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Track Name: Balulalow
Composer: James Burton
Text: Widderburn (1567)
Alongside his growing composition portfolio, James Burton is established as one of the UK’s leading choral conductors, and he has worked extensively in opera and with many leading orchestras, and was recently appointed Boston Symphony Orchestra Choral Director and Conductor of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus.
“ I wrote Balulalow when I was 17, and I remember keeping a score of Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols right next to my manuscript paper on the piano, so I had some inspiration if I needed it. The text was one I loved to sing as a chorister, and I hoped to capture a short lullaby-like song, imagining the baby Jesus in his mother’s arms. My setting was given its first performance in a concert in Naples by the Gentlemen of St John’s College, Cambridge in December 1992. It was a miracle the concert happened at all because we got stuck in M25 traffic on the way to the airport that morning and we missed our flight. We were able to catch a plane later that afternoon but we were so late to the concert that we didn’t even have time to change until the interval. I can’t remember if Balulalow was in the first or the second half, but the group liked it enough that we kept on singing it, and it’s lovely that ORA have made a new recording all these years later.”
- James Burton