starting to feel like Christmas here.

In the southern hemisphere, we have a summer Christmas instead of a winter one, but this time of year comes around, and I get all sentimental, reminded of trying to stay awake for Father Christmas hour after hour – and failing dismally! – as a kid.

Our Christmas tree is looking beautiful, with real bells on it that jingle when my children shake them. We have a star on top, and an assortment of home-made and collected decorations – everything from yoghurt pottles sprinkled with glitter glue and sparkle, made by my four year old daughter, through to hand-blown glass from Venice – a gift from my travelling parents.

It’s all equal in beauty to me, when it hangs on the tree – although maybe the handmade decorations by my kids come a little higher in importance 😉

This is probably my last post for the year. With so much to do, there’s likely not much time to post again before 2012. So all I can say is, thanks to everyone who has been reading, thanks especially to the choirs and musicians who have been performing my music – and I hope everyone has a safe and happy Christmas and New Year.

Performances in New Zealand – including Dunedin

My Christmas music is getting a number of performances around the world this Christmas, including locally here in New Zealand and in Dunedin.

I was contacted by Professor Caldwell of Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania earlier in the month, letting me know that my short work, Love Will Make The Roses Grow was to be performed by the Susquehanna University Women’s Choir on the 18th of November.

Auckland’s “The Three Mezzos Vocal Trio”, comprising accomplished singers Lynne Anderson, Margo Knightbridge and Barbara Lynch, performed the three voice version of my recent composition Mary Sings A Lullaby on November 20th in the Ballroom at Highwic in Epsom.

Also on the North Island, the Renaissance Singers in Hamilton performed Mary Sings a Lullaby, in four parts, on the 20th of November, together with Samhain, Beltane, Yule and Lammas from my Wheel of the Year song cycle.

“Mary” is getting a number of performances around the world – it has other scheduled performances for 2011 by choirs in England (London) and Canada, and possibly Hong Kong (China).

Probably the most exciting performance for me, though, is one by a local choir, Southern Consort of Voices. They’re a Dunedin-based chamber choir, and will be performing my 2010 piece Sing Christmas! in St. Paul’s Cathedral in the Octagon at their traditional lunchtime Christmas concert.

The concert is at 12:15 pm, tickets are $15 and $10. This concert is particularly exciting for me, because I get to hear my work performed live – usually I only get recordings, or word of mouth that the performance occurred!

The concert is also exciting because I used to sing in St. Paul’s Cathedral. Hearing my own music performed there by a local choir will be a real honour.

Here is the press release for the concert:

    This year’s Christmas concert on Friday, December 2nd, is to be held in the traditional venue, St Paul’s Cathedral at 12.15pm. But the programme is far from traditional, with a variety of works from the 20th century, including several New Zealand pieces.

    The concert will begin with the energetic Noel by Roxburgh and the lilting Shepherd’s Carol by Bob Chilcott. These are followed by a couple of charming vignettes from John Ritchie and the warm and colourful Bless this Child from Christopher Marshall’s Triptych (No. 1). The title song, Sing Christmas, is by local composer, Leanne Veitch, and features playful rhythms and even a little percussion.

    We allow ourselves a step back in time to sing three Marion pieces, notably Phillip’s beautifully-constructed renaissance motet, Hodie Beata Virgo, and two gorgeous Russian pieces, Dostoino Yest by Tchaikovsky and Bogoroditse Djevo by Rachmaninoff, from his Vespers.

    We then finish with a flourish, tackling a couple of snappy Jazz numbers.

If you’re a Dunedinite, come along, and support a great choir, and get a chance to listen to some terrific music in a beautiful accoustic.

“I heard the bells on Christmas Day” SATB score release

“I heard the bells on Christmas Day” has just been released for SATB at this website.

You can download the score freely at the Works page for the piece, located here: “I heard the bells on Christmas Day” Works page.

More information about the piece is available at that same page.

As always, if you decide to perform this work – or any other of my pieces – please let me know, and I love to know who is singing my music around the world!