On 7 April The Sixteen release ‘a collection of works to commemorate the coronation of King Charles III’
Cecilia McDowall’s anthem O Lord, make thy servant, Elizabeth was conceived in the final months of Elizabeth II’s reign as a counterpart to Byrd’s setting of the same text. It was commissioned by the Genesis Foundation for Harry Christophers and The Sixteen and first performed by them in October 2022 in the Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula, within the Tower of London. This album includes the work’s world premiere recording, presented as a tribute to the life and reign of Elizabeth II. McDowall’s composition, prefaced by an introduction for harp (Sioned Williams), among the most ancient of all royal instruments, forms an extended meditation on the late queen’s devoted service.
A review of the premiere of O Lord, make thy servant, Elizabeth in The Tablet; ‘It stole the show: a stirring combination of homophony and movement; oozing dissonance and resolution; a harp part, played with verve and dexterity by Sioned Williams; hints of the Iberian peninsula and shifting desert sands. It seemed oddly like an old favourite [and] even though it was brand new, the audience welcomed it enthusiastically. McDowall’s output is prodigious, and she rarely disappoints’.