New music is a key feature of Ishirini's work. We are proud to have commissioned and sung several new compositions, particularly so because the composers have come from the ranks of our twenty singers. Each of the pieces we have commissioned have a direct connection with place and tradition. Composers are invited to contact Jeremy to discuss future commissions. You may see a selection of past commissions below.
Commissioned for Música en las Montañas, August 2014
Première: July 2014, Capileira, La Alpujarra. London premiere: July 2016 (by Crouch End Festival Chorus)
Mirror Suite is a setting of four poems by the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca (1898–1936) taken from his 1921 cycle of poems of the same name. Lorca was greatly influenced by nature, particularly the landscape near Granada, where he grew up. In Mirror Suite (1921) Lorca re-imagines natural phenomena, such as rainbows, birdsong, the earth and the sky, through a world of mirrors and reflections. The four movements are scored for unaccompanied choir, which is divided in various ways. Each movement is based on a canon* or mirror canon**: the musical lines are always being reflected in various ways, creating the musical equivalent of mirrors.
Commissioned for the Palestinian Choral Festival, September 2013
Première: July 2013, Hythe
The Biblical text, beginning ‘Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace’, is sung at every Anglican choral evensong and has been set to music by numerous composers. This setting expresses the words’ mixed emotions - praise, hope, and resignation to death - by imitating pealing and tolling bells.
the lily of heaven
Commissioned for Ishirini's tour to Poland, 2012
Première: August, 2012, Krakow, Poland
the lily of heaven is a double choir setting of an E.E. Cummings poem. The English version and Polish translation are sung simultaneously (by Ishirini and Strzyzowski Chor Kameralny in the first performance) producing a remarkable effect as the very different tone qualities of the two languages alternate in prominence or merge together.
Though I speak
Première: June 2012, Madingley
Composed by Madingley's Musician-in-Residence for Ishirini's Jubilee concert, Though I speak is a setting of one of the most quoted passages in scripture, 1 Corinthians 13. There is much arresting imagery in St. Paul's letter which is played out in the piece, and the paramount importance of love in the text is reflected at a deep structural level. The variety and vibrancy of the choral writing sustains interest in this substantial a cappella work.
out of the mouths of children
Première: February 2011, St. Mary's, Alverstoke
Commissioned specially for Ishirini's tour to India in 2011 and receiving its premiere in Ishirini's perfomance of An Offering of Songs at St. Mary's Alverstoke, out of the mouths of children weaves together the words of Psalm 8 and Grace Before Song, a poem by Ezra Pound (one of Tagore's early supporters in the West) with the melody of Anondoloke, one of Tagore's many famous songs.
Verbum Bonum et Suave
Commissioned for Ishirini's concert in St. Mary's, Netherbury
Première: April 2010
The piece is based on the unique 13th century manuscript found in the bell-tower of St. Mary's. The manuscript includes one of the first known written examples of two-part composition, capturing a critical point in music history when harmonic music started to evolve from single-line chant and plainsong.
Commissioned for Ishirini's tour to Tanzania in April 2009
Première: April 2009
An arrangement of a traditional Tanzanian melody. Essentially a set of variations rounded off with a climactic coda, Moyo Wangu starts simply and gradually builds in textural complexity throughout.