St Swithun’s choir sing Responses composed for them by Alexander L’Estrange

03 Mar 2014

Last week the choir of St Swithun’s School, Winchester performed a newly commissioned set of Preces and Responses by renowned choral composer Alexander L’Estrange at Evensong in Winchester Cathedral.

Director of music at the all-girls school, Mrs YiRu Hall, commissioned the work from the composer which was sung  by 70 girls between the ages of 14 and 18, many of whom are experienced choral singers.  Mrs Hall asked Alexander to write a set of Preces and Responses to suit these developing teenage voices. She was delighted with the result stating “He has produced a beautiful set of musical sentences, each with its own distinctive musical flavour, with added note chords which tingle and float away in the acoustic of the cathedral. We look forward to singing them regularly in the cathedral from now on”.

The choir enjoyed a workshop with Alexander L’Estrange before the service, learning about his approach to the text and especially his thoughts about his setting of the Lord’s Prayer.

Alexander said “I was delighted to be asked to write a new set of Responses for such a fine all-girls choir and it was an added privilege to be invited to work with the girls and rehearse them. They made a lovely rich sound with excellent intonation, and responded well to the different nuances, moods and tempi required. I look forward hugely to performing “Ahoy! Sing for the Mary Rose” with the school next March. “


Photo: Alexander l’Estrange with (from left) Mrs YiRu Hall and sixth students Emma Exton, Alice Ceiriog-Hughes and Georgina Moffat