THE ORIGINS OF THE HEREFORDSHIRE COMPOSERS WORKSHOP WEBSITE
The original Herefordshire Composers’ Workshop website, created in 2011, accommodated twenty-eight unaccompanied vocal pieces specially composed by local composers as an adjunct to the Cathedral’s Celebrating the Saints project (2005-2009). A selection of these compositions was performed at a charity concert in aid of the Cathedral on 22 July 2011 by the locally based Ensemble Sine Nomine. This being the Feast of St Mary Magdalen, they also sang as an encore a further specially written setting by Stephen Gowland of a prayer for that day.
Supervised by Andrew Piper, Canon Precentor of Hereford Cathedral, the composition project produced material for three further charity concerts by the same Ensemble, with the Cathedral still the main beneficiary. For a charity concert in August 2012, four more vocal pieces were composed in celebration of the Diamond Jubilee. On their submission to the Queen, a note conveying her thanks to the four composers was received from Her Majesty’s Private Office at Balmoral, and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Master of the Queen’s Music, later wrote saying:
‘Thank you so much for sending “a garland for the Queen”, which was forwarded by Christopher Geidt at Buckingham Palace. I enjoyed reading them very much and congratulate you on producing such a great tribute to her Majesty.’
For two further charity concerts in July 2013, local composers wrote another 36 new compositions, now including songs, piano compositions and accompanied choral works, as well as a capella pieces. Thanks to sponsorship by the website, these concerts, in all, raised several thousand pounds for charitable purposes.
The 65 compositions written to provide material for the four concerts were the original core of the Herefordshire Composers Workshop site.