IN THEIR OWN WORDS…

Discussion with a Retreatant

COMPOSER FEEDBACK

                (from my LinkedIn profile)

Amy Bebbington

Choral director.  August 24, 2020

Amy commissioned a choral work for a conductors’ competition.

The London Choral Conducting Competition (of which I am a co-founder), commissioned Euan to write a poem to be set by our commissioned composer (Janet Wheeler). The original reason for reaching out to Euan was because of his wonderful collaborations with other composers (such as Kim Andre Arnesen). The Cries of Music was written overnight and it’s length and textual content perfectly delivered the brief. Janet and the LICCC were thrilled to have such an emotionally crafted and exquisitely shaped poem to work with and present. We were delighted with the overall result, and every choir and competitor enjoyed working on, and performing, The Cries of Music, with its effective marriage of text and music. (A recording can be found on YouTube). I would heartily recommend Euan who was very easy to communicate with, and efficient in producing great quality work. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend him to others.

Sebastian Field

Countertenor and Liberal Democrat Councillor.  August 22, 2020

Sebastian  commissioned a cantata text from Euan.

Euan wrote the libretto for the 2018 project A Kindertransport Journey. He was highly communicative, quick to produce the material, and the end result was a work of great beauty and poignancy.
Would highly recommend!

Dominic McGonigal

Entrepreneur, Director, Composer – Chair of C8 Associates.   August 19, 2020, Dominic worked with Euan several short choral works

Euan Tait has been an inspiration since we started collaborating three years ago. At the time, I was struggling with a commission for Philomel’s inaugural concert. After a few creative chats, Euan produced the words for Night Song overnight and the music was written within a few days. It was hugely popular both with the singers and the audience. We have gone on to create several other pieces for choirs, vocal ensembles and solo voice – Rhythm Herd (Four Sopranos and Alto Recorder), Birth In A City Park (SATB), Mathilde (Soprano and String Quartet), I Carry The Light (SSAA). I like to have a text that can be used in small phrases, creating musical material that is ripe for development. Euan always delivers with words that are rich in meaning and inspiring to work with musically. Our collaboration is ongoing and long may it continue.

Michael Cryne

Award-winning composer for concert hall, film, game and library. Lecturer in Lecturer in Music and Audio Production.  August 18, 2020.

Michael worked with Euan on several short choral works.

I’ve collaborated with Euan several times in the past, on several pieces for choir, and very much hope to do so again. His words stand on their own, yet constantly inspire musical settings and I love working with his texts. A hugely inspiring colleague.

Janet Wheeler

Conductor and Composer.  August 17, 202.

Janet worked with Euan on a conductors’ competition commission.

I was delighted to have the chance to work with Euan to produce a set piece for the final of the inaugural London International Choral Conducting Competition in 2018. Before he became involved, I had spent a considerable time looking for suitable existing words to set – to no avail. Amy Bebbington, one of the founders of the competition, suggested they could commission Euan to produce new words specifically for the piece and no sooner had he been approached than Euan must have sprung into immediate creative action. In seemingly no time at all I was reading a most marvellous poem, which simply leapt off the page asking to be set to music. Euan had produced something which went to the core and truth of what choral music means to people, at different stages of life and different stages of choral experience. At the same time his words were ideal for music setting. The rhythms of the poetry, the images, the musicality of the language and an overall structure with an in-built trajectory made it a joy to infuse the words with my music. The words were truly an inspiration and the result was The Cries of Music which you can hear at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F97ZnCU7WOc

Euan is a gifted librettist. I have no hesitation at all in recommending him for the quality and inspiration of his deeply-felt response to the brief. Its promptness was an added bonus and his enthusiasm for the whole project made the collaboration a joy.

Michael Harrison

Director.  August 17, 2020.

Michael commissioned a cantata libretto from Euan.

