Merton College Oxford, founded in 1264, is celebrating its 750th year. To this end, the college choir have commissioned fifty-five composers to write new music for an anniversary Merton Choirbook. Fifty-five! Imagine the labours – contacting composers worldwide, contracting them, enquiring politely after their progress, obtaining the printed copies, deciphering and learning music of wildly differing styles (the majority of the singers are under the age of 21 and not studying music for their university degrees, and are therefore doing this in their spare time.) It is inspiring to see one of the oldest educational institutions in the world so intensely involved the future, rather than hiding behind the idea of ‘heritage’. I felt honoured to contribute a Marian Antiphon, Ave Regina Caelorum, which I heard being recorded for Delphian Records in Oxford last night under conductor Benjamin Nicholas.
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