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Will Todd: Angel Song II

Will Todd was born and brought up in north-east England and studied composition from an early age. His output includes opera, musicals, oratorio and orchestral works, and he has had associations with groups including the Sixteen, the BBC Singers and English and Welsh national operas.

He writes: “Angel Song II is inspired by the idea of angels singing on Christmas night. The music weaves a gentle melody over the aleatoric textures of the accompanying voices. The text is designed to create the echo of the word ‘hosanna’, but with no consonants, so the music feels as if it comes from ‘on high’.”

This work was written in 2005 for the Vasari Singers. The “aleatoric textures” to which the composer refers means that at several moments both he and the conductor leave decisions about the length of some notes to individual singers. There are guidelines but few rules, and each singer within a part is expected to come to a different decision from their neighbours. Every performance of this work is thus subtly different, and the whole shimmers with “jewel-line tone clusters”.

Recorded on 23rd June 2012 at St Barnabas Church, Ealing, London W5

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