James Weeks

for oboe, viola and cello

duration: 12 minutes

Westron is based on the melody of the Tudor love lyric Westron Wynde, made famous by its use in the Western Wynde masses of Taverner, Tye and Sheppard:

Westron wynde, when wille thow blow,
The smalle rayne down can rayne.
Crist yf my love were in my armys
And I in my bed agayne.

Like these composers' masses, it is cast as a set of variations, but here the theme only emerges clearly at the end of the piece, revealing the foregoing variations as a search for the material, in which the occasional contour of the melody (notably a characteristic downward scalic movement) becomes visible.

Born in Blackburn in 1978, James Weeks was a chorister in the Choir of Christ Church Cathedral Oxford from 1986-91, subsequently held scholarships at Winchester College, and from 1997-2000 was Organ Scholar of Queens' College Cambridge, where he read Music. In October 2000 he began postgraduate studies in composition at the University of Southampton with Michael Finnissy.

Most recently, performances of his music have taken place in London, Southampton and Bavaria, and in May 2001 his ensemble work Egyptischer Marsch nach Johann Strauss was featured in the New Music Players' Brighton Festival recital. Current projects include a music-theatre work for wind quintet and a song-cycle for countertenor.

As a conductor, James Weeks' work with Queens' College Choir from 1998-2000 culminated in several acclaimed recordings, including an innovative recital disc of choral works by Skempton, Weir, Harvey and Tippett entitled Flight of Song, released in January 2001 on Guild. He was Assistant Conductor of the Cambridge University Musical Society from 1998-2000, and is now active as a freelance conductor in Britain and Germany.

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