Searching for John Hosking - 35 results.

1. Missa Sancti Asaph
John Hosking

Duration: 8'30"
Ensemble: SATB organ
Grading: Difficult
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The Missa Sancti Asaph was written for the Choir of St Asaph Cathedral in North Wales. There are some more reflective sections, which should be extremely expressive and well shaped, and some louder sections, which are to be sung rhythmically, and with plenty of fire.

The organ plays just as important a part as the choir in colouring the text and, especially in the Gloria, should be seen as a rival to the choir rather than taking a supportive role.

Samples are provided here of the Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus and Benedictus and Agnus Dei.


2. Bangor Responses
John Hosking

Duration: 4'00"
Ensemble: SATB unaccompanied
Grading: Easy/Medium
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The Bangor Responses were written for the Choir of Bangor Cathedral and to be made singable by a small group of singers with some choral experience. There are some chromatic harmonies, particularly in the Lord's Prayer, but there is nothing that is particularly difficult to sing. The most important thing is that the singers follow the dynamics carefully in order to shape each response musically; once the music has been learned, these should feel natural.


3. The Bangor Service
John Hosking

Duration: 5'15"
Ensemble: trebles organ
Grading: Medium/Difficult
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As with much of my choral music, the organ and choir writing in this service, written for the trebles of Bangor Cathedral, seeks to colour the text as far as possible. The opening depicts the quiet awe of Mary at being chosen by God, with the semi-quavers in the organist's right hand illustrating the frantic fear that she may have initially felt. As the statements of the text grow bolder, so does the writing until the line "and his mercy", where every undulating stop possible on the organ should be used, with the singers creating a sense of timelessness.

"He hath put down" begins a section of virtuosic writing; there are triumphant fanfares for the organist, a wide range for the singers and an awkward chromatic moment in bar 31, to ensure that the proud really are scattered! Once the organist has put the mighty from their seat with all the reeds, a small, agitated organ solo begins. It's as if the contrasts of the text preceding it are almost too much to take in - "the mighty are put down... yet the meek are exalted...... what is happening?" - until a very happy hungry are fed and the rich are left empty, with just a thin reed stop to join them.

The semi-quaver figurations in the following section are slightly calmer than the opening; it's like a massive piece of news slowly sinking in, and Mary's sense that she isn't alone, but her strong faith in God will guide her through the things to come.

The Gloria should be as loud and joyous as possible, although musical shaping should never be lost in the excitement. The organist shouldn't hold back on the Tuba entries; however 8' and 4' solo reeds combined are preferable to having a 16', which can muddy the texture.

In contrast, the Nunc Dimittis should feel grand and stately, and given plenty of space. The gradual build up of the organ from bar 11 should be mirrored by the singers providing a seamless crescendo. No breath should be taken between bars 11 and 16 (this has been tried and tested - and is possible!). My intention was that the word "light" should act as a "semi" climax. The change in organ registration should help to colour this with the addition of the mixture. However, the real drama happens at bar 25 when, for me, Simeon really realises that God has kept his promise to him.


4. O Magnum Mysterium
John Hosking

Duration: 4'45"
Ensemble: SATB organ
Grading:
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As soon as I was asked to write some music for the St Asaph Choral Society for Christmas, the text O Magnum Mysterium came to mind. The text immediately made me think of interesting colours that the organ could produce, with vocal lines "floating" in and out. The whole work would be a gradual build up to the final triumphant 'Alleluia'.

The piece opens with very mysterious and colourful sounds from the organ in the key of Eb minor, which hopefully illustrate the first line of the text "O Great mystery", aided by the Vox Humana stop – a curious sound intended to imitate the human voice. A dialogue between the soprano and alto voices of the choir leads to a terrific build up from the organ, which lands on a blazing F major chord at which point the voices sing 'and wonderful sacrament'.

Plainsong has always inspired my liturgical improvisations at the organ; unfortunately the use of plainsong has much declined in the UK, but there is such a wealth of material here that I was keen to use this within my composition. And so at the words "Dominum natum" (newborn Lord) we hear the "Hodie Christus natus est" plainsong treated in canon between the organist's right hand and the pedals. A few bars later, snippets of the "Ave maris stella" plainsong appear, introducing the words "Beato Virgo" (Blessed is the Virgin).

