for unaccompanied SATB choir
Whether sacred or secular, a cappella or church choir and organ, upper voices or SATB, we’ve got Christmas covered! John Rutter calls him “a many-sided composer of prodigious gifts” and Howard Goodall says he’s “the ideal 21st-century musician”, so why not try some of Alexander L’Estrange’s varied and satisfying Christmas repertoire this year?
A new choral collection takes flight as Tenebrae launches a soaring new album of uplifting sacred works by Alexander L’Estrange – available on Amazon/iTunes: http://amzn.to/1MC8BEA
All the sheet music from the album is available to buy or download at http://www.alexanderlestrangeshop.com…
A musical relationship that took off in 2002 soars to new heights in April 2016 with the launch of On Eagles’ Wings – an album of sacred choral works by acclaimed British composer Alexander L’Estrange performed by one of the world’s finest vocal ensembles, Tenebrae http://www.tenebrae-choir.com
Released by Signum Classics, the album, recorded by Tenebrae and Artistic Director Nigel Short, is of great significance to composer, choir and conductor. Tenebrae and Nigel helped launch L’Estrange’s choral career in 2002 by commissioning him to write a Christmas anthem for the ensemble. This first anthem, Lute-book Lullaby, was to be L’Estrange’s first published choral work and its success resulted in countless commissions from festivals, schools and cathedral choirs, many of which feature on this new disc.
Alexander L’Estrange is perhaps best known for his large-scale choral works including Zimbe!, Ahoy!, and Song Cycle! – which have proved to be hugely popular with singers around the world. But the sixteen anthems featured on this new album, exquisitely performed by Tenebrae, richly illustrate that L’Estrange is equally in his element as a composer of sacred choral music.
The CD and its cover notes perfectly illustrate that L’Estrange’s stylistic versatility and musicianship owe a great deal to his formative experience as a boy chorister at New College Oxford under the direction of Dr Edward Higginbottom. As well as the key influence of the English choral tradition, L’Estrange’s sacred choral works contain subtle allusions to expressive jazz-like harmonies and sonorities– a combination that distinctly characterises his unique voice as a composer.
From the soaring title track On Eagles’ Wings with its powerful and uplifting melody for upper voices and the rousing Hodie! to the gentle lilting An Irish Blessing, the album will appeal to lovers of this blossoming genre within contemporary choral music.
Choral legend John Rutter says of the disc: “Alexander L’Estrange is a many-sided composer of prodigious gifts and this is an album I will return to again and again … one gorgeous piece after another, in pristine, dew-fresh performances by the ever-wonderful Tenebrae.”
While conductor Simon Halsey adds, “It is unusual and deeply gratifying to find a ‘voice’ like Alexander L’Estrange’s… Approachable, highly popular but, at the same time, beautifully crafted and full of integrity … this is the music of someone steeped in a great tradition since childhood, bringing new life and creative vigour to what he so loves and understands.”
On Eagles’ Wings was officially launched in concert on L’Estrange’s birthday on Thursday 7 April 2016 at St James’s Roman Catholic Church, Spanish Place in London.
Video made by WEBB STREET STUDIOS – please visit webbstreetstudios.co.uk
In the beautiful candlelit church of St James’, Spanish Place, London, award-winning chamber choir Tenebrae launched the new CD “On Eagles’ Wings”, featuring many of Alexander’s sacred choral pieces commissioned over the last decade or so and recorded here for the first time all on one disc.
Link to buy CD: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Alexander-LEstrange-Eagles-Sacred-Choral/dp/B01953YRZQ
EXCLUSIVE – 3 pre-release Christmas snippets from the forthcoming Signum Classics CD “On Eagles’ Wings”, featuring world-famous choir Tenebrae, directed by Nigel Short.
Think of it as a Christmas present from us to you!
All the sheet music, including these 3 Christmas baubles, now available on Alexander’s webshop: www.alexanderlestrangeshop.com
For the first time, all of Alexander L’Estrange’s choral works can be found, viewed, enjoyed and bought all in one place!
