Choral TextsCOMMISSIONS & PUBLICATIONS UPDATE

“This extraordinary work…made a huge impact on the large audience…who described it as ‘deeply moving’, ‘powerful’ and ‘inspiring.’” (Review of choral symphony Unfinished Remembering, gerontius.net Newsletter, November 2014)

Euan’s visibility as a librettist is increasing rapidly among choirs and conductors in the US, UK and Norway. “Anyone paying attention to the choral world right now knows that we have a new poet on the rise in Euan Tait.” Kurt Knecht, May 2016.

2018 sees the release of three of Euan’s texts on the new and now bestselling Naxos CD of Kim Andre Arnesen’s work! (Catalogue No: 8.573788). The texts are ‘Flight Song’, ‘Child of Song’ and ‘Then gift I’ll leave you’.

“An eloquent libretto by Euan Tait…” (Commonwealth Chorale, 2018).
The Wound in the Water is experiencing gathering waves of performances in the US – two in New Hampshire in November 2017 (New Hampshire Master Chorale); in Manhattan, New York in March 2018 (Florilegium Chamber Choir), and near Boston, MA, also in March 2018 (Commonwealth Chorale). People seem to have reacted to the work’s message in visceral ways – moving for artists who long to speak for and to the heart, and become a person’s fellow pilgrim.
Comments include these by singers:
“Euan Tait’s text is thought provoking and reflective…“ “…Tait’s libretto and Arnesen’s vocal/orchestral harmonies culminate in a poignant, aching Epilogue. For me, it seems a quiet prayer of hope, a plea for the recognition of our common human condition, and an ardent petition for peace. What could possibly be more relevant for our time than these closing words, the verbs in past tense?” (NHMC Alto, Gwen Dunn)
And this from Richard Knox’s programme note:
“…up-to-the-moment sensibility. Music Director Dan Perkins was struck by its immediacy. “The text, in particular, resonated with the general angst I was (and am) feeling about the disastrous human (social/political) and physical (pollution, global warming) condition in which we find our world,” Perkins says.”

Premieres 2018
With Chris Hutchings: ‘We are One Voice’ (Beaconsfield Festival, March 2018)
New St. Cecilia work and text for soprano and string quartet – details to follow!

2017 Premieres:
With Kim Andre Arensen: February 12th: “Song of the Soul” premièred in Soustons, France by Quatuor Vocal Méliades and Ensemble Hope. April 22nd:
TTBB version of the bestselling “Flight Song” (extensively recorded on YouTube), premiered by 450 men at VAN/Man Male choral summit at Chan Centre for Performing Arts. May 18th: “My Flame the Song” commissioned by Edwards Masterworks Singers, Austin, Texas, and premiered in Oslo Cathedral.
July 11th: “Falling into mercy” commissioned by Oregon Bach Festival and premiered by Strangeland Family Youth Choral Academy, and Dr. Anton Armstrong July 22: “Searching Love” commissioned by Texas Choral Directors Association, and premiered by Directors Chorus, and conductor Dr. Lori Hetzel.

With Dominic McGonigal: ‘Night Song’ (2nd November, London, for the founding concert of the new professional ensemble, Philomel). Further performances of this work in London, March 2017

Euan has produced a wide range of choral works with the Norwegian composer Kim André Arnesen, including two major works: The Christmas Alleluias, a five movement piece, was performed by The Valley Chamber Chorale, Stillwater, Minnesota  and conductor Carol Carver in December 2015, and The Wound in the Water, a choral symphony, which will be performed in Trondheim by one of the leading choirs in the world today, Conspirare, conducted by Craig Johnston, with the British star soprano Elin Manahan Thomas, at the opening concert of the 2016 Olavsfestdagene.  Of their shorter works, Flight Song, dedicated to the St. Olaf Choir and conductor Anton Armstrong, has now sold thousands of copies, and is performed regularly across the US, including at Carnegie Hall, NYC. Other pieces include Child of Song, written in memory of Stephen Paulus and first performed at a memorial concert for him.  Flight Song is published by earthsongs, and their other works by the Santa Barbara Press, CA.

In the US, he wrote the text for Spokes, music by Timothy Tharaldson, which was performed by Youth Chorale of Central Minnesota in 2016. Euan is now developing other projects with other US choral composers. Kurt Knecht of MusicSpoke wrote (May 25th 2016): “Anyone paying attention to the choral world right now knows that we have a new poet on the rise in Euan Tait. He’s been collaborating with several composers including a big premiere of settings of his work by Kim Arnesen. It’s for good reason. To my mind, Euan’s extremely lyric gift comes from a poet that you can tell was raised on a steady diet of…Wordsworth. In contrast to Wordsworth, however, I don’t find a vague sort of pantheism at the bottom of Tait’s poems. Instead, they betray a profound and rich spiritual life that make them exceptionally poignant. This very grounding is what keeps his poems from floating into sentimentality despite their lyric nature.” http://musicspoke.com/blog/score-week-iii-spokes-timothy-tharaldson/