The final alleluias are intended to start as a quiet, humble expression of joy depicting the lowliness of the birth in the stable. The beginning motif starts to build and build with all parts rising in pitch, gaining in volume until the organ takes over with a short fanfare-like passage. This leads to the key of D major (a complete contrast to the opening), at which point the choir joins the full organ in singing big, triumphant alleluias – almost as if the effect of the lowly birth in the stable has finally been realised.


5. The Seven Trumpets
John Hosking

Duration: 18'30"
Ensemble: SATB chamber orchestra
Grading: Medium/Difficult
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The Seven Trumpets was conceived as a dramatic presentation of the prophesy found in the book of Revelation. Throughout the work, I have tried to paint the text as far as possible: when a star falls from heaven, the piano plays fast demisemiquavers starting at the top of the keyboard and finishing up almost at the bottom; the locusts are symbolised by quick glissandi on the cello and a buzzing vocal effect; muted trumpets depict a smitten sun.

The solo soprano takes her first big role declaiming "woe to the inhabitants of the earth", rising up to a fortissimmo top Bb, after which the flute very briefly simulates a star falling to earth. The bottomless pit is firstly depicted by the organ playing semi-quavers very low down on 16' and 8' stops to produce a rumbling effect. Following this, a massive crescendo builds up with the timpani taking over from the organ and the extent of the pit being seen for perhaps the first time.

After all the drama has temporarily subsided, perhaps one of my favourite parts in the work is an unaccompanied section for double choir. The words "That they should not hurt the grass of the earth" are sung in dialogue between the two groups and provide a moment of reflection before the drama begins again.

Perhaps the most dramatic part of the work is the interlude for percussion and organ symbolising the thunder uttering its voice. The timpani starts with fast semiquaver triplets, soon joined by the organ with a toccata-like figuration in the key of G minor.

Finally, the seventh angel is greeted by the biggest fanfare of all. In dialogue with the brass and organ, this is very noble in character and sets the harmonic mood for the remainder of the piece. After the turmoil and very chromatic harmonies presented earlier on, much of what follows is now very concordant to illustrate the joyfulness of the text "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord....and he shall reign for ever".

Please listen to the live recording instead of the Scorch playback, which has been muted. You can still view the score in Scorch.


6. Missa Brevis in D
John Hosking

Duration: 8'30"
Ensemble: trebles organ
Grading: Medium
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The Missa Brevis In D was inspired after hearing the Britten Missa Brevis for the first time. Shortly afterwards, I became Master of the Choir at Bramdean School in Exeter and wrote this setting with the Boys' Choir at the school in mind, although they only ever performed the Agnus Dei.

Twelve years later, in 2012, I decided to revise this work - most notably the Gloria - to be recorded by the Ely Cathedral Girls' Choir. The first performance was given by a group of sopranos in St Asaph Cathedral in December 2012, with Chris Strange at the organ and myself directing. The work is very simple in conception, with the two vocal lines often imitating each other, and the organ backing up the voices, rather than playing a solo role as in many of my compositions.


7. Jubilate
John Hosking

Duration: 3'00"
Ensemble: TTBB organ
Grading: Medium
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The Jubilate was commissioned by the Trelawnyd Male Voice Choir to celebrate their 80th anniversary. Available in English and Welsh, for TTBB and SATB (this is the TTBB Welsh version), the canticle is an outburst of joy and should be sung with drive and energy. Quaver movement should be kept very light in general, but the parts marked legato should provide a contrast to the outer sections. To make this piece possible to perform in a variety of venues, it is possible to play the accompaniment as a piano duet, in which case the pedal part should be played in octaves. When accompanied on the organ, registration should be bright and crisp.


8. The Chester Service
John Hosking

Duration: 10'00"
Ensemble: SATB organ
Grading: Medium/Difficult
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The Chester Service was written for, and inspired by, the Chester Cathedral Nave Choir and the Cathedral's fine Whiteley/Hill organ after having spent a couple of terms accompanying the choir. The entire work has a very French flavour with lots of colourful organ writing, sometimes reminiscent of Pierre Cochereau (Tutti chamades), also containing ethereal effects at the other end of the spectrum. The Chester Cathedral organ has some French blood in it; originally the reeds were by Cavaille-Coll, most of which were replaced, although the pedal reeds are by him and despite having been revoiced, show signs of their original heritage.

