'I wanted to make the collection as flexible as possible so that choirs aren’t put off because they don’t have instruments or enough singers. They can adjust the music and make it suitable for the particular resources they have available' Margaret Rizza.
Officium Divinum as an idea was conceived by Tim Ruffer, Head of Publishing at the RSCM. While exploring projects, he came up with the inspiring idea of composing music for the four periods of daily prayer: Morning, Midday, Evening and Night Prayer from the ‘Common Worship, Daily Prayer’. Being invited to write music for these prayers was daunting but simultaneously I found it such an exciting and wonderful project to work on.
Being a late-comer to composition, writing music has been a struggle. I have always been attracted to and influenced by the Gregorian and Taizé chants, both of which have echoes in my music. The simplicity of the chant allows words which begin in the mind to become, through repetition, prayer in the heart.
Some of my music has been used to accompany retreats, healing services, prayer groups and it is used often in hospitals and hospices as an aid bringing comfort and prayer to those who are undergoing life-changing experiences. I have received such moving letters from people who are having to cope with terminal illnesses; those undergoing long periods of depression and even those in prison who heard the music by chance. I feel humbled and grateful to be in touch with people in this way.
The four days recording this album in the beautiful Portsmouth Cathedral were memorable and I want to convey huge thanks to Convivium Singers and the instrumentalists for their strong performances under the inspirational direction of Eamonn Dougan. I was also so grateful for the input which David Price gave on the organ. He put onto the bones of my music great variety and vibrant colours adding a new richness and depth to the diverse compositions.
I have been blessed since 2009 to have had the opportunity to write for the RSCM, an institution which I admire so much. They promote and make available not only amazing educational projects and music suited to big cathedral choirs but also music for parish choirs with limited resources. It is for this type of choir that perhaps some of my music is best suited.
Conductor: Eamonn Dougan Organist: David Price With Convivium Singers
'The performances from Eamonn Dougan and the Convivium Singers are glorious, and listening to the CD was a great pleasure for the finely shaped, flexible and beautifully focussed performance. They give the music the care which it deserves. They are, I think, a young choir and this shows in the freshness and appealing beauty of tone. Dougan draws fine performances from his singers and they are well supported by organist David Price and the other instrumentalists.
If your taste runs to John Rutter and English music, and you are looking for something which is musical, melodic and finely sung then look no further.'
Review - Robert Hugill - A World of Classical Music