Inspiration and empathy are parts of Euan’s very DNA . The Gathered Together Project brings new light and renders an entirely fresh perspective on a Renaissance masterwork ,Piero Della Francesca’s Flagellation of Christ profoundly moved by the work and the interpretation , Euan has now delivered the text for the seven part Gathered Together Cantata , a work truly inspirational in its conception conveying both compassion for the personages portrayed and the empathy so sorely needed in these troubled times. I am so grateful that Euan has been instrumental in bringing this Project to a fuller realisation.

Paul Spicer

Choral conductor, conducting teacher, composer and author.  August 15, 2020,

Paul worked with Euan on a choral symphony.

2014 was one of the most significant years of my life as a project commissioned by the Birmingham Bach Choir came to fruition. This was a choral symphony called ‘Unfinished Remembering’ commemorating the centenary of the start of the First World War to a fantastic libretto by Euan Tait. Being a musician himself, Euan understands intuitively what a composer needs, and where adjustments need to be made his extraordinarily fertile imagination comes up with brilliant alternatives. I needed him to almost completely re-write the final movement because of mood issues and he came up with a remarkable solution very quickly. It was a very happy and fruitful partnership and the outcome was one of the most memorable nights of my life and career. I would recommend Euan to anyone who is looking for a creative librettist on whatever scale – large or small. He is delightful man and wonderfully easy to work with. I know he has had very successful partnerships with other composers in different parts of the world and I am sure they will endorse everything I have written here.

Chris Hutchings

Web Manager at KTN: Choral composer at hutchingsmusic.co.uk.  August 15, 2020.   

Chris worked with Euan on several short choral works.

I’ve worked with Euan as a composer on several projects and hope to do more in the future. “We Are One Voice” was commissioned for the Beaconsfield Choir Festival and was sung by several choirs over the course of the Festival, and “Anna, Surprised” was premiered by a church in Denver: both have been extremely well received and I’m looking forward to writing music for many more of Euan’s words in future!

Tyler Welton-Stewart

Independent Musicologist.  May 20, 2020

Tyler was Euan’s clientMay 20, 2020, Tyler worked with Euan a a song cycle.

Euan is a truly inspiring colleague, utterly devoted to fostering creativity, determination, and a hard working attitude. It has been an absolute pleasure, and privilege to collaborate with a poet who’s words flood from the page and lend themselves so honestly, and beautifully to music making. Euan’s professional attitude lies at the heart of a deeply caring person who works exceptionally hard to see those around him succeed. I look forward to working with him a great deal more in future.

2018:

Douai Abbey: Retreat (29th March -1st April) Handel Messiah – mainly concentrating on Parts 2 and 3.

“Excellent speaker, with deep insights into the spiritual message of Easter…what a delight to have Euan run it…very interesting, highly knowledgeable, good new insights…fascinating content, gently and inspiringly presented and linked to the season…a lot covered in a gentle way.  I appreciate a different way of looking…Euan guided us through the Easter story passionately (but gently), using Handel’s ‘Messiah’ as a conduit, and embroidered his own beautiful poetry…I found it really helpful using Handel’s ‘Messiah’ to explain the Easter message…I would like to come to hear Euan Tait again very soon…lovely blend of fact with spiritual insight.  He led us beautifully into contact with God and ourselves…excellent talks, just the right number and length…”

Clifton Diocese Spiritual Directors’ Day (Prinknash Abbey, 14th April 2018)

“You made sense of journaling for the first time for me.  Thank you….using the Psalms as  a conversation with God is great.  It was a new release in journaling… It was just what I needed at this time.  The journey of the Mass was wonderful…touched by encouraging us to be real…very moving choice of music and words.  Also helpful sharing of experience – difficulty of caring – very reassuring. Love of the Mass and the beauty of the liturgy profoundly expressed and shared…from the heart to the heart…a very relaxing and nourishing day.  I liked the way you spoke so much from the heart.  I’m going to suggest that we invite you…a lovely blend of journaling creatively and honestly, and times of reflection in the music. more than I hoped for and has deepened my understanding of journaling. So true and heartfelt…an extremely thoughtful and learned man with such a passion for words and msuic and opening up closed souls -the sun shone in!”
2016 feedback from different participants and events:

