The productive partnership between The Sixteen and the Genesis Foundation continued in May 2011 with the release of a CD of six new choral works from three of Britain’s most exciting contemporary composers: Roderick Williams, Tarik O’Regan and Ruth Byrchmore.
Roderick Williams found himself instantly drawn to the ‘comforting nature’ of St. Teresa’s words: ‘Hers is a prayer of protection and consolation,’ Roderick says, ‘but it also has a sort of loving maternal feel about it, almost like a lullaby.’ Let nothing trouble you opens hypnotingly, as lower voices chant the word ‘nothing’, a bit like fingering a rosary. Above, the sopranos launch into a hauntingly beautiful melody, settling on the repeated word ‘fleeting’: worldly things are mere chaff compared with God’s enduring quality; whereas patience – making oneself available to God in calm contemplation – ‘can obtain everything’. The falling top line mirrors or inverts the sopranos’ first entry – now musing on the word ‘everything’, and then dwelling on the phrase ‘God alone’, each time ‘offering the listener a chance for reflection’.
Urged on by a solo tenor, the music speeds up to a modest first climax, reinforced by an opulent key change, pausing anew on the word ‘unchanging’, until the opening music returns, but with the tenors now allotted the sopranos’ expressive opening phrase. Warm harmonies ensue, and an ensuing accelerando, nudged on by eager triplets, yields another affirmative, though deliberately restrained, climax. The final bars meditate on the word ‘patience’, with the basses and tenors repeating lulling chords in close harmony, ushering the work to a profoundly beautiful close, and tenderly nursing us back to the point whence we started.
To learn more about this project, please visit The Sixteen’s partner page.
To listen to an excerpt from Let Nothing Trouble You, please visit the Audio page.