As ever, the choral parts must be dynamic and expressive, and the organist shouldn't be afraid to let go and exploit the full possibilities of the instrument. The Agnus Dei, the most reflective of the movements, should be dream-like and timeless, making the most of the acoustic it is being performed in.

Please note the Scorch playback of this piece has been muted. You can listen to this sampled MP3 file instead.


9. Grant To Us, Lord
John Hosking

Duration: 1'30"
Ensemble: SATB organ
Grading: Easy/Medium
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This simple introit, which sets the words of the Collect for the 9th Sunday after Trinity, was written for and premiered by the Llannerch Singers when singing the services at Bangor Cathedral. It should be sung expressively with a good legato. The organ registration should never be heavy (with the exception of adding the Full Swell where marked), but should be warm in tone.


10. Te Deum
John Hosking

Duration: 10'00"
Ensemble: SATB organ
Grading: Medium/Difficult
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The Te Deum is inspired by and based on the traditional plainsong tones, phrases of which are quoted in many guises. From the outset, my aim was to paint the words as dramatically and effectively as possible whilst providing an exciting accompaniment for the organist which acts in dialogue with the choir, rather than taking a "back seat". Dynamic contrasts are essential in pulling the work off, as well as careful registrations on the organ which are specified for each different section.

While composing this work, I had in mind the ambiance of a large French Cathedral with a fiery organ capable of shaking the building or whispering so softly that it's almost inaudible. The choir should reflect these contrasts too, singing well-shaped legato lines reflectively or almost resembling a brass band in places! My favourite section is probably the march-like "Day by day we magnify thee", the introduction to which allows the organist to be free of all inhibition whilst providing a good challenge for the choir to fight against when it makes its entry.


11. Ave Maria
John Hosking

Duration: 2'45"
Ensemble: SATB soprano unaccompanied
Grading: Medium
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This setting of Ave Maria was inspired after hearing the Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge. Whilst the harmonies dictate that the overall character of the piece should be warm and very sustained, the vocal range of certain phrases imply that climaxes should be allowed to be articulated slightly with plenty of colour in the voice. "Sancta Maria" should be annunciated clearly with sharp consonants and crisp vowels, for example.


12. We Pray Thee, Guide Us
John Hosking

Duration: 2'00"
Ensemble: SATB unaccompanied
Grading: Medium
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The inspiration for We Pray Thee, Guide Us came very late one evening. I suddenly had the idea of a writing simple melody and reflective words with rich harmonies to accompany. Unusually for me, the whole piece was written at one sitting.

There are some unexpected chromatic twists to contrast with the very basic melodic writing. The performance should be shaped with a natural crescendo leading to notes in the upper register, quietening as the parts fall in pitch.


13. Requiem
John Hosking

Duration: 27'00"
Ensemble: SATB chamber orchestra or organ
Grading: Difficult
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The Requiem was originally scored for orchestra and chorus without organ. I was initially reluctant to reduce the accompaniment for the organ as it does lose certain colours which aren't possible to re-create with two hands and two feet, but having an edition with organ accompaniment does make it easier to perform.

From the outset, I was determined that the work would be short enough to be used liturgically and be appealing to the widest variety of people possible, but without losing musical integrity. As a result, I have relied more on melody rather than effect, but have coloured the text to make the overall work as dramatic as possible.

There are two versions of the Hostias, one for unaccompanied 8-part chorus with solo soprano, and one for solo soprano only with organ or string accompaniment. The harmonies in this particular movement are tricky and having the alternative version will allow less experienced choirs the possibility of using the work more successfully. The 8-part version should never be performed with organ.

The solo soprano part has quite a large role within the work. The soloist should never sing with a huge amount of vibrato, but with a warm and colourful sound, always displaying an aspect of purity.

The following live recordings were made at the premiere of the organ version of the work at the North Wales International Music Festival, given by the Sirenian Singers, conducted by Jean Stanley-Jones, and with Graham Eccles at the organ.

