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SING TO ME, SING
This choral work was commissioned by Uppingham Choral Society for their 50th anniversary in 2009, and given its first performance by the choir on December 18 of that year, in Uppingham Parish Church.
It sets a specially-written poem by Hilary Spiers, which reflects upon how the fast pace of modern life often obscures the age-old Christian truths. It points out that there is a need for stillness and calm in our lives in order to regenerate our inherent spirituality.
The composer first explored the over-commercialisation of Christmas in his earliest work, A Life to Grow, and is returning to the theme here – which perhaps has even greater relevance today. However, although Christmas is a time to reflect on peace and goodwill, this poem has a universal significance, and the piece can be performed throughout the year. The setting is unashamedly melodic. The interval of a fourth is important throughout, both in the melodic line, and harmonically in both piano and choir.
The initial verses, each commencing with ‘Sing to me’, also start with falling fourths (perhaps alluding to a peal of bells). A prayer-like setting of ‘Through this broken world, a sigh’ occurs twice in a minor mode.
Its transformation to the major key affirms that ‘Christ is with us, Christ is here!’ – and the piece concludes with a final, hushed statement of ‘Sing to me, sing’, also uplifted to the major key.