Our Case Studies
Cantatas For Young Voices: London Symphony Orchestra & Northern Sinfonia
Paul Campbell
“Paul's orchestration of my ‘Seven Planets and a Cosmic Rock’ is marvellously inventive. He used the full range of orchestral palette to transform the piano score while respecting the original concept. His technical mastery was evident in the resulting performances by the LSO, Northern Sinfonia and the Orchestra of Scottish Opera. I particularly appreciated the regular communication we had at all stages of the collaboration.”
Tom Cunningham (Composer)
I was first introduced to Scottish composer Tom Cunningham by the Young Musicians department at The Sage Gateshead, who had approached me to orchestrate a cantata for young voices originally commissioned by the National Youth Choir of Scotland, under the venerable direction of choral wizard Christopher Bell. The cantata is based on a mixture of scientific fact and Greek mythology surrounding the planets of the Solar System - Seven Planets and a Cosmic Rock (the cosmic rock being Pluto - obviously!). Orchestrating the work was a lot of fun - Tom's catchy melodies and witty lyrics by Derek Roberts are a fantastic example of a concert work which is fit for purpose in every way and great fun too!

The new orchestrations for Seven Planets and a Cosmic Rock were featured at a double concert with the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican and the Northern Sinfonia at The Sage in Gateshead, both entitled ‘VoiceOver Through Time and Space’. Embracing the Space theme for the evening (and adding good measure to the logistical tightrope of organising massed children's choirs!), parts of the concert were broadcast between the two venues, much to the delight of the children and audiences. Myself and my wife Susie joined the composer, lyricist and families at the London concert, and I did enjoy hearing the orchestrations performed live by the London Symphony Orchestra.

Since then, I have orchestrated a further two of the NYCoS commissioned cantatas for young voices - The Saga of the Seven Days (also by Tom Cunningham, with lyrics by Derek Roberts and Paul Wigmore) and I Landed With Seven Men (arranged and composed by Ken Johnston). These have been featured at concerts with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Scottish Opera and Ulster Orchestra. Seven Planets and a Cosmic Rock was also featured at the fifteenth anniversary concert of the National Youth Choir of Scotland in May 2011, again accompanied by the orchestra of the Scottish Opera.

The set of orchestrations for Seven Planets and a Cosmic Rock is available for hire from Studio Orchestrations (contact us here for further details) and there is also a flexiband schools edition of the orchestrations, soon to be made available for purchase in our online store. The original vocal scores for all of the works mentioned can be purchased from www.nycos.co.uk

Click here to view Tom's official website

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Paul with the composer Tom Cunningham