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Howard, Gaynor  Young Beam of Heaven

FE4039   4 part choir a cappella

While I was a student at the Royal College of Music, I was given a holiday project by my tutor. This was to choose a poem and set it for S.A.T.B. So, leafing through a book of poetry in my local Public Library, I came across “Carol to be set to Music” by Anne Ridler. I was immediately struck by its imagery and expression. In the way that anything of beauty remains in the mind, the poem made a lasting impression, and the title seemed to be an invitation.

Years later, belatedly asking her permission to use her poem, I sent a copy to Anne Ridler. In reply, she wrote, “…I have now tried [it] out …on the piano. I do hope that I shall hear it someday in parts, for it seems to me to be a very sympathetic setting of the words…”

Sadly, that was not to be, but she suggested that, now that the carol had indeed been ‘set to music’, it should be known as “Young Beam of Heaven”.

It received its first performance many years later, in 1986

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