24th April 2004 saw the complete world premiere of Julian Anderson’s Four American Choruses on Gospel texts, at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, performed by the Netherlands Radio Choir under the baton of Simon Halsey. Julian set texts from the Ida Sankey hymn book (often quoted by Charles Ives) and has created four very different pieces with a theme of joyous collective celebration. The choir responded brilliantly to his settings, and Simon Halsey described them thus:
“The perfect combination of exciting, novel and adventurous music skillfully written for singers; contemporary yet accessible. I recommend these pieces wholeheartedly.”
The City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus will give the British premiere of the complete set in Spring 2005, and there has already been a great deal of interest in the pieces from professional and amateur choirs. The first chorus, I’m a Pilgrim, will shortly be published and would be a great addition to any choir’s repertory – watch this space!