  1. Domine Jesu Christi
  2. Pie Jesu (Olivia Hunt - soprano)

For the time being, the score displayed here is the vocal score, which contains the organ version of the accompaniment. The Scorch playback should not be used and has been muted. Instead, please use the MP3 samples of the orchestral version listed below:

  1. Kyrie
  2. Pie Jesu
  3. Domine Jesu Christe
  4. Hostias (choral)
  5. Hostias (solo)
  6. Sanctus
  7. Libera Me
  8. Agnus Dei
  9. In Paradisum

14. In A Lowly Stable's Manger
John Hosking

Duration: 3'
Ensemble: SATB organ
Grading: Easy
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I was keen to write a carol which would appeal to a wider audience. A text in Latin with colourful word-painting can be a help to many, but also appear alien to others. Sitting at my computer one evening, a melody came to mind — but the eternal dilemma is producing music before finding a suitable text. Playing the melody over and over, I began to think of words that would fit and produced the first verse. Forgetting about the music, the other verses were then written and I decided to shape this carol as a journey through the Christmas story, right up to the visit of the Wise Men at Epiphany.

The first verse is sung by a solo soprano without accompaniment, hopefully depicting the lowliness of Jesus' birth. There were no luxuries or massive celebrations, just a humble couple in a strange place who were probably quite frightened at the prospect of having to give birth in such conditions.

Verse two speaks of the angelic host appearing to the shepherds, with high "ahhs" from the sopranos depicting the chorus of angels who sang "Glory to God in the highest". The Wise Men's third verse has a noble but restrained accompaniment from the organ and is sung by the tenors and basses.

The dreadful wrath of Herod is depicted by a minor key, with the altos and sopranos providing a dissonance at "rage and scorn", helped by the 32' reed stop on the organ. A more triumphant organ interlude leads to the final verse, concluding with the sopranos singing a soaring descant at "With all the hosts of heaven.... Alleluia!"


15. Benedictus
John Hosking

Duration: 8'30"
Ensemble: SATB organ
Grading: Difficult
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This setting of the Benedictus was written for Sarah MacDonald and the choir of Selwyn College, Cambridge for their recording of a disc of my liturgical choral works on the Regent label.

The text of the Benedictus is far more reflective than the Te Deum and Jubilate morning canticles, and so it begins and ends quietly. The whole work is based upon a running semiquaver movement heard firstly in the pedals, then transferring to the manuals and finally reappearing at the Gloria. Throughout, there is a close relationship between the keys of Ab major and E major, which gives the piece a sense of freshness without being overly dramatic.

For much of the piece, the organ should stay in the background, almost shimmering, whilst producing a subtle pulsating effect. However, at bars 42 - 48 and bars 117 - 121 the tutti should be used, with no restraint shown! Passages marked "soli" would work full, but ideally will be sung as marked, in order to give a contrasting texture.

Please note the Scorch playback has been muted. If you would like to hear the piece, please use the MP3 here.


16. A Royal Blessing
John Hosking

Duration: 2'30"
Ensemble: SATB organ
Grading: Easy/Medium
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With the birth of a new prince in the news, clamming up social media timelines and invading other commercial chains, I felt inspired to write a simple piece to give time to momentarily reflect on the more important things in life. Just as at the birth of Jesus, there was great celebration, but one must never lose sight of the fact that we are mere humans, whether born a royal or a pauper. I hope the words of this piece inspire those in power to undertake their duties humbly and fairly, remembering the modest surroundings the one with most power was born into all those years ago.

Please make sure you are ordering the right arrangement! This is the SATB version. For the SSS arrangement click here.


17. In Pace
John Hosking

Duration: 3'00"
Ensemble: SATB soprano unaccompanied
Grading: Medium/Difficult
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My overall concept of writing this setting of In Pace tries to relate to everyday life and the need for rest at the end of the day.

It doesn't really settle into the home key of G minor until the very last chord and my thoughts were of a day of work, struggle, complications etc., with almost a plea of escape and a determination to finally gain some rest. The music gradually winds down to a sense of calmness at "requiescam" - however, there is still some turmoil. The Gloria begins as a note of triumph and faith in God; yes, the day is difficult but all is possible with faith - and the gradual acceptance of that as the intensity lessens, with the soprano soloist singing "In Pace", enables peace.

Click the button above to view the score using Scorch, but please note the Scorch playback has been muted. Please use the MP3 instead.


18. A Royal Blessing
John Hosking

Duration: 2'30"
Ensemble: trebles organ
Grading: Easy/Medium
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With the birth of a new prince in the news, clamming up social media timelines and invading other commercial chains, I felt inspired to write a simple piece to give time to momentarily reflect on the more important things in life. Just as at the birth of Jesus, there was great celebration, but one must never lose sight of the fact that we are mere humans, whether born a royal or a pauper. I hope the words of this piece inspire those in power to undertake their duties humbly and fairly, remembering the modest surroundings the one with most power was born into all those years ago.

