The Rodolfus Foundation | Summer Newsletter 2019
Francis Grier: My long association with the Rodolfus Choir
I am thrilled that Ralph Allwood and the Rodolfus Choir are beginning to record some new pieces of mine. A good 30 years ago, when I was just starting to compose seriously, Ralph performed some of my first pieces, commissioned others, and soon made not one but two CDs with Rodolfus, and wonderful recordings they were too. I therefore owe Ralph a huge debt of gratitude for his encouragement at the start of my composing career. Since that time, Rodolfus has gone from strength to strength and I have continued with my composing, particularly for choirs. Gloucester Cathedral has also played a significant role in my musical journey. I’ve played an organ recital in the Three Choirs Festival, also broadcast two organ recitals from the cathedral, and had a major piece for soloists, choir and orchestra, My Heart Dances, commissioned and performed at the festival under the direction of David Briggs. Rodolfus and Ralph also performed my Ascension Sequence in a festival concert in the cathedral, so I am completely delighted that the same choir with new members but with the same director at its helm are now tackling more recent choral compositions, in the same wonderful cathedral.
The two DH Lawrence settings were written for the Pegasus Choir, and At Midnight was composed after receiving a British Composer Award for my Missa Brevis, written for St Paul’s Cathedral: together with the award I received a commission to write a carol, and chose to do so with especially written poetry composed by Elizabeth Cook, with whom I have collaborated on a number of major enterprises, including a full-scale Passion and a new setting of the Vespers. We are currently working on a Christmas oratorio, Before All Worlds, which will be performed by the BBC Singers and various soloists and instrumentalists in November and broadcast sometime over Christmas.