Info & seminars for choir directors

If you are interested in your choir performing all, or part of Blue Pearl: A One World Oratorio, please get in touch with Steve (steve@stevebanks.info, T: +44 (0)7957 855458).

Steve is offering seminars for choir directors interested in finding out more about Blue Pearl.  Scroll down for information on how individual, pairs or groups of movements from Blue Pearl can be performed on their own.

“As choral director, I’m always on the lookout for exciting new works for Excelsis to sing. In 2015 we were delighted to perform the world premiere of Karl Jenkins’s The Healer – A Cantata for St Luke.  When the London Mozart Players invited Excelsis to perform in the world premiere of ‘Blue Pearl’ I jumped at the chance. ‘Blue Pearl’ is a really exciting challenge for the choir: to bring to life the different styles of music which Steve has used to such great effect to evoke the full compass of our shared human experience: from joy, humour and sexuality to the opening of our hearts in compassion for the inevitable sorrows of being human, to the spiritual mystery we encounter in stillness and silence. ‘Blue Pearl’ is ultimately a wonderful and moving celebration of our shared humanity.  I’m sure many other choirs will perform it in the years to come; to be the first is a real treat for Excelsis and for me.”    – Rob Lewis, Musical Director, Excelsis Chamber Choir

Online seminars for choir directors or members of choirs 17.2.22 & 21.4.22

Steve is offering free informal online seminars with Q&A about ‘Blue Pearl: A One World Oratorio’ for choir directors and anyone involved with a choir

choirThey will be on Zoom on 17.02.22 and 21.04.227.30pm – 9pm UK timeThey are an opportunity for choir directors, and anyone involved in a choir, to find out more about Steve’s exciting, ground-breaking new oratorio.

Steve will give a brief talk about Blue Pearl, and then most of the time will be for Q&A.

One of the main things Steve wants to get across is that Blue Pearl does not have to be performed in its entirety (it is a whole evening concert). Individual movements, and pairs and groups of movements will also work very well. Scroll down for more details.

Booking for online seminar 17.02.22 – click here

booking for online seminar 21.04.22 – click here

For tickets for the world premiere click here. Subscribe to the e-newsletter on the ‘Contact’ page for updates about Blue Pearl.  Follow Steve on facebook, connect on LinkedIn and Instagram (@SteveBanksComposer)

An inspiring musical exploration of spirituality. London Mozart Players look forward to this collaboration, bringing to life this beautiful, evocative music.” – Julia Desbruslais, Executive Director, London Mozart Players

Performing individual movements, or parts of Blue Pearl

Blue Pearl can obviously be performed in its entirely, but some individual movements, or sequence of movements can also work very well – see below for some suggestions.

Instrumental arrangements can also be made of some movements, to suit different choirs, and to fit within a programme with other pieces.

Movements which can be performed on their own, or in pairs or threes

There are more combinations which are possible, but below are a few suggestions which definitely work well. Any of the suggestions below can be added together to form longer combinations.

Evolution 5 (5 mins).  Can be performed by itself. A startling movement. Showcase for the orchestra. Humorous role for the choir, coming in just at the last semi-quaver.

Anamnesis (20 mins). Can be performed by itself. The evolution of human consciousness, from primitive – near animal – through rational, to spiritual. Varied musical styles.

Evolution 5 & Anamnesis (25 mins). Takes the audience through the whole of evolution – physical, biological, and human consciousness.

One Mother, One Father (3.3 mins). Works well on its own. A joyful celebration of the unity of the human family. African-influenced style.

Blue Pearl (6.3 mins). Can be performed on its own. Moving evocation and celebration of the unity of the earth, ‘Blue Pearl’. With profound, beautiful spoken introduction by Apollo astronaut, Edgar Mitchell. African-influenced, riff-based style.

One Mother, One Father & Blue Pearl (10 mins). These go well together, both African-influenced musical style, celebrating the unity of the human race, and of the earth.

One Mother, One Father, Blue Pearl & Never Lost, Never Found (12 mins). These are the three movements that end the first half of the full oratorio. In Blue Pearl the earth is speaking, reminding humanity of our unity with the earth.  In Never Lost, Never Found the Kosmos speaks, ‘I am’, reminding us of our unity with the Kosmos.

Sex (6.3 mins).  Works fine on its own. A celebration of sex as sacred. The movement begins in a humorous vein, becoming powerfully moving and ecstatic, and ending with a beautiful, spiritual acapella ‘chorale’.

Death (5 mins). Can be performed on its own. A powerful, moving exploration of our relationship with death, fading into silence at the end, with the ‘mystical death’.

Sex and Death (12 mins). They go together well.

Be Still (bit over 5 mins) is a simple, very peaceful song, invoking a meditative state.

Sex, Death & Be Still (18 mins). Work well together, as they do in the full oratorio.

Call Me By My True Names (6.5 mins). Works very well on its own. Setting of profound poem by Vietnamese Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. A meditation on the interconnectedness, the ‘interbeing’ of humans with one another, with everything, which leads naturally into the opening of our hearts in the wonder and openness of compassion.Let Go (3 mins). This movement works well performed on its own. A vivid, condensed portrayal of the movement from gross to subtle states of consciousness, as in a meditation practice.

Holons (5 mins). Works fine on its own.  Describes the four drives of a ‘holon’, and then the 12-part catch describes the ‘holarchy’ from quarks, to atoms to molecules, and so on, through human beings, families, nation states, to the earth, the solar system and the Kosmos. The catch can be performed without the introduction.

Let Go & Holons (8 mins) can be performed as a pair.

The Potter (5 mins) works well on its own. A joyful verse and chorus song; the lyric is a sort of prayer, that we may fulfill our potential in our lives, each of us bringing our unique gifts to our community and the world. Can be performed with the introduction that precedes it.

Each half of Blue Pearl works well on its own, each giving roughly half an evening’s concert. Certain particular movements can be added or taken away from each half without detracting from an overall sequence.