Night Prayer: Compline Renewed
Monday 14 May 2018
The Lacock Scholars present the premiere performance of Night Prayer: Compline Renewed by Ben Rowarth
St Pancras Parish Church
London NW1 2BA
The Lacock Scholars
Greg Skidmore Director
Night Prayer: Compline Renewed Ben Rowarth
This performance is free of charge and unticketed, but we recommend that you arrive in good time
The Lacock Scholars directed by Greg Skidmore perform Night Prayer, a new musical sequence that sets the complete liturgy of compline. Written for two groups of singers that can either perform in the same venue or in separate venues with the assistance of a live audio link, Ben Rowarth’s music is a throughcomposed setting, carefully allowing the elements of the compline service to flow together into one 45 minute presentation. Examining themes of intimacy, fear, life and death, this piece explores ways that sound can be experienced in different parts of sacred spaces.
Most commonly associated with pre-Reformation monasteries, compline has returned to common usage over the last century. Night Prayer takes its inspiration from compline’s rich musical heritage while simultaneously seeking to challenge, experiment and reinvent the way music can be used to enhance liturgy.
This performance is repeated on Tuesday 15 May
The Lacock Scholars
Founded in 2014, The Lacock Scholars is the United Kingdom’s premier amateur consort group. Originally formed of young participants on Lacock Courses, and still retaining a close association with these events, the group is dedicated to small-ensemble, a capella singing of Renaissance polyphonic music and plainsong.
The Lacock Scholars has found a unique approach in their series of monthly concerts in London, exploring the relationship between concert performance and liturgical observance in partnership with one of London’s hidden architectural gems, St Cuthbert’s Church in Earl’s Court. The ensemble seeks to create unified, holistic experiences for their audiences, free from applause and other interruptions, in which listeners are free to approach the music and architecture on their own terms. Branching out this year from this base in west London, the group now performs in this unique style throughout the capital and around the country, with highlights including performances at the Brighton Early Music Festival and at The Music Room at Gray’s Antiques as part of the new Baroque Voices series.
Following their debut CD, Music by Tallis, Lassus, Monteverdi, and others in January 2017, The Lacock Scholars plans to release a second recording, In memoriam, in the spring of 2018, including Duarte Lobo’s Requiem for 6 voices and motets by Josquin, Byrd, Weelkes, and others written as contemporary laments for the great composers of the Renaissance.
Winner of the NCEM Composers Award (2012) and Leeds International Film Festival Best Documentary Soundtrack (2013), Ben Rowarth has received numerous commissions and international performances, including Merton College Oxford (2014), York Minster (2015) and The Tower of London (2017). Following commissions for extended orchestral works from the Edinburgh Incidental Orchestra and Durham University Symphony Orchestra, Ben has also composed two live soundtracks for plays receiving exceptional reviews. His extended ensemble work The Turn has received multiple repeat performances since its premiere in 2016; its first recording has just been awarded the BBC Music Magazine ‘Choice Disc’ for March 2018 in the Choral and Song category.
Ben has been commercially recorded by ORA, The Rodolfus Choir and The Fieri Consort. His work has also received regular broadcasts on BBC Radio 3 by performers including The Tallis Scholars. His most recent commission, The short walk of a madman, a thirty-minute piece for eight solo voices, was recorded earlier this year by The Fieri Consort. Ben is currently working on commissions from Ensemble XY and The Fulham Camerata, where he holds the position of Composer in Residence.
Ben began his musical life as a chorister at Hexham Abbey where he later went on to sing bass and became organ scholar in 2009. Following undergraduate and postgraduate music degrees at Durham and York Universities, Ben now performs regularly as a baritone soloist, recently playing the role of Sarastro in Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Polyphemus in Handel’s Acis and Galetea and Plutone in Monteverdi’s Orfeo with ensembles including Britten Sinfonia, The OAE, I Fagiolini and The BBC Singers.
Following his Organ Scholarship at Hexham Abbey Ben went on to become Interim Director of Music at University College, Durham in 2011. Having also spent time conducting University College Orchestra in Durham and guest conducting a number of choirs in the North East and around London, he now manages and conducts his own professional ensemble, Renaissance.