Christmas Overture for Electric Violin & Minster Organ
On 6th December, a special event took place at York Minster. The Manor CE Academy 'Nine Lessons and Carols' event about 'The Light' was directed by Dave Lowe and featured a variety of new arrangements scored specially for the evening. The music for this event was led by the Manor Concert Orchestra, Multi-part choir 'Voices' and the Manor Community Choir along with soloists and Minster Director of Music, Robert Sharpe.
As it was the final of five Christmas Minster services for talented Year 11 violinist Eleanor March, it was decided that a new processional would be scored for her to play. Eleanor collaborated in the development of the work and performed it with Robert Sharpe.
The composition was developed specifically for the incredible acoustics of York Minster. The concept of using the Electric Violin was based on requiring the combination of the awesome power of the Minster Organ together with the gentle beauty and 'sweet' tone of the Violin. A combination that, at the required audio level, would normally be uncontrollable with an acoustic violin and microphone, due to the natural feedback produced. The composition team decided on the following brief as focus when developing the music. "Our starting point was the theme of the service 'Light'. We've also considered aspects in the music to describe a rich, royal, bright and celebratory image as well as a more reflective contrast. We've talked about the music having a complexity, using bell-like scales, sequences, canonic/fugal writing to represent greatness as well as intricate or delicate details (movt. of inner voices) to portray the simplicity in the Christmas story. The harmony has a focus on warmth to represent the light".