World Premiere of Manley Hopkins Settings by Xavier College, Kew - August 2019

Xavier College, Kew, have given the world premiere performance of The World is Charged with the Grandeur of God - Four Choral Works on Poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins. The set was premiered in Hamer Hall, Melbourne, conducted by Head of Choral, Nick Cowall.

It was an honour to be commissioned to compose a multi-movement choral work for the Xavier College Choirs and was a real delight to wrestle with the great poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins, known for its unusual sprung rhythms, striking imagery and finely-wrought wordplay. There was also some great variety built into the work from the outset, with varied settings for the different choirs and in different instrumental combinations.

The pieces were as follows, in performance order: Let me be to Thee as the Circling Bird (TTBB with Tenor Solo) for the A Capella Chamber Choir; The Woodlark (SA, Piano & Percussion) for the combined Kostka and Burke Hall Choirs; Love Preparing to Fly (TBB, Piano & 'Cello) for the Senior Singers and God's Grandeur (SATB, Piano, 'Cello & Percussion) for the Xavier Combined Choirs.

The works formed the finale of Xavier in Concert and were met with great acclaim.

Many thanks to Nick Cowall, Head of Choral, who conducted with great authority and sensitivity, bringing excellent performances from the choirs who were highly responsive to the texts and the music. Thanks also to all the performers and to Director of Music Greg Carey.