Thousand Colours of Sunset
Sunsets are so beautiful
That they seem as if we were looking
Through the gates of Heaven
– John Lubbock
Jonathan Crow is the acting organist and music director at St Johns, Chipping Sodbury. He has a long association with the Bristol area, from school, to university and then work. He is recently returned to the area from a 4 year contract in Munich, an experience that enriched his own musical journey.
It has been his lifelong ambition to compose a truly inspirational piece of music through which to communicate the most powerful innermost expression of profound feelings of life and death.
He writes “Into such a work I would pour my very essence, my heart, body and soul. It would be an expression of all I hold dear, my faith and life experience. Such a piece if it could ever be composed would be truly special and would move the heart at the very deepest level. I firmly believe this piece to be that piece and I consider it my masterpiece”.
Son et Lumiere
The Requiem has ten movements and is based on the form of the Requiem Mass set in Latin, a beautiful language to sing. It lasts forty minutes and is scored for solo cello, solo violin, solo soprano, solo tenor, choir and keyboard.
As a singer, composer, performer, teacher and listener, Jonathan Crow has drawn on the influence of some of the finest Requiems ever written (to date there are over 2,000 Requiem compositions) . Thus one can hear Mozart, M. Haydn, Cherubini, Schubert, Berlioz, Durufle, Faure, Brahms, Dvorak and even Preisner in the notes. In fact one soprano soloist whom he accompanied in Munich described his Requiem as sounding like all the Requiems ever written.
The solo cellist for the performance Linda Hansard has written “Music and Performance is about reaching into peoples hearts and lives and making a connection for them… By giving ourselves to the music and make ourselves vulnerable in a way we give our audience permission to experience the music to connect with their own inner stories and feelings … And the music will be all the colours of the rainbow expressing the human condition.”
The work is strongly melodic with rich and lush harmonies to express the pure emotion of the human condition. Jonathan has purposely followed in the footsteps of the great composers and produced a beautiful work that stands as a reaction against the shallowness and absence of soul of the modern world.
Why A Requiem?
Crow writes: The choice of writing a Requiem in my view fulfils such lofty ambition and is intensely personal. The feelings of awestruck wonder at the sight of a glorious sunset or rainbow arch over a mountain are all expressed, as are the feelings of utter loss and enduring sadness at the passing of those dearest to me. Where words cannot express what we feel, music must. From such experiences life’s rich tapestry is woven, and I have poured all my emotions into this piece at every level. I have felt a level of inspiration that has at times totally overwhelmed me. I wanted to give the piece its own special name to convey my own feeling that this piece is special – that name is “Thousand Colours of Sunset.”
Introduction to Sunset Requiem
The Arcus Singers will perform the Requiem.
Soloists will include:
- Katie Bilner (soprano)
- Nick Sherwood (tenor)
- Helen Sherwood (violin)
- Linda Hansard (cello)
- Robin Pillinger (organ/piano)
- Jonathan Crow (keyboard)
- Geoff Wickham (conductor)
Profiles of the performers in detail here
Hear the Yate Choral Society perform 5th movement with solo by Katie Bilner (soprano):
The premiere performance takes place at St Mary’s Parish Church, Culverhay, Wotton-under-Edge, GL12 7LS on 10 March 2018.
On sale in January at the following outlets:
- Chipping Sodbury Tourist Information Centre
- Wotton-under-Edge Historical Society & Heritage Centre
- Eventbrite (on-line)
- via Yate Choral Society
The Requiem has ten movements and is based on the traditional form of the Requiem Mass set to Latin, a language that is beautiful to sing.
Each movement has its own distinct colour theme and the colours have been chosen purposely to express the colours of sunset under the title. The link between music and colour in a Requiem Mass composition is believed to be unique in music.