Invocation: A Rhapsody for Trumpet and Mixed Choir

Research output: Non-textual formComposition


Invocation was written for the Choir of The Queen’s College, Oxford and represents the culmination of my time as a research fellow at the college, and my time working closely with the choir. It is the third work I have written for the choir, the first being an anthem Wither Thou Goest and the second being a setting of the college Grace (both written in 2008).

The work was written for the summer concert, traditionally a lighter affair then the Christmas and Easter concerts, and this directly affected both my choice of text and musical materials for the piece. I had long been a fan of Edward Thomas’s evocative poem, Adlestrop with its dreamy pastoral feel invoking the very essence of a sultry English country afternoon. The poem seemed a natural choice to set, not least because of the summer theme but also because it mentions the two counties that I have spent the last seven years in, Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire. It is also about a disused railway station – one of my more anorakish hobbies.

I wanted the work to further emphasise the link with everything we might class as a stereotypical English country afternoon – cricket on the green, church bells, birdsong and warm beer – all the things we might sneer as being the mythical ‘middle-England’. My work in no way tries to depict this, rather to distil the essence of this feeling – it is a rhapsody on a theme of quaint English country life, the kind of life men went to war to preserve and something very different to the more rugged landscape I grew up with in the Lake District. I called the work Invocation, because it is precisely that, a spell or charm, something that bewitches the listener and that I hope stays long in the mind, rather like Adlestrop or indeed Adlestrop itself.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2011


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