Turning Points – Music & Politics

Turning Points (2015)
Fantasia upon a suffragist song by Sir Hubert Parry

For choirs, children’s choir, STB soloists, one or two pianos, electric guitars, brass band, organ & orchestra.

The words selected and the music composed by
David Owen Norris

Duration: forty minutes

Celebrating the values of Democracy, Turning Points is a piece for many occasions, of private rejoicing or of public solemnity, at any time, and (its eclectic libretto being drawn from French, German & American sources as well as British) in any country.

A performance took place on February 4th 2017 in Winchester Cathedral, with the Waynflete Singers, Southampton University Symphony Orchestra, and the musicians of the Hampshire County Youth Service. The recording of the complete performance will be put up on the University of Southampton website shortly.

Turning Points is featured in the University of Southampton’s online course on Agincourt.

You can see part of the video here.

Here’s an extract from the premiere performance of the Malala movement.

Turning Points was performed three times in the autumn of 2015, in St Mary’s Church Southampton, with the University Orchestra and Brass Band, in St Matthew’s Northampton with the students of the Northampton Music and Performing Arts Trust, and in St Paul’s Covent Garden with the Orchestra of St Paul’s, the New London Chamber Choir, and the Children’s Choir of St John the Divine, Kennington. The performances were supported financially by the Agincourt 600 Committee.

Here’s the last two minutes of the premiere performance, where three tunes come together – the Agincourt March, A Man’s a man for a’ that, and the Parry song on which the whole piece is founded.

Professor Anne Curry, Dean of Humanities at the University of Southampton, reports on the concert on February 4th 2017 where some three hundred singers and players gave the fourth performance of Turning Points:

‘Congratulations to Professor David Owen Norris for inspiring and organising a splendid event in Winchester Cathedral on Saturday 4 February in aid of the Mayor of Winchester’s charities.

‘The event, performed to an audience which almost filled the whole cathedral, was a great example of community involvement, with the Hampshire County Youth Training Choice, Hampshire County Youth Band, Gosport and Fareham Youth Orchestra Strings, and Guitarists from the Hampshire Music Service performing alongside our excellent Southampton University Symphony Orchestra, the Waynflete Singers, George Castle, Assistant Director of Music at Winchester Cathedral, and professional soloists [Kimberley Raw, Mark Wilde, Ashley Riches].

‘The programme included Charlotte, Princess of Wales ‘Lord Wellington’s March’, which is to be found in the Wellington papers at the University of Southampton, Beethoven’s ‘Battle of Vittoria’, the Winchester Festival Fanfare written by Jock McKenzie, director of the Hampshire County Youth Band, and David Owen Norris’s own composition, Turning Points (2015).

Turning Points is a celebration of democracy with special references to the events of 1215 (Magna Carta), 1415 (Agincourt) and 1815 (Waterloo), commissioned in 2015 by Agincourt 600. But it brings in the Suffragettes (David had the whole audience singing a Suffragist song by Hubert Parry, ‘Keep on looking for the bright skies’), Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln and Malala.

‘I was delighted to be present at such a stimulating and excellent event. Thanks to David for all his energy and ability to bring people together in music, as well as demonstrating the impact of his own research, composition and conducting.

‘We are hoping to put Turning Points onto the Agincourt 600 website (soon to be hosted by the University) before too long so those not able to have heard it in Winchester or in its 2015 performances in Southampton and London will be able to hear it. We will also put up the beautifully chosen text.’

Click LyonTurningPoints for James Lyon’s write-up of the occasion.

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