EBN 32 | HOPING IT MIGHT BE SO
SIMON WILLS (*1957)
„Hoping It Might Be So”. A Meditation for Christmas
Unaccompanied choir SSATBB
Commissioned by the Balthasar Neumann Choir (2013)
Performing edition available for purchase
Time and again the Balthasar Neumann Ensemble and Choir have programmed works by the British composer Simon Wills and done so, moreover, with great success. One of these pieces is now available for the first time from Balthasar Neumann Editions. A particular highlight of the programme for the choir’s 2013 Christmas tour was Hoping It Might Be So. Wills’ motet for solo voices and mixed a cappella choir is grounded in the English tradition of the Christmas carol and draws on texts spanning five centuries, from anonymous epigrams from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries to Ben Jonson’s The Father’s Wisdom Willed It So and texts by Emily Dickinson and Thomas Hardy.
“With ‘Hoping It Might Be ‘Simon Wills has written a formally demanding motet that is anchored in the English choral tradition and, more especially, in the style of Ralph Vaughan Williams and Benjamin Britten. Wills’ music has an accessibility that appeals to us and moves us directly. His writing is tonal, its tonality only occasionally spiced with drones based on intervals of a fourth and a fifth, its harmonic asperities due to the use of major and minor seconds, and yet he is stunningly successful in avoiding the pitfalls of kitsch, more especially since his work tells of a yearning for an ideal world and of the longing of modern man to be able to believe in the miracle of Bethlehem untroubled by doubt, just as the Christians of bygone ages did.” FAZ | CHRISTIAN WILDHAGEN