Searching for Simon Mold - 7 results.

1. A galley will I build me
Simon Mold

Duration: 3'45"
Ensemble: SATB organ
Grading: Easy/Medium
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In 2018 John Varney asked me to write a carol for the Guildford Areas U3A Choirs, with the request that it might also be suitable for general use. It was thus a challenge to find some suitable words, as most carols are put firmly to bed once the festivities are over; but I happened upon this pseudo-medieval text by George R Woodward which seemed to fit the bill. Jesus, Mary and "my guiding angel star" (although not Joseph, for some reason) are imagined as sailing "a brave ship and a fine" towards the Heavenly Kingdom, with the poet as passenger.

I decided, in the music, to imitate a traditional galley's oarstrokes by using a constant, steady beat in compound time, accompanied throughout by ascending and descending organ scales to suggest the sea. The persistent use of the flattened 7th glances at the medieval theme; and the return of the opening music poco a poco diminuendo, in canon, at the very end is intended to suggest the galley sailing off out of sight over the horizon.


2. Preces and Responses
Simon Mold

Duration: 7'30"
Ensemble: Choir organ
Grading: Easy
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I wrote this set of Preces and Responses in 1993, when sets with organ accompaniment were uncommon. My aim was to provide something which, with just two vocal lines and with several vocal combinations possible, was straightforward to learn and easily adaptable to local and amateur circumstances whilst being sufficiently different from other commonly-used sets to appeal to cathedral choirs as well, which has happily proved to be the case.

The musical style is restrained and monastic, drawing inspiration from unobtrusively accompanied plainsong and some of the more lyrical accompanied recitatives in Handel’s oratorios and operas, for instance Thy rebuke (Messiah) or Chi vide mai (Tamerlano). The vocal lines intertwine gently, often in canon, and the organ provides a sustained background with occasional phrases imitating the voices. The Preces and the Lesser Litany are conceived as single complete movements, rather than a series of discrete versicles and responses.

Men's voices are used in the illustrative recording but, as remarked above, other vocal combinations are allowed for and encouraged (see footnote at the bottom of page 1 of the score).


3. The Beatific Vision
Simon Mold

Duration: 9'30"
Ensemble: SATB organ
Grading: Medium/Difficult
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This extended piece was commissioned to mark the retirement of the Rev Christopher Morgan-Jones, Vicar of Maidstone, Kent in 2013 and in thanksgiving for his full-time ministry. The interesting text is a poem by Frederick William Orde Ward (1843-1922), one of a group of nineteenth century neo-metaphysical poets who revived the writing of mystical Christian verse. The Beatific Vision tells how the writer experienced "A wondrous vision but without a name" which initially seemed "Exceeding terrible;" but then a Voice "swept away the clouds of gloomy fears", assuring him that in spite of appearances to the contrary all was well with a world emanating from a "Presence" which was "boundless love".

The music shadows the text's twists and turns, contrasting unison with harmony and alternating between major and minor tonalities to mirror the poet's shifting mood. Broadly speaking the piece falls into four sections that respect the four stanzas of Ward's poem. The opening section, for full choir and organ, announces the principle musical themes and leads to a moment's quiet, mistico reflection at the words "I felt a Presence though I saw no face". Then the music opens out into sunniness as the sopranos emerge from the clouds of doubt with a confident, extended melody, enthusiastically taken up by the full choir.

Stanza three of the text is sung by unison tenors and basses to a broad tune, swinging in compound time over a rippling accompaniment that glances at "The giant wheels and all the hidden springs/Of this most beauteous globe". Its reflective conclusion contrasts with an abrupt organ fanfare that announces the final section of the piece: the full choir suddenly returns at what is intended to be a spine-chilling moment, then maintains the momentum of the text’s increasingly confident thrust. After a final pause for renewed reflection, recalling earlier music, the piece ends in a blaze of glory, the organ tuba announcing the final bars celebrating "boundless love".


4. St Woolos Service
Simon Mold

Duration: 13'00"
Ensemble: SATB organ
Grading: Medium/Difficult
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The St Woolos Service, a setting of the Latin mass, was commissioned in 2010 for the choir of St Woolos Cathedral, Newport, Gwent by their then Director of Music Christopher Barton.

The Kyrie introduces a triplet figure which is taken up by sopranos in the central Christe section, the opening music then returning to complete the movement. The Gloria begins con moto, followed by a quieter central section featuring the altos and basses. A reprise of the opening plainsong intonation leads into the final section that concludes with joyful amens. The Sanctus introduces an organ fanfare that periodically punctuates the forceful phrases of the choir, before all concludes quietly as the fanfare passes into the distance, as it were. A soprano solo, complemented by a solo oboe stop, begins and ends the Benedictus, wherein the choir’s osannas are thoughtful and muted. The Agnus Dei combines a number of hitherto-heard themes, moving up three keys before a coda, based on the now-familiar triplets, ends with a short soprano descant and quiet, high organ trills.


5. For Others
Simon Mold

Duration: 6'15"
Ensemble: Unison choir organ
Grading: Easy/Medium
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There aren't that many contemporary unison pieces for Remembrance occasions, so I hope this setting of a new, specially-commissioned text will be useful. Whilst acknowledging the toll armed conflict brings, Lizzie Ballagher's thoughtful words bring out the human qualities of those being commemorated, and should offer solace both in church and more secular settings.

The music is tuneful yet reflective, employing an accommodating vocal range suitable for most singers. Two verses in contrasting keys are linked by a twice-sung refrain, which eventually leads into an extended coda focusing prayerfully upon the Remembrance theme. The accompaniment is suitable for either organ or piano, and has been kept deliberately uncomplicated. There are two bars of optional solo at the very end.

Poet Lizzie Ballagher's website is at https://lizzieballagherpoetry.wordpress.com/about/


6. Hold me high
Simon Mold

Duration: 5'30"
Ensemble: SATB organ
Grading: Easy/Medium
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This setting of Elizabeth Ballagher's specially-commissioned text is suitable for memorials, be they of a religious or more secular nature. The music generally evokes a sense of thankfulness and hope: cautiously in the first verse, then with increasing confidence in verse 2. A keyboard passage then leads into a delicate coda featuring two solo voices, before the piece ends on a note of restful comfort.

Hold Me High was written as a companion piece to For Others, also with a Ballagher text. Both pieces offer comfort through restrained, accessible tunefulness.


7. Hold me high
Simon Mold

Duration: 5'30"
Ensemble: Unison choir or solo. Optional lower part
Grading: Easy/Medium
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This setting of Elizabeth Ballagher's specially-commissioned text is suitable for memorials, be they of a religious or more secular nature. The music generally evokes a sense of thankfulness and hope: cautiously in the first verse, then with increasing confidence in verse 2. A keyboard passage then leads into a delicate coda featuring two solo voices, before the piece ends on a note of restful comfort.

Hold Me High was written as a companion piece to For Others, also with a Ballagher text. Both pieces offer comfort through restrained, accessible tunefulness.