The new address is www.alexanderlestrangeshop.com and, along with helpful categories, search features, previews and (*soon to come) audio samples, there are links to buy CDs AND brand new, helpful introductory videos where Alexander explains and talk about the the different facets to his work:
Explore, have a browse, and enjoy. There will be more works added soon, and, excitingly, more of Alexander’s a cappella and jazz arrangements, made famous by groups such as the King’s Singers, Amarcord and the Swingles
The latest choral cantata from popular British composer Alexander L’Estrange’s, an entertaining 45-minute celebration of the bicycle, is launched on CD and on iTunes http://songcyclevlv.com/buy-cds
Click here to watch the video with excerpts from the new recording.
SONG CYCLE: vive la vélorution! was commissioned to mark the grand départ of 2014’s Tour de France in Yorkshire. York’s Chapter House Choir www.chapterhousechoir.org conducted by Stephen Williams (Director of Music at Uppingham School), had the idea to commission a new choral work to be performed in York Minster by hundreds of singers – adult and children’s choirs from across the county – as part of the Yorkshire Festival. L’Estrange, who has become to go-to composer for large-scale community works of this kind, jumped at the chance to write a cycling-themed piece for the occasion.
“As a keen cyclist myself, I was delighted with this commission”, he says. “It gave me the perfect excuse to spend a few days in Yorkshire, to cycle some of the route and gain inspiration. The experience reinforced my desire to write an uplifting, light-hearted and entertaining piece which would reflect both the enormous appeal of this most popular and energy-efficient mode of transport and also the beauty of our natural surroundings.”
Each of the ten songs, scored for SATB choir and jazz quintet, reflects a different aspect of cycling: from the often-amusing initial objections in the late nineteenth century (Fine and dandy) and the unexpected role it played in the emancipation of women (A woman wearing bloomers on a wheel) to the glorious sensation of cycling through the countryside (My wheel and I and The men who ride for fun) and its health and environmental benefits (Freewheeling). The work is framed by Cycle-Babble, a funky, thrill-ride of a movement encapsulating the sounds and names of the bicycle, describing its ascension to international popularity, thanks in part to the Tour de France.
This new CD/iTunes release was timed to coincide with the inaugural Tour De Yorkshire cycle race 2015 and features The Song Cycle singers, conducted by Joanna Forbes L’Estrange, The Call Me Al jazz quintet (Mark Armstrong – tpt & flugel, Julian Landymore – flute, Alexander L’Estrange – piano & bass, Nic France – drums) and, for the bonus track “My wheel and I”, husband-and-wife duo L’Estranges in the Night (Joanna Forbes L’Estrange – vocals & Alexander L’Estrange – guitar, bass, cajon, additional vocals)
Song Cycle is published by Faber Music and released on L’Estrange’s own label andagio. For more information visit www.songcyclevlv.com – wwwchoralstore.com – www.alexanderlestrangeshop.com
I owe so much to my years as a boy chorister in New College Choir in the 1980s, under the expert direction of Dr. Edward Higginbottom, who is to retire at the end of this Trinity Term 2014, after 38 years at the musical helm.
The experience taught me about music, languages, teamwork, discipline – I’m not sure I always succeeded there, as I couldn’t resist adding jazz notes in final chords – and, ultimately, it inspired me to become a composer.
I had always hoped to write a set of New College canticles, following in the footsteps of my then-hero Herbert Howells, and I am grateful to the college for giving me this opportunity – on Sunday May 18th at 6pm, my Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis (The New College Service) will be premiered.
I hope that Dr Higginbottom (and the choir) will enjoy the musical references to the great H.H. As my own personal tribute to Edward, all of the thematic material for my canticles is derived from the dates of his magnificent and long tenure, 1976-2014, and the rising 5th E-B (H) of his initials…..and, these days, I hope I have permission to add all the jazz harmonies I like…