Please make sure you are ordering the right arrangement! This is a trebles-only arrangement. For the SATB version click here.


19. Music
John Hosking

Duration: 6'30"
Ensemble: soprano piano
Grading:
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This is a setting of Algernon Charles Swinburne's poem Music: An Ode.

Music was written for the former BBC Young Chorister of the Year finalist, Olivia Hunt. Olivia has a remarkably clear, yet colourful voice and a natural ability to shape phrases in a musical manner, with a rare quality of sound in the upper registers. This piece was written to show her voice off in its full splendour and was premiered by us both at St Paul's Church, Colwyn Bay in June 2013.

The first movement is very impressionistic, seeking to paint the text through colour and effect. The second is more lyrical, although demands a wide vocal range from the soloist. The final movement is a scherzo and should have lots of energy in performance.


20. Ave verum corpus
John Hosking

Duration: 3'15"
Ensemble: treble organ
Grading: Easy/Medium
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Ave Verum Corpus was written for Sarah MacDonald and the Ely Cathedral Girls' Choir. The whole piece should be very relaxed and reflective, sung with great expression. It should only really open up at the big climax in bars 35 and 36. Should a 16' Cornet not be available, then adding a 16' stop to underpin the 8' cornet is completely acceptable. The undulating quaver movement in the organ part should give a sense of motion to the music, without sounding frantic - almost like the gentle rippling of waves on the shore on a calm summer day.


21. Peel Service
John Hosking

Duration: 7'15"
Ensemble: SATB organ
Grading: Medium
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The Peel Service was commissioned by Dr Peter Litman for the choir of St. German's Cathedral, Peel on the Isle of Man. The brief was to write an approachable setting of the evening canticles with vocal and organ parts that weren't too demanding. The end result is a simple, melodic, yet effective setting with some dramatic sections. At first glance, some of the organ writing seems technically difficult, but actually follows similar patterns which are easy to play once under the fingers with no difficult changes of hand position. In a similar vein, most of the more difficult vocal entries are either in unision, or doubled two-part harmony between the sopranos/tenors and altos/basses. It is always a challenge to simplify ideas and restrain one's writing, but was a service I enjoyed writing immensely.


22. Missa Sancti Kentigerni
John Hosking

Duration: 10'00"
Ensemble: ATB organ
Grading: Medium/Difficult
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It was St Kentigern who founded the original cathedral and monastery at St Asaph, having fled from Strathclyde due to a strong anti-Christian uprising led by the king at the time. Better known as Mungo, Kentigern had stayed initially at St David's with Saint David himself before settling at St Asaph.

Kentigern would often pray standing in the freezing cold river (The Elwy - hence St Asaph's Welsh name Llanelwy meaning "consecrated land by the River Elwy") and it was through this activity that he noticed the actions of one of his disciples, Asaph. Asaph had been commanded to bring a brand of burning wood to warm him while at prayer, but the thoughtful boy instead wrapped burning coals in his apron. This miracle revealed to Kentigern the holiness of the boy, later to become the first Bishop of St Asaph.

Missa Sancti Kentigerni is a celebratory piece, with some French influences - notably in the organ part - but also contains long, shapely phrases in both the Kyrie and Benedictus to provide some moments of reflection. The Agnus Dei was written on Remembrance Sunday 2013 and is almost a cry for help, working up to a rather angry climax underpinned by repeated pedal notes. After all the anguish and painful litanies for mercy, this subsides to a quiet final statement, with the organ finishing on flutes and strings still leaving a sense of unease. The writing here also reflects the hardships of the saints at the time, the brutal discipline of prayer in the cruel winter waters and the destruction of the cathedral twice in its history!

Careful note should be taken of the articulation and dynamic markings in performance; the staccato writing in the Gloria, in particular, should come across as light and airy with no hint of heaviness whatsoever.

Please note the Scorch playback of this score has been muted. Use the MP3 instead.


23. Hommage à Paris
John Hosking

Duration: 16'30"
Ensemble: solo organ
Grading:
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Hommage à Paris was commissioned by Martin Baker, Master of Music at Westminster Cathedral. Martin is renowned for his superb technique, colourful use of the organ and improvisations in many different styles, so this suite is written to take full advantage of his ability.

