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Halelu Yah! Praise God in his temple

posted Nov 21, 2017, 8:34 AM by David Mitchell   [ updated Nov 21, 2017, 8:37 AM ]

This is my version of Psalm 150 which we recorded in Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh's Royal Mile in 1996. Well, better late than never, I guess. Hope you all like it. You'll get all the musician details with the video. And you can find the music on the Music page.

The Tree of Life my soul has seen

posted Oct 17, 2017, 12:46 PM by David Mitchell   [ updated Oct 17, 2017, 1:06 PM ]

We recorded this anthem at our Edith Cavell evensong on Tuesday night (10 October 2017). Hope you like it. The soloist is Lydia Stoddart. The music's my own.
    The text has been set many times. Some people think it's American. But it first appeared in a London publication, The Spiritual Magazine, in 1761, with the name of the author given as "R.H." A gentleman called Gerald Montagna has done some careful research and found out that it was written by an English Calvinistic Baptist pastor by the name of Richard Hutchins, who led a congregation in Long Buckby until 1764 or 1765. You can read Montagna's research for yourself. There's also useful info about the text on Wikipedia.

Psalm 23

posted Oct 11, 2017, 1:19 AM by David Mitchell   [ updated Oct 11, 2017, 1:28 AM ]

Here's another Youtube upload. It's my setting of Psalm 23. This was recorded in the Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh in 1996. The lead singer is Helen Brough. There are backing vocals and violin by Suzanne Adam, and recorder by Sandy Nicholson. Synth and bass are by James Werner and Ian Maxwell. I play guitar and sing in verses 2 and 3.

Miss Cavell again

posted Sep 30, 2017, 1:44 AM by David Mitchell   [ updated Oct 9, 2017, 7:32 AM ]

The Brussels Edith Cavell Commemoration Group commissioned me to write a set of Preces and Responses in memory of Nurse Cavell for our Choral Evensong at 19h30 on 10 October 2017. So I've done it in the new Dorico software from Yamaha-Steinberg. If you're in the area, then come along and listen. It's a service, so it's free of course. And if you'd like a copy of the music, you can download it on this site after 10 October.
    Preces and Responses are a standard part of the liturgy of Anglican Choral Evensong. There are similar liturgies in Catholic and Orthodox tradition, and their text goes back to the earliest centuries of the Christian church.

Let there be a city

posted Sep 21, 2017, 7:19 AM by David Mitchell   [ updated Sep 21, 2017, 7:21 AM ]

These days I've been uploading some of my favourite old recordings to Youtube. I don't know why it's taken me so long to do this. But I hope you like them. Here's my song, 'Let there be a city' which we recorded in Barclay Church in Edinburgh. 

Christmas Cantata backing trax

posted Aug 25, 2017, 12:57 PM by David Mitchell   [ updated Aug 25, 2017, 1:09 PM ]

Since April, I've been working on a complete set of backing trax for my Christmas Cantata. They're almost complete. Of course, Christmas Cantata was available for years in pdf form. And it was performed here and there. But I was hearing that (a) people like a music book in their hand, and (b) not everybody has an orchestra. Strangely, this hadn't really occurred to me. So the solution was simple. Give them a book. (That appeared on Amazon last year.) And give them an orchestra they can download and play. This was done with Steinberg's Cubase, with some help from the Halion Symphonic Orchestra, and some samples from here and there. Have a listen to Lord, our Lord. That's one of the slow sections. But elsewhere it really grooves. Check the end of 'Arise, shine' or some of the other tracks on the Cantata backing trax page.

The Music of the Psalms

posted Aug 9, 2017, 5:23 AM by David Mitchell   [ updated Aug 14, 2017, 6:21 AM ]

I'm grateful to those who have been asking recently about my transcriptions of the ancient music of the Psalms. So I've decided to put some of them here on the website. You can find them on the Music of the Psalms page. Others not featured on that page can be found in some of my articles. I'd like to transcribe all the Psalms in this way, with a commentary on aspects of the music and performance practice. But the time required is great. In the meantime, here is my transcription of Psalm 114. It's a key psalm for the interpretation of the te'amim (see the discussion in The Songs of Ascents, chapters 11 and 12). And it's a psalm I have given quite a bit of thought to. This is my latest understanding of it, in all its beautiful and majestic simplicity.
Psalm 114


posted Apr 25, 2017, 12:21 AM by David Mitchell

So on Good Friday we had our sixth annual Bach Passion. We did the great Matthäus again. It's never easy, coordinating 70+ singers and musicians, including a dozen wonderful children for the ripieno line. But we got there in the end. I've learned a few new lessons though. In the past, we have occasionally allowed players to play modern instruments strung with gut strings. But this year, one such instrument (a viola) was too strong for the rest of the string section. So from now on, the rule is strictly "Baroque players, Baroque instruments." I'll be booking next year's players this week. To get the best players, one needs to book early!

Just voices!

posted Apr 9, 2017, 3:56 PM by David Mitchell   [ updated Apr 9, 2017, 3:57 PM ]

Last Sunday (Passion Sunday) we had a total electricity failure in Holy Trinity. No lights, no microphones, no organ. Nothing. But our choir rose magnificently to the occasion. They sang the hymns in good strong SATB harmony throughout. They improvised harmonies for the worship songs. And the anthem -- Purcell's "Thou knowest, Lord, the secrets of our hearts" -- sounded great. (Pastor Paul also did very well with no mic.) Many said afterwards how moving it was to hear the choir lead worship without any organ "interference".
    In some Christian traditions there is a beautiful old custom of reducing music to its simplest -- just voices -- during Lent. They did that in Bach's Leipzig until the time of the Good Friday Passion. Some suggested we should try that in HT next year. Well, we'll see. But while some folk think we should have DJs in church, and others think they need recorded music, for me the power of unaccompanied voices is something I love more and more. What better to proclaim God's praises than the voices of people made in his image?

Psalm 136 and the handsome prince

posted Mar 27, 2017, 5:48 AM by David Mitchell   [ updated Mar 27, 2017, 5:55 AM ]

Sorry to be so long incommunicado. These days, I am pulling together Holy Trinity's sixth Bach Passion. The choir are sounding great, and the orchestra will be excellent. If you would like to attend, you can find out all about it at our site, www.passiontoperform.eu. There are sponsor seats at €25, €15, and €7.50. There are also free seats. All details on the site. 
    My talk on the music of Psalm 136, at Pusey House, Oxford, went very well. One eminent academic, an expert on ancient Greek music, said he found my reconstruction of Psalm 136 "totally convincing". Meanwhile, it even got a feature in The Oxford Times, care of Edward Clarke, whose article is below. I am absolutely thrilled to learn that my deciphered version of Psalm 136 is the same as the one sung in an Italian cantoral tradition, and am following it up. If you want to know more about the handsome prince, you will find the text and illustrations of my talk on my Articles page or on my academia.edu page.

Psalm 136

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