My Life in Music
Richard Stevens, a noted countertenor soloist, conductor and gifted teacher, gives an overview of his musical life from his education in Oxfordshire to the University of Durham with a Choral Scholarship at the cathedral to positions in several other English cathedrals, notably St Paul’s in London. In the latter position he sang and witnessed many famous events and services. Also a leading light at the Farnham Festival, he commissioned and conducted many world premières. A splendid way to complete our fascinating season with many unusual and uplifting recordings.
Appreciation by David Fisher
“My life in music” has been a popular topic in recent LMS seasons and this was no exception. Richard Stevens spoke with panache and humour and his presentation was peppered with the names of influential musicians who helped him in the early part of his career. We also heard about the many famous musicians he has worked with in his solo work, his choral work in Ely, Guildford and St Paul’s Cathedrals as well as time with Her Majesty’s own Chapel Royal Choir.
He also touched upon his remarkable stint as a stalwart of the Farnham Festival, commissioning and conducting works by notable composers for a whole generation of children. His amusing asides and insights into the workings of various organisations and the state of the Church (and church musicians generally) were incisive and informative.
Richard's musical examples were well chosen for illustrative purposes. They varied from a Consort of Viols playing Purcell to the sounds of a railway engine conceived by Villa Lobos and classic pieces from the English Church Music repertory, as well as rare performances by countertenors of the past and an astonishingly gifted treble singing Walford Davies’ “O little town of Bethlehem”. We learned how his violin playing laid the foundations of his career before it took a back seat to singing but all the time we were made aware of the links between the many musicians he cited. This not only demonstrated the importance of those who influenced his musical development but their lasting legacy to the world of music generally.
|Henry Purcell||Four-Part Fantasia In C Minor|
|J S Bach||Concerto For Two Violins - 1st Movement|
|Sir Edward Elgar||Motet Ave Verum Corpus||Choir of John’s College Cambridge - Christopher Robinson|
|Sir Ernest Bullock||Anthem - Give Us The Wings Of Faith||St. Paul’s Cathedral Choir - John Scott / Huw Williams - organ|
|Folk Song||The Sweet Nightingale||Freddie Hodgson|
|Henry Purcell||Aria - Vouchsafe O Lord - From Te Deum In D Major||James Bowman - Counter Tenor / The king’s Consort|
|Sir William Harris||Reverie||Conrad Eden - Durham Cathedral Organ|
|Conrad Eden||Psalm 114 Chant|
|Sir H. Walford Davies||O Little Town Of Bethlehem -||Dennis Barthel, treble / George Thalben Ball in Temple Church London|
|Palestrina||Agnus Dei - Missa Aeterna Christe Munera||Choir of Guildford Cathedral - Barry Rose|
|Leonard Bernstein||Chichester Psalms 1st Movement||Conducted by the composer|
|Folk Song||There Was A Tailor Had A Mouse||Alfred Deller|
|Thomas Morley||It Was A Lover And His Lass||Alfred Deller|
|David Fisher||Let Us Build For Ever||Children of Barfield School Farnham - Richard Stevens|
|Hector Villa-Lobos||Little Train To Kaipora - Orchestral|
|Frederick Ouseley||Anthem - O Saviour Of The World||Choir of Chichester Cathedral - Alan Thurlow|
|Sir John Stainer||Anthem - How Beautiful Upon The Mountains||Choir of ST Mary’s Choir School Reigate - John Tobin / Ian Le Grice - organ|
|Sir Charles Villiers Stanford||Motet - Coelos Ascendit Hodie||St. Paul’s Cathedral Choir - John Scott / Huw Williams - organ|
|Francis Grier||Anthem - Let Us Invoke Christ|
|Sir Edward Bairstow / Gibbons||Anthem - Jesu Grant Me This I Pray||St. Paul’s Cathedral Choir - John Scott / Huw Williams - organ|
|Francis Jackson||Anthem - Laudate Pueri||St. Paul’s Cathedral Choir - John Scott / Huw Williams - organ|