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Chris Artley: Cradle Song -...Embedded video
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I was immediately attracted to the lovely flow in the words of William Blake’s poem, 'Cradle Song'. It has a sing-song feel to it even before adding any music, so that is always a great help. Being steeped in the Carols for Choirs repertoire (Willcocks, Rutter et al) as a singer, accompanist and conductor, I have picked up some of the tricks of the trade, which are then incorporated into my own writing. Number one thing for me is to bring the words to life. This starts off with getting a good feel for their rhythmic flow, then developing melodic lines bringing out key words, whilst at the same time being very aware of the underlying harmony. A poem such as this, with quite a few verses, presents the challenge of how to maintain the listeners’ interest throughout the song. Changes in texture, accompaniment and use of descant are all commonly used techniques to provide variety, which I have used. As a choral singer, I have a good idea where a tune sits well in the different voices and make every effort to ensure that my pieces are as ‘singable’ as possible. Indeed, part of my composition process includes singing through each of the parts to check that they all work fine. I am delighted that this work has been chosen as the winner of the 2019 Leeds Philharmonic Christmas Carol Writing Competition!
-- Chris Artley --
Winner of the 2019 Leeds Philharmonic Christmas Carol Writing Competition