The whole work is based upon the two-bar theme heard at the outset in unison on the tutti. The Prelude contains some styles and figurations typical of Vierne, with an adapted quote from Saint-Saens' Organ Symphony. Theme B, which enters at bar 64, is an inversion of the original theme.

The Fugue is, in part, a homage to Dupré, containing syncopated rhythms with thin textures, reminiscent of his Fugue in B major. The fugue subject is based exactly on theme A and builds up to an exciting conclusion, typical of many French fugues. The triplet figurations on the Chamades recall the extrovert style of Pierre Cochereau in many of his improvisations. So far, this links Vierne via his assistant, Dupré, to his successor, Cochereau, as Organist of Notre-Dame Cathedral.

The Scherzo pays homage to the later style of Vierne and the improvisations of Cochereau. The right hand plays a tripletised version of theme A, while the left hand moves up and down chromatically giving an unsettled yet cheeky harmonisation. The initial pedal entry played on the Vox Humana and 2' Flute catches the listener out as is not based on anything we have heard to date. However, its second entry disguises theme B carefully.

The Adagio makes use of theme B in the minor key, calling to mind at first the slow movements of Widor's symphonies. Section B builds up to an exciting tutti before an almost exact recapitulation of section A.

The Final is a fusion of many different styles and is based on the retrograde inversion of theme A. Theme A makes subtle appearances before the end and at bar 82, theme B is combined with the second theme of the Final, with B major pedal scales (apologies to Vierne). The final few bars switch rapidly between figurations that Cochereau, Dupré or Vierne could have used, providing a grand conclusion to the suite.

Please note the Scorch playback has been muted. Use the MP3 here.


24. Bring Us, O Lord God
John Hosking

Duration: 3'30"
Ensemble: SATB organ
Grading: Medium
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Bring us, O Lord God was commissioned for the opening Choral Evensong of the 2014 Conwy Music Festival. Very much a reflective setting of the text, it should be sung with soaring legato lines with much expression as indicated within the score. The organ part should support, but never dominate the voices with warm registrations.

The Scorch playback for this piece has been muted. Please use the MP3 instead.


25. Lord I Have Loved
John Hosking

Duration: 0'45"
Ensemble: SATB organ
Grading: Easy
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Lord, I have loved was written in 2010 during a brief stint as Acting Director of Music at St Asaph Cathedral. It was first sung by the cathedral choir at an evensong for the Friends of St Asaph Cathedral at Harwarden Parish Church.


26. In the bleak midwinter
John Hosking

Duration: 4'30"
Ensemble: SATB organ
Grading: Easy/Medium
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Following the commissioning of a new introit, Bring us, O Lord for the Conwy Classical Music Festival, the Director of Music at St Mary's Church, Conwy asked if I could write his church choir a work for Christmas.

My immediate thought was to write a new setting of a familiar text and as I began scouring websites for potential texts, In the bleak midwinter kept coming back to me.

This particular setting has a very simplistic feel to it, although contains some challenges for the average choir in the unaccompanied sections. However, the vocal writing has been kept as straightforward as possible and will feel very natural to the singers.


27. Adagio
John Hosking

Duration: 4'40"
Ensemble: organ
Grading:
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Hommage à Paris was commissioned by Martin Baker, Master of Music at Westminster Cathedral. Martin is renowned for his superb technique, colourful use of the organ and improvisations in many different styles, so this suite is written to take full advantage of his ability.

This Adagio is the suite's fourth movement. It makes use of theme B from the Prelude in the minor key, calling to mind at first the slow movements of Widor's symphonies. Section B builds up to an exciting tutti before an almost exact recapitulation of section A.

Please note the Scorch playback has been muted. Use the YouTube (John Hosking at the St Asaph Cathedral organ) or SoundCloud (John Hosking at the Chester Cathedral organ, recorded by Paul Stockbridge) recordings opposite.


28. Jubilate
John Hosking

Duration: 3'00"
Ensemble: SATB organ
Grading: Medium
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The Jubilate was commissioned by the Trelawnyd Male Voice Choir to celebrate their 80th anniversary. Available in English and Welsh, for TTBB and SATB (this is the SATB Welsh version), the canticle is an outburst of joy and should be sung with drive and energy. Quaver movement should be kept very light in general, but the parts marked legato should provide a contrast to the outer sections. To make this piece possible to perform in a variety of venues, it is possible to play the accompaniment as a piano duet, in which case the pedal part should be played in octaves. When accompanied on the organ, registration should be bright and crisp.


