Home | Reviews | Articles | Festivals | Competitions | Other | Contact Us

Diana Burrell's The Hours
First performance of the complete cycle of Horae Canonicae

Vigils; Lauds; Prime

Peter Holder, organ; Academy Chamber Ensemble and Singers/Jonathan Mann

St Marylebone Parish Church, 27 October 2011

Opposite the Royal Academy of Music, its Organ Department combined with others at the Academy to give this collection of new works which explores the soundworld of the organ in combination with a wide range of other instruments.

Prolific composer Diana Burrell is active as church organist in Harwich, where she is too Artistic Director of the Harwich Festival. Three of Burrell's eight pieces Horae Canonicae took about 45 minutes and were preceded and interposed with chants, hymns and antiphons. For Vigils the organ was combined and contrasted with a chamber ensemble, and with electronic music for Lauds.

Prime was scored for cello and accordion (Bartoz Glowaki) - probably a nod to Owen Murray's fine Accordion Department; Burrell was pleased to have included free reed instruments (accordion and harmonium) along wth the organ - perhaps she'll write for harmonica too one day?

Strangely this public performance was spread over some eight hours, with a three hour gap following the first part - a lunch-hour concert which proved to be but an hour long. They were nonetheless well worth hearing, and having made the journey (some three hours in my case) I was glad to have done so.

There was no other event open to the public that afternoon (such as a master class) so many of us failed to stay the course; but thankfully, this major work was being recorded for the Academy's CD label.

Peter Grahame Woolf