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Voyces across the world and through the years

by Michael Ford last modified 05 Feb, 2020 03:33 PM

Volume 2 of a groundbreaking 5-volume anthology, with unique collections of compositions by women composers, is out in March.

Local Community Interest Company Multitude of Voyces has embarked on a groundbreaking and comprehensive project - to publish over 100 works by women composers in 5 volumes of the Anthology of Sacred Music by Women Composers.

A team of experts, including local teacher and composer Olivia Sparkhall, former Salisbury Cathedral lay clerk Andrew Stewart, and former Salisbury Cathedral organ scholar Henry Websdale, has worked together to research, edit and prepare this exciting new resource.

Volume 1, 'SATB* Anthems', was published in November 2019 and is already being reprinted. This volume has 22 diverse anthems for adult and children's choirs by established, emerging, and historical women composers, along with Biblical texts suitable for use throughout the church year, and settings of works by poets such as George Herbert.

Voyces across the world and through the years- St Martin's Church Choir, Epsom, singing from Volume 1

St Martin's Church Choir, Epsom, singing from Volume 1

Volume 2, 'Upper Voices Anthems', will be suitable for soprano and alto singers in secondary girls' schools, cathedral girls' choirs, youth choirs and professional women’s voice choirs. This volume is sponsored by the National Youth Choir of Scotland, helping them to broaden their repertoire and to provide role models for their singers.

Louise Stewart, founder and Director of Multitude of Voyces, explains:

"Sacred music by women composers has been underrepresented for centuries. Most choirs have few resources containing women’s sacred music suitable for inclusion within the regular Anglican repertoire, and little has been done until recently, to address the lack of education regarding our historical inheritance of sacred music by women composers.

"Hardly anything has needed to be commissioned or newly composed for these volumes, and women composers from around the world have submitted works for inclusion.

"We wanted to present volumes which are easy for choirs to use, without the need for choir directors and clergy to undertake this research themselves.

"Our Anthology series features composers from around the world, and spans nine centuries of women’s sacred music compositions, from Hildegard of Bingen in the 12th Century through to Joanna Ward, aged 21. Each composer has a suitable biography for those unfamiliar, and to add interest and background.

"Our 5 volumes will include more than 80 women composers from across the world, in various languages and differing styles. Because we are non-profit, the proceeds are fed into local community projects, including our Makaton Mass which we are developing in association with Alabaré, local schools and churches."

Upcoming volumes include Volume 2, 'Upper Voices Anthems' (to be published end of March 2020); Volume 3, 'Liturgical Works'; Volume 4, Advent/Christmas/Epiphany music; and Volume 5, 'Lower Voices Anthems'.

*Soprano, Alto, Tenor & Bass

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