April 2020: just completed the second of two pieces for York Late Music. It is a piece for the Elysian Singers setting Emily Brontë’s ‘No coward soul is mine’ to form a pairing with David Power‘s setting of the same poem. It has been a rewarding project that has allowed me to draw on the knowledge of medieval music I developed whilst teaching a new module at the University of Surrey last semester. I noticed that David had avoided setting the three verses of the poem containing specifically religious references and this allowed me to draw on plainchant (from the 2nd Vespers service on Whit Sunday) as the material for my piece. I also use David’s striking setting of the opening line of the poem (that has a very biting quality), contrasting it with a parallel setting to the antiphon ‘Hodie compléti sunt’ (The days are complete). Quite when this piece is going to see the light of day is another matter – at the time of writing coronavirus has laid waste to the UK’s classical music calendar for the foreseeable future. And my first piece for this year’s festival, Berceuse 1917, has met the same fate I’m afraid. I’m hoping I’ll be able to post news about both performances before too long.