As 2023 begins, Rob is pleased to be able to look back on a record year for performances of his compositions.
In September, the composer himself gave the first performance of his own Four Piano Miniatures at Parish Musicians in Concert, at St Mary’s, Prescot. A short time later, the choir sang Rob’s Glory, Love, and Praise, and Honour as its Harvest anthem and God So Loved the World for the Feast of All Souls.
The year later saw the first performance of the solo piano piece Departure (2009) at St Edward’s College, and in October, the combined choirs of Liverpool Cathedral sang the SATB version of Jubilate Deo. Stephen Mannings conducted Liverpool Cathedral Choir, Liverpool Cathedral Junior Choir, the Gilbert Scott Singers and Liverpool 64, with Matthew Breen on the organ, and Ian Wells and Daniel Bishop on percussion. The occasion was the launch of the cathedral’s new Liturgy and Music Foundation, with keynote speech by composer and LAMF Honorary President Will Todd. Listen to the stunning performance below:
Rob’s newest composition experienced something of a mini-tour in late 2022. The Little Child, for solo voice and piano, set text by Laurie Twinam to the traditional folk tune Barbara Allen, and was heard by a combined audience of over 800. These performances encompassed an array of different settings and accompanists: Venues were Liverpool Cathedral, Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, All Hallows’ Church, Allerton, and St Mary’s, Prescot; soloists were David Kernick, Abigail Birch-Price and Hannah, of the Metropolitan Cathedral Choir; and accompanists were Stephen Mannings and Rob himself. The occasions were variously lunchtime and evening concerts at the cathedrals, and a combination of orchestral and choral concerts and services at parish churches. The recording below was made at the Mayor of Prescot’s Christmas Concert in December:
The score is now available from Sheet Music Plus, along with other sheet music for Rob’s compositions, as well as audio and score previews.
Rob continues to be as busy as ever, playing bassoon for Liverpool Mozart Orchestra and Liverpool Bach Collective throughout 2022 and an enjoying a packed schedule in December, conducting Christmas concerts with Phoenix Concert Orchestra at St Mary’s, West Derby, South Liverpool Orchestra at All Hallows’, Allerton, and the three orchestras (plus choirs) of St Edward’s College. It has been rewarding to see audience numbers return to pre-pandemic levels – and better!
As Associate Director of Prescot Parish Church Choir, Rob conducted several services over the Advent and Christmas season, including carol services and Midnight Mass. He organised two fundraising concerts at the church in late 2022. At Parish Musicians in Concert in September, he both accompanied on piano and gave solos on bassoon and violin, along with other artists from the church, helping raise over £500 towards parish funds. The Mayor of Prescot’s Charity Christmas Concert likewise attracted donations of £500+ for the mayor’s chosen good causes, and an audience of more than 300 enjoyed festive contributions from Prescot Parish Church Choir, St Mary & St Paul’s CE Primary School Choir and Bluebell Park School Makaton Signing Choir (photo: Alan Humphreys).
The coming year promises the same and more, with the 19th Annual Prescot Festival of Music & the Arts already on the horizon for Friday 16 to Sunday 25 June. The festival always welcomes new Friends of the Festival: Just come along to a meeting, where you can hear news, share views and volunteers your time and talents. Dates and times of all 2023 meetings are now online at prescotfestival.co.uk.