Simple Harmonic Motion: a second album

Emma spent an intense afternoon in Studio Artichoque recording two new arrangements for the next album of the symphonic rock band SHM, Simple Harmonic Motion.

SHM’s last album, Fantasia, was released just before the lockdowns in 2020, with presentation concerts in the Netherlands and France, including the opening concert of the series planned to mark 800 years of Amiens cathedral. Do take a moment to listen to it, for example on Spotify or Apple Music.

Here is a video from Fantasia:

2022-06-14T11:58:56+02:00April 30th, 2022|

Vivaldi in Italy

©Tully Potter Collection

Emma will visit Italy to sing as a guest soloist with soprano Sabine Kirsten, and Holland Concert Choir and Orchestra and Coro Ponchielli Vertova under conductors Nico Hovius and Patrizia Bernelich in concerts in Verona and Crema, with repertoire including Vivaldi’s Gloria and Magnificat.

Tuesday, 26th April, 20:30 – Concert in San Fermo, Verona, Italy: Vivaldi Gloria and Magnificat
Thursday 28th April, 20:00 – Concert in San Bernardino, Crema, Italy: Vivaldi Gloria and Magnificat

2022-06-14T11:56:57+02:00April 24th, 2022|

Singing for the funeral of Alan King

Emma was honoured to record a song for the funeral of British veteran Alan King. Alan was in the East Riding Yeomanry as part of the 27th Armoured Brigade. He was one of the first to land on Sword Beach on D-Day. His life expectancy after landing was one hour. He survived the Battle of Normandy, and advanced through Northern France and took part in the Liberation of the Netherlands. Emma met him during veterans events in France, the Netherlands, and the U.K.

“The Holy City”

Michael Maybrick (as Stephen Adams) (1841-1913)

Frederic Weatherly (1848-1929)

Emma Brown, mezzo-soprano; Anton Doornhein, piano; The Pancras Consort Musical direction: Hans Brons.

2022-02-02T11:23:25+02:00February 6th, 2022|

Mater Tenera – now in print!

Emma’s motet “Mater Tenera” is now available from Edition HH. The editor writes:

Mater Tenera (‘tender mother’) is an intimate six-part motet which would enhance any Advent or Christmas service or choral programme, and would also be suitable for Marian Feasts. The piece is characterized by haunting, lullaby-like motives and harmonies, evoking light coming out of darkness.

This motet was inspired by the children’s rights campaigner Christina Noble, who wrote that ‘one person is enough to make a difference.’ Christina grew up in severe poverty and lived on the streets of Dublin. After a recurring dream, she visited Vietnam and began to care for street children. Today, the Christina Noble Children’s Foundation has helped raise over a million children and adults from poverty.

The video about is the Justinus Ensemble, conducted by Brian Fieldhouse. Producer: Peter Breedijk.

2022-01-26T12:48:41+02:00January 26th, 2022|

Looking back on 2021

2021 was a beautiful year, in spite of all the uncertainties around Covid. I sang in several broadcasts during the lockdown, including the beautiful “Via Crucis” by Franz Liszt together with concert pianist Willem Brons, conductor Brian Fieldhouse (Dutch National Opera and Royal Ballet) and the Justinus Ensemble. When Europe opened up, I sang with an ensemble from the Dutch military (Grenadiers en Jagers) at the Lourdes chapel in Tienray, the Netherlands, performed in France with the combined military orchestras of the Royal Irish Regiment (UK) and Defence Forces Ireland (Ireland), and I made my Austrian debut singing in a mass led by the Bishop of Salzburg.

Perhaps the most moving moments of 2021 were singing at the centenary of the Ulster Tower in France, and for the German Remembrance Day ceremony at a German military cemetery in the Netherlands.

The Ulster Tower is Northern Ireland’s national war memorial. It is in the Somme in Northern France, on land where thousands of young men were killed during the Battle of the Somme in 1916. The tower was officially opened in 1921, so 2021 was its centenary. Because Ireland was not partitioned during the First World War, the organisers of the centenary asked permission for the military orchestras of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland to play together, just as the soldiers had fought together. This was the first time the orchestras collaborated. It was an utter honour to sing with them in the presence of the First Minister of Northern Ireland and various other ambassadors, military attachés, and politicians, both during the ceremony and during a concert in the Basilica in Albert.

For several years, I have sung at the German Remembrance Day ceremony in Ysselsteyn, the Netherlands, initially on the invitation of British Veteran John Sleep, whose mission was to bring about reconciliation and tolerance. John died in early 2021: a very sad time as it was not possible to travel to attend his funeral in person, so instead we recorded some songs in the Netherlands for him. I was really moved to be asked to sing again in Ysselsteyn in John’s absence. It was a particularly moving and confronting ceremony because the Chief Rabbi of the Netherlands was in attendance for the first time. He spoke about the Holocaust and anti-Semitism, which is still an immense challenge for society today: and whilst he felt like a traitor to his people to be standing and praying among the graves of the perpetrators, he was also grateful to have been invited to speak.

Chief Rabbi Jacobs in the German War Cemetery. Photo: Ronald Hartsuiker

There are quite some hesitant plans for 2022 which I dare not share here because of the uncertainty around Covid. They include performances in New York, Arizona, Budapest, Moscow and London. Let’s hope that they can go ahead!

Wishing you a happy and healthy 2022!

2022-01-26T12:49:17+02:00January 25th, 2022|

Rorate Caeli: a new composition for Advent

“Drop down, ye heavens, from above,
and let the skies pour down righteousness.
Let the earth be opened and send forth a Saviour.
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the firmament sheweth his handy-work.”
Due to the new Dutch partial lockdown, today’s Advent Concert of the Leidse Cantorij was cancelled, which meant this composition was not premiered.However, the choir kindly recorded their rehearsal earlier this month and they have allowed me to share their second rehearsal.
I hope you enjoy this composition!
Wishing you a safe, healthy, and happy final week of Advent, and many Christmas blessings!
2021-12-20T15:39:58+02:00December 20th, 2021|

An interview on BBC Radio 4

Emma was delighted to have been interviewed for BBC Radio 4’s Sunday Programme, together with composer Thomas Hewitt Jones. The Sunday Programme focuses on contemporary religious and ethical questions, both serious and light. This week’s programme investigated Christmas music. I hope you enjoy the short extract!

2021-12-12T11:09:13+02:00December 12th, 2021|