An Anthology Of All Things
An Anthology of All Things was commissioned by Bedford Creative Arts in 2012. Alongside composer Johnny Parry they formed the Bedford Arts Choir to perform his composition. The Johnny Parry Chamber Orchestra and soloist Donna Lennard joined the choir to premiere the piece at the Bedford Corn Exchange, this was followed by a recording which was finished in 2014. […]
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An Anthology of All Things was commissioned by Bedford Creative Arts in 2012. Alongside composer Johnny Parry they formed the Bedford Arts Choir to perform his composition. The Johnny Parry Chamber Orchestra and soloist Donna Lennard joined the choir to premiere the piece at the Bedford Corn Exchange, this was followed by a recording which was finished in 2014.
“The most beautiful piece of music you will hear all year.” Monocule
Listed by Classical Editor in the Guardian by as one of the top ten albums of the year.
“A great advert for the power of music to unite, entertain and communicate… an utter triumph.” Listen With Monger
“Think the Polyphonic Spree veering with more mournful and the majestic orchestration and you’ll be homing in on the heart beat of his sound.” PRS magazine
Two years later this recording found it way in to the hands of Bremen University, who commissioned Johnny to re-compose the orchestral part for their much larger Symphony Orchestra & Choir. The German University, with choir Mistress and conductor Dr. Susanne Gleass at the helm, invited the Bedford choir & soloist Donna Lennard to take part in an exchange where both the choirs and the Bremen orchestra performed the work in Bremen and then in Oxford & Bedford early 2017.
To create the text for the piece hundreds of members of the public were approached to donate something unique about themselves relating to the themes of the movements. Johnny used these donations to create the text for THE MOVEMENTS…
MVT I Things I Like About Myself
We can be so aware of our flaws that to surrender something we actually respect about our selves can be a little harder. The donations for this movement varied from the superficial to something quiet grand.
MVT II Song For Someone
This takes individual lines from songwriters and poets that Johnny knows, where the author mentions a specific name. Wether they refer to a real person or an imagined character, the names mentioned in songs and poetry offer a glimpse into the artist’s lives.
MVT III Childhood Heroes
Collecting the lyrics for this movement were mostly via schools and playgroups. We ask the children to first think of their hero, someone they know or maybe a fictional character. Then we ask them to describe the hero they choose. It is that description that is used verbatim to create the text.
MVT IV 1942
We had the difficult job of finding people who could access a tangible memory from 1942. Seventy years before the piece was written. Regular fleeting memories, again mostly relating to childhood, but unlike the previous movement they are inflected with the turmoil of the time and regaled with the nuance of the many decades between then and now.
MVT V Park Benches
An anomaly in the movements as the text was collected through field work rather than direct interaction. These are the epitaphs of lost ones found on the benches of the river Ouse. The choir speaks the factual details of dates and names whilst the soprano soloist sings the personalised text also inscribed on the plaques.
MVT VI Romantic Statements
Form the sentimental to the risqué, from a grand statement of love to a running joke between you and your partner. Romantic statements can be among the most memorable words we utter or receive. As a sub section of the donations we invited the public to also give us a romantic metaphor that they can relate to based on the structure ‘I am your ???, You are my ???’
MVT VIII Pilgrimage
The journeys we take can be extremely significant. However the lyrics for this movement were removed of context, leaving only three simple facts; where a memorable journey began, ended and how you travelled. These potentially insignificant snippets of information still contain with in them the seeds for a complete and powerful narrative. The donations were strung together to make a singular epic journey.