Ivor Gurney: “Since I Believe”

They are at Rest: A Remembrance of the 1918 Armistice
Choir & Organ Magazine has a wonderful feature on the recent publication of Ivor Gurney’s Since I Believe in God the Father Almighty Motet. Cappella Romana is excited to be giving the North American premiere performance on our They Are At Rest series November 9 and 11, 2018:

Ivor Gurney
“Photograph of Ivor Gurney,” by Hall, R.. First World War Poetry Digital Archive
“Composed in June 1925, the motet for unaccompanied double choir sets a poem by the then Poet Laureate, Robert Bridges, which speaks of faith in the face of adversity. While Gurney is well known as a composer of song and as a poet of the first world war, he also composed in other forms. During the last decade, his orchestral works have been brought to recording and broadcast; his surviving chamber works have been trickling their way out of the archive, and likewise his few extant choral and organ works. … Since I Believe is a rare survivor. It was written in the asylum, where Gurney would spend the last 15 years of his life; for this reason it has been overlooked and – as with the numerous other missing late works – the manuscript likely destroyed. The motet survived only because a copy of the score was made for a possible try-through of the piece by the choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, at the behest of Robert Bridges. … Whether this was ever achieved is unknown, but the piece was brought out of the archive by Philip Lancaster and given its first known performance by Gloucester Cathedral Choir, conducted by Adrian Partington, in 2012. … The two choirs at times shift against each other like tectonic plates, sometimes strange and uncompromising, but powerfully, melting with touching beauty into silence. The poem speaks of cherishing freedom of belief, but, from one incarcerated without hope, we can’t help but hear a vain desire for freedom from captivity.”

Choir & Organ Magazine

Read the full feature online

They are at Rest

9 & 11 Nov, 2018

Seattle and Portland