Richard Norris: A Carol from Flanders
A Carol from Flanders
Mixed choir (satb) with organ
In Flanders Fields is a series of poignant and evocative choral works with a theme of reconciliation and remembrance, set to iconic texts by John McCrae and Rupert Brooke.
Richard Norris writes: 'Frederick Niven's poem 'A Carol from Flanders' tells of enemies who perhaps have more in common than they have differences; their thoughts and emotions are similar but nonetheless both are defined by who they are and what they represent.
I have attempted to encapsulate this idea by having similar (but not the same) musical ideas offset by one bar, so that they rarely come together, despite being in the same musical orbit. Also, the tone of the poem is sombre, despite the hope contained therein, so the musical textures are quite spare, with the choir sometimes underpinned only by the organ pedal. In the last verse, tenors and basses sing together (i.e. not offset) with the female voices sustaining a unison A (which is the dominant tonality), but it is only at the end of the verse (and of the whole piece) that harmonic reconciliation is achieved, so that the work ends optimistically on an A major chord.'
Richard Norris studied privately with Anthony Gilbert before attending Manchester University, where he was awarded a masters degree with distinction and a doctorate, studying with Philip Grange.
He has had a significant number of performances, including those by the BBC Philharmonic (conducted by James Macmillan), Orchestra of Opera North (conducted by Elgar Howarth), Manchester Camerata (conducted by Nicholas Kraemer), RTE Vanbrugh Quartet and Psappha. Richard has also had three pieces performed by Keele Bach Choir, as composer-in-residence.
Recent performances include premieres if his 'Symphony in (approximately) 15 minutes' in London and 'When soft music dies...' for eight-part choir and oboe.(ISMN 9790570457342)