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Edward Nesbit wins New Music for St Paul’s 2015
New Music for St Paul’s 2015: Prize-winning ‘In To Plain Ways’
25 November 2015
The biennial Composition Competition at the Cathedral has been won by Londoner Edward Nesbit.
Now his work will premiere on Sunday December 6th at Evensong (3.15pm), sung by the Cathedral Choir. New Music for St Paul’s is supported by the Boltini Trust.
He said: ‘As well as being extremely beautiful, St Paul’s Cathedral – importantly for a composer – has wonderful acoustics and exceptional musicians, so it is a great pleasure and privilege to have the chance to hear one of my own compositions performed in St Paul’s.’
In To Plain Ways is a setting of a passage from Isaiah well known for its appearance in Handel’s Messiah.
Edward chose to de-familiarise the text by setting an unusual translation of it – the Wycliffe version of the late fourteenth century: the first complete translation of the Bible into English. The intention was to render the text simultaneously recognisable and surprising.
The musical setting is extremely simple and repetitive, and in its rolling, hypnotic harmonies attempts to capture the wonder of the prophecy of Jesus’s coming.
The St Paul’s Cathedral Consort performed three shortlisted works in a closed session with invited guests, including the composers. The panel of judges included the Reverend Canon Michael Hampel, Andrew Carwood, Anthony Bolton, and the Master of the Queen’s Music, Judith Weir CBE.