I’m not an atheist, but I’m not a Christian either, and for my entire career I have resisted setting texts that could be used in a liturgical context. After spending the 2010 Michelmas term in Cambridge (Sidney Sussex College), though, singing with Dr. David Skinner and his marvelous Chapel Choir, I began to see the deep wisdom in the liturgical service. I found myself suddenly open to the history and the beauty of the poetry, and it was the single word Alleluia, ‘praise God’, that most enchanted me. It seemed the perfect fit for the music of my wind symphony work October, which to me is a simple and humble meditation on the glory of Autumn.
Alleluia was written for Dr. David Skinner and the Sidney Sussex Chapel Choir; they premiered it in the Sidney Sussex Chapel, Cambridge University, on June 25th, 2011.