Signal Boost: Aurora Nova choir at St Paul’s Cathedral, London

I mentioned on Thursday that the Aurora Nova choir would be singing d’Este’s O salutaris sostia on Sunday at St Paul’s. Well, that’s not all they’re singing. From a tweet by Sarah MacDonald, it looks like the music list is as follows:

11:30am Sung Eucharist:

Mass Setting — Missa Mariae, Cecilia McDowall
Anthem — O salutaris hostia, d’Este
Voluntary — Carillon, Kerensa Briggs
Hymns: 351, 342 (452), R&S 244 (Part II), 114 (I recognise some of these from the New English Hymnal and I don’t think they have music by women, but the ones that aren’t from NEH might; and I don’t know about the words, off the top of my head.)

3.15pm Evensong (Eve of the Annunciation of Our Lord to the Blessed Virgin Mary):

Responses — Sarah MacDonald
Canticles — Magnificat and Nunc dimittis Regina caeli, Katherine Dienes
Anthem — Ave Maria, Roxanna Panufnik
Voluntary — The Tree of Peace, Judith Weir
Hymns: 181 (ii), 187, 186 (Again, from memory, I don’t think music for any of these hymns is by women, though I’m uncertain about the words.)

This is a pretty good lineup, and a strong challenge to the idea that music by women, or sung by women, isn’t suitable for “serious” cathedral services (scare quotes because ordinary parish services can be serious, too). It would be great to see more hymns by women, but perhaps for that we need to look more to the compilers of hymnals, as (especially in a cathedral context with a visiting choir) there is a strong tendency to want to stick to the book when it comes to congregational hymnody. I understand that the Revised English Hymnal, the successor to the New English Hymnal, will be published sometime this year; I hope that it offers a better gender balance than previous editions.

In any case, for my part I’m planning to go along to St Paul’s on Sunday; perhaps I’ll see you there.

Signal Boost: This Day — Blossom Street Singers

In 1918, women (or some of them, anyway) in Britain got the right to vote.

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of this, Blossom Street Singers are recording an album with Naxos which will consist entirely of music composed by women, and sung by upper voices. There will be several pieces, old and new, that have never been recorded before. Composers include Elizabeth Maconchy, Judith Weir, Elizabeth Poston, Judith Bingham, Kerry Andrew, Roxanna Panufnik, Cecilia McDowall and many more.

Blossom Street Singers was founded by Hilary Campbell whilst studying at the University of York, and later relocated to London. The choir is excellent and I am sure the CD will be as well.

You can read more about the CD, and sponsor the recording project, at the crowdfunding page for This Day.

Signal Boost: a selection of Advent calendars

I thought, briefly, about doing some kind of Cecilia’s List Advent calendar. Then I thought better of it: I don’t have enough music in the database yet to do that without repeating composers. But there are some other musical Advent calendars which might be of interest:

Over on tumblr, Emily E Hogstad has the Song of the Lark Advent Calendar, made up of some of her favourite compositions by women.

Salon Without Boundaries also has an Advent Calendar, under the “discover” tag on their website, with visual art and music by women every day.

And last but not least, Ally Barrett has some Advent doodles and reflections, based on scripture.

Signal Boost: the Ossia Project

Ossia Project is:

a crowd-sourced micro-commissioning fund. We work with our subscribers to create regular, accessible opportunities for composers, to support the creation of new works. Ossia project currently commissions one composer each month, with an emphasis on female composers, composers with disabilities, composers of color, and other composer groups that have historically faced barriers in accessing opportunities in new music.

Their current call for scores is for piano pieces, 2-6 minutes in duration, and expires 15th December 2017.

Signal Boost: Multitude of Voyces hymn tune composing competition

Multitude of Voyces have a hymn-tune composing competition. The deadline is 11th December, so if you’re a dab hand at writing hymn tunes, do have a look and enter.

Multitude of Voyces invites submissions for its inaugural hymn-tune composing competition.

Multitude of Voyces exists to support Inclusive Community through music with underrepresented, underutilised, vulnerable or marginalised communities. This competition is part of a project which aims to raise the profile of and provide new opportunities for women composers, writers and performers involved in Anglican worship.

The competition is open to those who identify as women composers (hereafter known as women composers) of any nationality and age. The hymn-tune should be written for SATB voices with organ/piano accompaniment and should be suitable for an SATB congregation to sing without rehearsal. The tune should be suitable to be sung to the words Sing a New Church by Sister Delores Dufner OSB.

There is no entry fee.

Learn more about the competition, and about Multitude of Voyces generally, at the Multitude of Voyces website.