Glasgow, Scotland

It’s here! Concert no. 13 on day 18 of this term has happened, and we now have four days at home. Amazing!

Seriously, though, it’s been a great start to the season, with huge variety of repertoire and concert venues so far. We’ve been to Austria, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Iceland, England and now Scotland, and I’m not going to lie: it’s been pretty exhausting along the way. But, each concert has been a great occasion and the season is well and truly under way.

This evening’s concert was one that we’ve all been looking forward to for some time: performing in the second Cumnock Tryst, a festival started just last year by one of our most eminent composers, Sir James Macmillan. As part of the programme we performed his commission written for the KS last year, “A rumoured seed,” which is a truly beautiful work and one of the finest commissions I’ve been privileged to sing during my time in the group.

After the concert, several people asked me whether it was hard to learn a new work, and how we’d found the time to rehearse James’ piece. My honest answer was that if the composer is good enough the piece sings itself, to a great extent. Obviously we have to work at it, but in reality the better the composer the more he or she understands how to write for us, to create good voice-leading in our parts, and allow everything to make sense. I’ve said many times that the trick of writing for The King’s Singers (or indeed any group) is not to try to be clever, or to make the music difficult for the sake of it, but to find your voice and allow it to be expressed on the manuscript paper. Sadly, we don’t always have this experience with commissions!

It was a true pleasure to present this piece to the composer for the first time – beautifully crafted, well thought-out and perfectly poised as a composition, I hope it remains part of our repertoire for many years to come.


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