“I absolutely loved [it]…I found it superb! I wish I could have a copy of your script…such a store of positivity for me. The way you declaimed the scriptures was wonderful – it was like hearing them for the first time….amazing. Loved the idea of being a ‘map of the heart’, loved the knowledge of the history of the musical scene…carefully researched…deepening appreciation of the Mozart Requiem…you uncovered layers of depth, where the soul could go…I have enjoyed and felt enriched by Euan’s course…real depth and insight, the result of patient preparation…has introduced me to layers of meaning…informative and enjoyable, a deep spirituality…combination of emotional content of the music with St. John’s Gospel was unusual and very rewarding…Herzlichen danke!”

LIBRETTI:

Feedback from performers:

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.”

2015:

“An excellent understanding of the music & sensitivity to & empathy of the subject – heartfelt…”A whole new way of listening.”  “Meticulously prepared and presented….” “The course was inspirational and life affirming.  Euan’s personality and style – his compassion, integrity and yet light touch have made it a memorable weekend – the best ever at Ammerdown.”  “Provided a stimulating and challenging approach giving a deep insight…”

2014:

Dear Euan,

On behalf of the Parish of Chepstow, I should like to commend you for the Quiet Day which was organised and led by you at St. Mary’s Priory, Chepstow on Holy Saturday.
As feedback I should like to make the following observations about the day:

The ancient Priory Church had been prepared in advance in a way which lent itself well to the monastic history of the church. Stations were carefully situated throughout the building to give space and opportunities for prayer and reflection. The themes at each station led the participants on a journey around the central theme of the day ‘Called by Jesus’. These prayerful spaces were each accompanied by thought provoking visual aids to draw us into a theme for contemplation. They were placed in a way that created sacred spaces which were sensitive to the particular chosen areas of the church building.

The day allowed each person to choose how much or how little they wished to partici- pate in. However the high points of the day were the ‘Waymark’ talks which took place between the times for quiet reflection. Euan Tait has a special way of drawing you into a place of deep refection as he develops his theme throughout the day, allowing each per- son to reach their own level of contemplation.

The day was also complemented by an art workshop where Bible texts were chosen to create imaginative stations of the cross, which were then assembled and painted.
We all benefited from the way in which Euan led this Quiet Day on this most holy of days as we were drawn into the mystery of the Vigil of the Resurrection. He is without doubt the most sensitive and inspiring leader of a Retreat that I have ever encountered.
Our heartfelt thanks go to you from the Parish of Chepstow,
Yours in our Lord’s service, Revd. Christopher Blanchard. Vicar of Chepstow, 7th May 2014

2013:

“Superb presentation at the right pace. Well written aims to meditation and thought….The soft, seated delivery is right as the subject dealt at times with emotive feelings…Excellent preparation & printed guidelines, spoke clearly, friendly and approachable…Offered the retreat as our own time – to do and join in or not. Relaxed and easy to talk to at the meeting time before starting. Pictures (or one) very helpful…Good pictorial helps. Talks on paper to take away. Gentle simple but incisive talks in lovely language. Gentle humour helpful. Advent song gorgeous. Euan’s joining as ‘one of us’ during the course meals etc much appreciated…Spoke clearly and slowly…Very well prepared. The materials are excellent and will be useful to think and meditate on over the Advent season…The pictures are inspirational and the questions thought provoking…Gave a lot of food for thought and time for reflection after each talk…I found the presentation helpful, prayerful, relaxing and meaningful…Speaking slowly and with conviction, making it all sound simple…Far exceeded my expectations, beautifully led and the right level and pace for me. I liked the handouts to refer to afterwards and will help me when I go home…Spoke slowly, was clear in his presentation, both verbal and visual. Material was useful during the day, also to take home when more time to study scripture. Session before lunch very helpful to me at the present time./Good quality presentation and materials.”