This is not the first time Leith Hill Musical Festival has commissioned a new work, or indeed the first time we have commissioned Bob Chilcott, one of the world’s most widely performed composers of choral music, but Dances of Time marks a very special landmark: Brian Kay’s 20th year as Festival Conductor in 2015. The commission is our gift to Brian with our thanks and appreciation for his dedication, hard work and tireless promotion. It is a chance for us recognise our achievements under his direction and leadership.
Dances of Time is a secular SATB piece of five movements with orchestral accompaniment and is published by Oxford University Press. The texts come from a variety of sources, leading the singers through celebration of good company using King Henry VIII's Pastime with good company, making the most of Today with words from Thomas Carlyle, through to advice on giving all you can to life from Sara Teasdale in the final movement: Life has loveliness to sell.
In order that all the choirs and independent singers who are members of the Festival could join together in singing the piece for which so many had generously contributed, we held a workshop in September 2014, led by Bob and Brian, which was attended by around three hundred singers.
We hope that choirs around the world will want to perform Dances of Time too and, in the process, learn a little about the Festival and our rich heritage. The conductor's score and parts are now available to hire from Oxford University Press.