THE CHRISTMAS TREE
I was thrilled to be asked by ORA to compose a new carol for them. It was especially exciting, knowing the high standard of the group, and imagining their beautifully blended voices performing the piece. The commission was for choir and percussion, and the first task was to find the text. I searched through many different options, and kept coming back to The Christmas Tree, by an anonymous author, as it instantly felt singable and joyful, and I knew that ORA were after something celebratory as their Christmas Eve carol. It also offered light and shade in the text, with a beautifully calm and serene section at the end of the poem which immediately appealed. The addition of the timpani added extra power and energy support the choir. Hearing ORA perform the piece for the first time at rehearsals was a real thrill. I can only hope that the carol adds a little Christmas cheer for many years to come!
This commission has been generously supported by Ian Taylor.
One of the UK’s most successful female music ambassadors, Debbie is in demand as a composer and conductor. Her credits, over 200 of them, for the big and small screen, include WOLF HALL, WILDE, DICKENSIAN, THE STATE, A POET IN NEW YORK and FATHER BROWN.
Debbie has been nominated for two Ivor Novello Awards, a Grammy Award, and has won a TRIC Award, a Music & Sound Award and two RTS Awards. She was awarded the Gold Badge of Merit by the British Academy of Composers & Songwriters. Debbie was Kirsty Young’s guest on Desert Island Discs, and in March 2015 Debbie presented Same Tune, Different Song on Radio 4, as well as a two-hour special of her favourite music on Radio 3’s Saturday Classics.
Debbie was honoured in the Queen's New Year's Honours list with an MBE for services to the music and film industry. She was awarded Honorary Fellowships at both colleges where she studied, Trinity College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, The CD album of Debbie’s original score for the acclaimed BBC series, Wolf Hall, entered the UK’s Classic FM chart at Number 1.
Debbie was one of 11 composers chosen to compose music for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant on June 3rd 2012 when she conducted her movement of “New Water Music” on The Georgian barge. She was commissioned to compose the Overture and Finale music for the Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebration in May 2016. Debbie is also Classic FM’s Composer in Residence and her first album commissioned by Classic FM - “The Musical Zodiac” - reached Number 2 in the UK Classical Chart in September 2016. She is currently working on her second album commission for the station, for release in March 2018.