Upheld by stillness was premiered by ORA and Suzi Digby at the Tower of London on 09 Feb 2016
“Owain Park’s Upheld by stillness was a reflection on the mass’s Sanctus and Benedictus, setting Kathleen Raine’s poem The Word. The work was intense and rather austere, opening with a soprano solo from Emilia Morton. Park used a combination of fascinating textures in the piece, often with a sense of polytonality.”
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“Coined “reflections” on Byrd’s originals, works by Ēriks Ešenvalds, Roxanna Panufnik, Francis Pott, Alexander L’Estrange, Owain Park, Charlotte Bray and – by way of a final envoi – Roderick Williams, all took their cues, thematic or conceptual, from those of their Renaissance predecessor [Byrd]. Add Allegri’s Miserere and James MacMillan’s strikingly dramatic modern setting of the same text to the programme and the end result was rather special.
“As was the quality of performance: with the choir occasionally split and repositioned around the church for spatial effects, the aural potential of the experience was maximised. Digby drew finely controlled yet rhythmically fluid performances from her expert singers throughout. Of the new works, those by Ešenvalds, Park, Bray and Williams left a particular impression, though all proved worthwhile.”