Spotlight on Richard Pantcheff

Michael Waldron, Director of the London Choral Sinfonia, on Richard Pantcheff 

Richard and I first crossed paths in London in early 2013. In the coming months we exchanged emails and scores, and I was immediately struck by his music. It was still relatively early days for the London Choral Sinfonia, but plans were afoot for a recording of Christmas music, and I was keen to include one of Richard’s pieces. A Christmas Carol seemed like a perfect addition to the album. It had not been recorded before, but from fumbling through the score at the piano I could sense it was a piece of great depth. I am always captivated by music that has the ability to transport a listener in a relatively short period of time: A Christmas Carol is one such piece, and has remained close to my heart ever since.
Within another 12 months Richard and I were in discussion about an album showcasing his music. A single-composer album requires particularly thoughtful programming. I was very keen to showcase Richard’s broad appeal: the intensity of the words and music in Four Poems of Stephen Crane is quite different in character – yet complement brilliantly – the more overtly melodic, stand-alone pieces of Spirit of Mercy and Veni Sancte Spiritus. The intimacy of Turn again then unto thy rest alongside the enormous breadth of the St. Paul’s Service demonstrate Richard’s great ability to portray scale. The virtuosic and charged setting of the secular King Henry VIII’s Apologia will challenge the most experienced choral singer, but numerous other pieces on the recording are far less demanding and would suit almost any choir in a secular or sacred context.
Richard himself discusses the influence of the rich heritage of English choral music, from which his compositional voice is clearly descended. This being said, it is by no means pastiche: I find it original, inspired and at all times profound. There is music on the album to suit all tastes, and I hope people hearing the
anthology on this album will develop the same love for it as I have.

Michael Waldron talks to Richard Pantcheff

The Choral Greats Playlist, curated by Richard Pantcheff