29. The St Martin's Service
John Hosking

Duration: 11'00"
Ensemble: SATB organ
Grading: Difficult
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I was absolutely thrilled to be asked to write a work for the St Martin-in-the-Fields choir and organ. My time at St Martin's acted as a substantial turning point in my career; it was here that I first learned to accompany choirs successfully and learned a great deal of new organ repertoire, inspired by the magnificent instrument whose restoration is the focus of the concert for which these canticles were commissioned.

St Martin's is probably the most dynamic, varied church to be found within the UK; I remember playing for traditional Anglican-styled choral services, the quite spectacular display of the Pearly Kings and Queens harvest service, a memorial service for a crew member of The Bill, and other services with guest preachers such as Terry Waite and Desmond Tutu, visiting musicians from Bongo drummers to the singer/songwriter Michael Masser and many royal visits. I was very keen to reflect as much of this as possible within the music, which would ensure something lively, dynamic and uplifting.

A composition celebrating the restoration of the organ needed to make more of a feature of the instrument than simply a tool for accompaniment, and so the extended introduction with irregular time signatures shows the organ off in all its glory. Much of the vocal writing has been constructed so as to bring the text alive as effectively as possible, whilst also giving chance to show many different (and sometimes unusual) colours off on the organ. After the text "and holy is his name", the pedal Chalumeau stop — one of my favourites — has a short solo. The swell reeds provide an exciting but fiery introduction to the words "he hath shewed strength with his arm"; the hungry are fed with good things following a cheeky interjection from the Swell 8' flute and "the rich" are depicted with the very colourful Voix Humaine, before being "sent empty away" to bare 5ths from the choir.

The St Martin's organ contains heavy influences of French voicing and so the introduction to the Gloria of the Magnificat is very much in the French style — partly influenced by some of the improvisations of Pierre Cochereau. However, St Martin's has always been all-embracing of many different styles of music and after the choir's initial entry, "Glory", a two octave blues scale is played before the very dance-like remainder of the work continues. This fusion of styles really brought to mind my experience of working at the church; one really never knew what would be encountered next and it was important to be ready for anything. The movement finishes with a brief reference back to the introduction, with a final jazz-like flourish to end.

The Nunc Dimittis begins with a dialogue between two flute stops on the organ, accompanied by gentle strings. The tension between the two flute parts builds, depicting the intensity felt by Simeon as he waited so long to finally see Jesus.

The harmonic tension and registrations on the organ gradually build throughout the movement, releasing a gradual sense of joy and wonder, reaching a terrific climax at "and to be the glory of thy people Israel". The organ then quickly subsides in volume before a reflective unaccompanied Gloria is sung by the choir.


30. Hyfrydol
Rowland Prichard arr. John Hosking

Duration: 3'30"
Ensemble: Organ
Grading:
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This arrangement of the Welsh hymn tune Hyfrydol (Alleluia, sing to Jesus) was commissioned by the organist Jillian Gardner, as a competition piece for the 2015 RCYO AGO competition in First Presbyterian Church, Glens Falls, NY, in which she won first prize.


31. The Fourteen Stations of the Cross
John Hosking

Duration: 30'00"
Ensemble: Organ
Grading:
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There is nothing pleasant about the 14 Stations of the Cross; indeed one must recall suffering, torture and grief throughout.

My overall aim has been to depict each station as graphically and colourfully as possible, with a constant feeling of unsettlement and not quite knowing what will come next. In this sense, even though the opening theme does appear at various points throughout the work, it has been my intention not to develop any thematic material fully. Rather, one should leave the performance in a state of shock or feeling confused – just as those close to Jesus must have not quite known what was happening or even why. In some cases, a whirlwind of different moods and senses are exploited in a very short space of time; in others, the listener is left wondering what just happened. It wasn’t even in the space of a week that the crowd were cheering Jesus and then shouting "Crucify". I hope that some of this feeling is depicted throughout the work.

This work was inspired by the various colours the organ can produce, a Stations of the Cross that I improvised in Holy Week 2012, a walk through the Stations of the Cross at Pantasaph Monastery and some fragments of plainsong.


32. St Paul's Service
John Hosking

Duration: 5'30"
Ensemble: Unison with occasional divisions
Grading: Easy
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I was inspired to write this setting of the Mass for the choir and congregation of St Paul's Church in Colwyn Bay after doing some work with their choir and Director of Music. It is the tradition for the congregation to sing the movements of the mass, with the choir occasionally adding harmony or descants and so this setting follows this particular tradition.

