13th January: Last week’s top re-entries The Classical Album and The 50 Greatest Pieces of Classical Music switch around, at no. 1 and no. 2, and Renée Fleming’s new album is the highest new entry at no. 8.
Don Monro, the founder member of The Really Big Chorus, has spoken to Classic FM of their next project – a new piece of music specifically written to celebrate the 2012 Olympic Games.
Britain’s largest choral society, it’s made up of members from hundreds of different choirs as well as individual singers. Meeting three times a year at the Royal Albert Hall, its forthcoming concert on July 8 will see The Really Big Chorus performing Karl Jenkins’ new piece, Gods of Olympus.
“It’s the second time we’ve commissioned a piece from Karl Jenkins,” Monro tells Classic FM. “The first one was the Gloria two years ago and that was very, very successful. So in this Olympic year we wanted to pay our own kind of tribute to the Olympics and we commissioned something from him to celebrate. We’re just about as close the Olympics as you can get so of course we’re looking forward to getting together and singing something exciting.”
Speaking of the creative process involved in bringing the music to fruition, Monro confirms that concepts were exchanged between him and Jenkins. “There were some ideas flying back and forth about what it should be but it was him who settled on this particular theme which was to express in music several of the gods which inhabit Mount Olympus,” he explains.
Discussing why he likes to work with Jenkins, Monro reveals that it’s the composer inclusive attitude to music that he finds so appealing.
“He is the most performed living composer,” states Monro. “I think basically it’s because his works are on the populist side. He came up through a series of projects in the popular world making music for advertising and so on and then he worked his way through the classical music world… there’s always the popular touch. He has an amazing way to come through. We like that and our members like that.”
In addition to celebrating the Olympian ideals, the performance also has a more serious side to it as it sets out to raise money for the National Autistic Society.
Though the cause has important overtones, the way to raise funds should prove to be highly amusing and not a little memorable. “We’re going to hold a little auction,” Monro explains. “The first piece on the programme that night will be the London Suite by Eric Coates and one of the movements, the Knightsbridge March… was featured on the Queen’s Jubilee Celebration CD.
“We’re going to hold an auction during the interval of that concert and the winner will get the baton that was used on the world premier of Karl Jenkins’ Gods of Olympus. The winner will also use that baton to conduct the Knightsbridge March right after the interval in the Royal Albert Hall. We’re going to be making a live burn CD of the night so the winner will also be featured on that.”
With such an excellent prize on offer, it’s difficult to see how much more memorable the evening can be.
Listen to the full interview with Don Monro below.
Picture: Don Monro