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Hear Debbie Wiseman’s cello and piano piece celebrating ‘better times ahead’

31 December 2020, 15:30 | Updated: 1 January 2021, 08:57

Classic FM’s Composer in Residence says Happy New Year with the new piece, ‘A Lustre to this Day’ – recently recorded by cellist Steven Isserlis.

Classic FM’s Composer in Residence, Debbie Wiseman, has written a new piece of music for the new year, dedicated to looking to the future with the “hope of better times to come”.

The work, A Lustre to this Day, is for cello and piano, and is inspired by the life of Queen Anne. You can listen to the full piece in the video above.

Cellist Steven Isserlis, and pianist Mishka Rushdie Momen recorded the piece at Abbey Road Studios at the end of 2020, and the radio premiere was on Classic FM’s More Music Breakfast at 8.30am on Friday 1 January 2021.

Read more: Debbie Wiseman writes a special piece for Classic FM listeners during lockdown >

Cellist Steven Isserlis and pianist Mishka Rushdie Momen perform Debbie Wiseman’s ‘A Lustre to this Day’
Cellist Steven Isserlis and pianist Mishka Rushdie Momen perform Debbie Wiseman’s ‘A Lustre to this Day’. Picture: Joanna Bergin

“I wanted to compose something inspiring to start the New Year on an uplifting, optimistic note,” Wiseman tells Classic FM. “I was in the middle of writing an album I’m working on about kings and queens of England. I thought that the melody I’d written for Queen Anne could work really well on the cello – and I was thrilled that Steven Isserlis agreed to play for me.”

The title of Wiseman’s chamber work is based on the libretto of Baroque composer Handel’s Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne, which was penned by Ambrose Philips. And the title itself comes from the following verse:

Eternal source of light divine
With double warmth thy beams display
And with distinguished glory shine
To add a lustre to this day

“Queen Anne was strong-minded and artistic,” Wiseman tells us. “She experienced triumph and tragedy; she was able to impose her will and she looked to the future – as we look to our own future on New Year’s Day with renewed hope of better times ahead.”

Click here to catch up with Classic FM’s More Music Breakfast on Global Player, the official Classic FM app.

Photo by Joanna Bergin