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Michael Walsh
1948 -
Great Britain, England
M. Walsh
Michael Walsh (1948) an English singer and composer. Michael Walsh studied singing and organ at the RSCM and Trinity College of Music where he was awarded prizes for choir training, conducting and research. His main performing interest has always been in sacred music and, after eighteen years as Head of Music at a large comprehensive school and nearly thirty years as a Lay Clerk in Chichester and Portsmouth Cathedral Choirs, he now divides his time between working as a freelance musician and as the owner of The Better Book Company, a publishing company based in Chichester. He was associated with the St. Richard Singers of Chichester for over 40 years (23 as Conductor), and currently sings with the chamber choir Chichester Voices, to whom he is chairman and composer-in-residence. He was Artistic Director and Conductor of the Chichester Symphony Orchestra and for almost 35 years was Musical Director of the Chichester Amateur Operatic Society. In 2016 he was appointed Principal of the National College of Music and Arts, London. He is the General Secretary of the Guild of Church Musicians and has been Editor of their magazine Laudate for over 70 issues. Michael is an Honorary Fellow of St Paul's College, Sydney and was elected an Honorary Academician of the Pontificia Accademía Tiberina, Rome in 2016.
Period:21st century
Composed in:2015
Musical form:mass
Text/libretto:Latin mass
Label(s):Willowhayne Records WHR 049
Requiem (2018).
This work reflects the gentle character of the composer's style, steeped through nearly thirty years of singing in English Cathedrals. Performer: Louise Hardy (Soprano), Timothy Parsons (Organ), Julian Rippon (Baritone), Ellen Williams (Soprano)
Conductor: Matthew Cann
Orchestra/Ensemble: Antiphon, Antiphon Players
However, the main work here is the Requiem for two soprano soloists, baritone solo, organ and SATB, written for the Bournemouth International Church Music Festival. In his very brief composer’s notes, Walsh comments that the work has “compact dimensions” and was “deliberately conceived… to be an homage to other great Requiems…Fauré, Duruflé and even Mozart”. Well, at forty-two minutes I don’t think it is particularly compact; indeed, the ‘Offertorium’ and ‘Pie Jesu’ seem rather prolix given the musical material employed. Fauré’s influence is clear in the way that the ‘Agnus Dei’ begins with the men’s voices, and in the rhythm of ‘Libera Me’ for the bass soloist. A nod to Mozart can be heard in the somewhat contrived fugal writing especially in the ‘Offertorium’ and the baroque opening of the ‘Rex tremendae’; Duruflé is less apparent, but the melodic lines often tend towards a plainchant-like modality. There are also passages of almost Edwardian grandeur which would have pleased Stanford and Parry. So where is the real Michael Walsh? Perhaps it is in the calm, heart-easing of ‘In Paradisum’ and the unpretentious, very English setting of the opening ‘Kyrie,’ but overall I found this stylistic disparity unsatisfactory. The soloists are committed and the sopranos have a transparent, rounded tone quality, but the vibrato of bass Julian Rippon can sometimes be obtrusive. Organist Timothy Parsons supports perfectly and is well balanced in the recording.