This setting is intended to be as straightforward as possible for the average congregation to pick up, with a slightly more exciting part for the organist. As ever, registrations should be adapted to each different organ, but those specified give an idea as to the desired effect. The congregation supplied part can be copied (but not shared with another institution).


33. Missa Pro Defunctis
John Hosking

Duration: 40'00"
Ensemble: SATB chamber orchestra organ
Grading: Medium/Difficult
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Missa pro defunctis was, in many ways, a natural follow-on from my first requiem. The first requiem had been written to be usable within the liturgy, keeping movements short, and performable as a whole with orchestra or organ.

I felt that I wanted to create a more substantial work the second time around, incorporating plainsong (which influences a lot of my improvisations at the organ) and setting the whole of the Dies Irae text.

The opening movement is based upon the Requiem aeternam plainsong, leading into a Kyrie which began life as part of another commission. Originally written with organ accompaniment, the orchestration of the Kyrie proved to be one of the most challenging bits of writing in the entire work.

The Dies Irae begins with very conventional harmonies, almost lulling the listener into the false sense of security that it could be a late romantic work. As the movement progresses, the harmonies and orchestral effects become more and more outrageous, painting quite a picture of terror in places. The organ is used for dramatic effect at Rex tremendae, underpinning brass fanfares and rapid passage-work in the strings. This is probably the first of my works in which the organ plays a very subservient, albeit vital, role. The movement is rounded off with a substantial setting of the Pie Jesu; it was my intention that this could be performed as a separate anthem with organ accompaniment if so wished.

The Sanctus and Benedictus are very brief, but joyful, providing a stark contrast to the very chromatic Agnus Dei which follows. The Agnus Dei was conceived as a real plea of mercy and is based upon a theme beginning with a dropping 7th throughout. The final choral movement is the In Paradisum which is where the whole work began. This had been intended to be used in my first requiem, but hadn't quite sat right with me initially and remained half-finished. It was playing the first part of this one evening and having the inspiration to finish the movement off that triggered the writing of this second requiem.

Several people have asked the question "Why write two requiems?" The simple answer is inspiration; if I'm drawn to something and have the urge to write, I generally don't stop until it's finished over a very intense few days. I love the text of the mass; the extra parts of the requiem text add an extra bonus through being extremely vivid and conjuring up lots of images in my mind. I thrive on being able to illustrate a text through the medium of music and hope that it brings an extra dimension of understanding to the listener.

The solo soprano role throughout the work was conceived from two perspectives; one to add dramatic flair and the other to be very reflective. To this end, the ideal is for a soprano with a very pure tone to sing the Pie Jesu and Benedictus solos, and someone with a more Verdi-like sound to sing the rest.

The Missa pro defunctis finishes with a purely orchestral movement. Were this mass to be used liturgically, there is always need for recessional music at the end of the service. With this in mind, I orchestrated the Adagio from my organ suite Hommage à Paris, which provides a contemplative, but quite dramatic, conclusion to the whole.


34. Ave Maria
John Hosking

Duration: 2'30"
Ensemble: Trebles organ
Grading: Easy/Medium
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This lyrical setting of the Ave Maria was written for the St Asaph Cathedral Voluntary Choir. Many of the male members of this group are organists or choir directors at other churches, so it is often difficult to have a full compliment of tenors and basses to sing on Sunday mornings. This led to my decision to keep Sunday eucharists with this choir limited to upper voices only and so this work was written for such an occasion.

The Ave Maria was premiered at the launch of the CD 'All Angels Cry Aloud' in St Asaph Cathedral on Friday 1st July 2016 by Dianne Platt (a member of the choir) and Olivia Hunt.

Ave Maria was the first published piece in the world to have been typeset on Dorico!


35. Music to hear
John Hosking

Duration: 3'45"
Ensemble: Soprano solo piano
Grading:
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Music to hear was written for Olivia Hunt. Olivia has a particular affinity with the works of Shakespeare and so I decided to set his 8th sonnet, one of the few that mentions music. The writing is lyrical and covers a wide vocal range, but also seeks to paint the text as vividly as possible.

This was premiered at opening night of the 2016 North Wales Music Festival by Olivia Hunt with the composer at the piano.