Wednesday 2 December 2015

Behind the Scenes 2: Christmas material

In recent months, Roger has written some new Christmas material.  In this blog post he shares his story about how it came about, especially as he isn't writing a musical at the moment:

"I had no intention of writing any new music, but last Christmas when Bishop Timothy Dudley-Smith's card came in the post, it included his annual Christmas lyrics.  As soon as I read them through I had an idea for a tune.

Chris Eaton and Roger
I was delighted with the song, and it developed further down the line when I just happened to get in touch with Chris Eaton through my daughter Sally's church.  Chris is Cliff Richard's arranger and song writer - he wrote Saviour's day among others, as well as the beautiful song Cliff sang at Cilla Black's funeral earlier this year.  I went to see Chris to chat about Jesus and music, and while I was there showed him the music for this song.  He loved it and offered to record it in the studio at his home.  So singing teacher and former CMM employee trained up a few children, including her son Joe, and we went to Chris' studio to record the song.  It was lovely that my granddaughter Bethany was also one of the singers.

Abby Eaton
Chris had put together a lovely, simple backing track, and the kids did a great job.  Joe took the first verse solo, and then the group of children sang the second verse.  The third verse focuses on Mary and has some beautiful lyrics in it: 'Of mothers most exalted, yet in her heart a sword: Inestimable blessing, unutterable loss, who bore the word's Redeemer, and stood beneath his cross.'  These weren't words for children to sing, so Chris' wife Abby took the part beautifully.

The kids recording 'We sing a song of Christmas'
The song 'Angels from the realms of glory' is a 4-part choir arrangement that flowed from a tune I had already written.  We haven't recorded this one yet, but Tim is working on the backing track - so hopefully it will soon be available.

Then one Friday morning in August/September I woke up with words and melody for the first verse of 'When our God came to earth.'  By the next morning I had 5 verses!  This one is more of a children's song, so I sent it to my producer Chris King, who put together a lovely backing track.  We were able to take the same children plus one more in to his studio a few weeks ago, and the resulting recording is lovely.  All of the kids get a solo this time round!
The kids recording 'When our God came to earth'

We originally had no plans at all for this, but now we're thinking we might put together an album called 'Songs of Christmas' in the new year so that it can be ready when people are planning their Christmas services for 2016."

If you'd like to buy the sheet music for all three carols and recordings for two of them, go to the CMM Online Shop.

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