The commission follows a fabulous weekend of music in Bristol and Oxford with twenty new works by composers from all over the EU, premiered by Bristol Cathedral Choir, Christchurch Cathedral Choir and Kokoro Ensemble, overseen by Michael Ellison, Neal Farwell and Paul Mealor.
The EU-funded Old Hispanic Office project, led by Emma Hornby, is focusing on musical, liturgical, theological, notational and historical aspects of the rite celebrated in medieval Iberia until it was suppressed in favour of the Roman liturgy with its Gregorian chant repertoire.
As well as presenting their work through conventional means (including conference papers, journal articles and a monograph), they are sharing their findings with composers within and beyond the project team. The composers are then responding to the historical findings in compositional form, capturing something of the aesthetic and purpose of the medieval material, in modern music for modern contexts.
It was fascinating to hear the wide range of different responses all derived from the same point of departure and an absolute privilege to be a part of such a creative and thought provoking residency. My huge thanks go to Emma and her team for making this happen.
Oh....and the beautiful photo is by the talented composer (and photographer!) Raphael Languillat.