In the UK, Euan’s first choral symphony libretto, Unfinished Remembering, with acclaimed music by Paul Spicer, was first performed on 13th September 2014, with the Birmingham Bach Choir, the Orchestra of the Swan, and soloists  Johane Ansell (soprano)  and baritone William Dazeley. The vocal score is currently being prepared for a second printing for further performances, and Euan appeared twice on  BBC Midlands Today,  including at a rehearsal of his and Spicer’s new National song,  A Shared Singing.  Among comments on the libretto were John Quinn ‘s “Unfinished Remembering is a moving and compelling work. Euan Tait has written a libretto which offers a thought-provoking reflection not only on why Remembrance is important but also on the challenges that remembering our war dead should pose.”  Euan has also written the text of a new Christmas carol, All Saints Carol, with Paul for All Saints Northampton, which was first performed there on 20th December 2015. He is now developing a number of new works for the UK.

Euan’s aim as a librettist is to write words that are a powerful catalyst for music, with strong choral architecture, and which speak in the widest possible way for the spiritual longings of a very diverse society.  I delight in writing for choral composers, and feel there is a growing passion for shared singing among the public, and would love to be there to offer new words for composers to enjoy shaping into their own music.   Please use the contact form for commissions.

QUIET DAYS and OTHER RETREATS:

2018:
Writing to God retreats.

Diocese of Clifton Spiritual Directors’ Retreat (see FEEDBACK tab for exciting responses)
Prinknash Abbey, Gloucestershire, 14th April 2018.

also Douai Abbey, Berkshire 26th-28th October 2018.
The beauty of relating to God is that we are called to speak freely and with utter honesty to Jesus, to open our hearts fully, without fear. Our creative written responses open us up to this life-giving relationship. During this day (Prinknash) or weekend (Douai) we will be exploring how to write prayers, our own versions of psalms, short poems and journal entries: an exciting, creative journey that aims to greatly enrich our own work and vocational life. It is recommended that participants bring an exercise book or laptop, as they prefer.

Euan delivered a Advent Quiet Day for the south Wales Ordinariate groups (9th December 2017, Belmont Abbey), ‘Free and immortal” . exploring our vocations through Scripture, the poetry of Thomas Traherne as set by Finzi in Dies Natalis.

Euan delivered a Quiet Day for St. Nicholas, Fleckney, Leicestershire in April 2016, and continues to lead others. He has led all Quiet Days at Ammerdown in the past, and has led successive Quiet Days for Cursillo groups.

30th June 2017, Belmont Abbey: Celebrating Mass in school: A training day for Catholic teachers.
The training day aimed to enable Catholic educators to open up Catholic teaching on “Communion with the Lord,” “the Real Presence” and “Word Made Flesh” to students here in our Diocese, picking up on themes developed with REC/HRE/Chaplains in recent INSET days. It was designed to illustrate possible methods of helping our students to learn and pray about the key “narrative” of the Mass through 4 elements:
1. Short scripture readings, relevant to each section of the Mass (Kyrie, Gloria etc). 5 mins
2. A short reflection on the meaning of each section and on the piece of music about to be played. 15 mins
3. A playing of the musical setting of the relevant section of the Mass. 15 mins
4. Questions/discussions using key questions. 10 mins.
The aim is to give teachers a set of tools to enable students to develop their understanding and ownership of the meaning of the Mass.

Participants said: “Lots of lovely practical ideas for working with children….I found the day extremely beneficial to me personally. Euan has a beautiful and profound sense of the Eucharist and his love of God and of the liturgy oozes out of him; very infectious. He has focussed on a needful area, viz. helping all of us to internalise the ancient liturgy and so become actively engaged, heart and mind. He gave excellent suggestions on how to introduce and ‘scaffold’ these ideas with the children and the musical selections were great. I think his pupils are very blessed and I would like to see him take a lesson…I found the concept relevant to further attract the children in developing thee processes for themselves, especially in planning Mass. Very relaxing atmosphere. Thanks….Euan presented confidently, with great passion…make an interesting INSET for staff…Thank you for a great experience…fabulous course…a very inspirational day…giving lots of ideas and thoughts…”

PRAYING WITH MUSIC:  MUSIC RETREAT DATES FOR 2016!
I have been invited to 3 new venues, as well as returning again to Belmont and Ammerdown.
Mozart Coronation Mass K 317 (Douai Abbey nr Thatcham 19th -21st February 2016)  Beginning of Lent retreat.
Bach St. John Passion (Llangasty Retreat House, Brecon, 18th- 20th March 2016)  Passiontide retreat.
Finzi Dies Natalis and Intimations of Immortality (Ammerdown nr Radstock 12th -14th August 2016)  Summer retreat
Elgar Dream of Gerontius (Minsteracres Retreat Centre, Consett, Co. Durham 28th – 30th October 2016)  Preparing for All Souls and All Saints’
Mozart Requiem (Belmont Abbey, Hereford 4th – 6th November 2016) All Souls and All Saints’ retreat.
All retreats start on Friday evening and end with Sunday lunch.
Recent participant comments – see Feedback tab
All retreats start on Friday evening and end with Sunday lunch.
Recent participant comments – see Feedback tab