Saturday, April 18, 2015

Nigel Williams...

It is always nice to be spoilt, or given unique and thoughtful gifts. For my birthday this year Peter commissioned a choral work for me, based on Psalm 89. This is one of my favourite psalms for obvious reasons...

... Thou spakest in visions unto Thy saints, and saidst:
"I have laid help upon one that is mighty, 
I have exalted one chosen out of the people.

I have found David my servant, 
with my holy oil have I anointed him.
My hand shall hold him fast, 
and my arm shall strengthen him.

The enemy shall not be able to do him violence, 
the son of wickedness shall not hurt him.
I will smite down his foes before his face, 
and plague them that hate him.

My truth also, and my mercy, shall be with him,
and in My name shall his horn be exalted.
I will set his dominion also in the sea,
and his right hand in the floods.

He shall call me, Thou art my father, 
my God and my strong salvation.
And I will make him my first born, 
higher than the kings of the earth.

My mercy will I keep for him forevermore, 
and my covenant shall stand fast with him.
His seed also will I make endure forever, 
and his throne as the days of heaven...

Above: King David playing the Lyre.

The composer is Nigel Williams, a New Zealander specialising in choral church music and organ music. He has worked extensively in the UK, and was at one time Director of Music at St. Peter's Cathedral where Peter and I worship. He is now based in Tauranga. 

His forte is choral music of a traditional flavour. He has a fair catalogue, accepting commissions from around the world. The piece Peter has commissioned will be composed around traditional English plain chant, but more than that we will not know until it is finished. We hope that it will have its debut at the consecration service for the chapel.


  1. I had not realised, when I saw the first image, that your birthday present was a _choral_ work based on your favourite psalm. What a very fine gift you will be receiving.

    Decades ago I was very excited by medieval manuscripts that had illuminations based on psalms and other Biblical stories. They were rich, luscious and treasured collections of (usually) 14th and 15th century art.

    1. Those hand written manuscripts are amazing. Each labouriously written out by monks for privileged (wealthy and literate) nobility. And cherished so dearly. I remember taking a guided tour through Trinity college Dublin and being shown some of their very fine manuscripts - amazing.

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Simon. This was a rather belated blog post, as my birthday (and the revelation of my present) was back in January. I look forward to sharing the composition with you all once it was had its first performance.

  3. How thrilling to have a piece of music composed especially for you, and what a lovely and thoughtful gift. I suspect you are very excited to hear the final arrangement and will be delighted with it (how could you not?).

    Happy birthday!

    1. I am very spoilt, to have someone who would choose something so personal and unique as a gift, and even more so to have a group of fellow choristers who will perform it for me. I only hope that we break ground on the chapel as things are not going as planned with the grand design.


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