for mixed choir (SSAATTBB) & piano
Text: English (Matt Harvey)
Author and composer's note
Conveniently named after the aspiration that inspired it, Excellence (the fifth and final movement of the choral cycle 'The Same Flame') makes the not always popular point that excellence is not achieved overnight, nor by accident. While spelling out, rather relentlessly, the ‘doggedness, diligence, discipline, [and] drudgery’ that go into achieving ‘poetry in motion’, the song also celebrates the attainment of those who achieve excellence and comes to the inescapable conclusion that the ‘unbegrudged drudgery’ is worth it!
'The Same Flame' is a five-movement choral song cycle inspired by Pierre de Coubertin’s ideals of Olympism which gave rise to the modern Olympic and Paralympic values: Respect, Excellence, Friendship, Courage, Equality, Determination and Inspiration. The composer and author took it upon themselves to celebrate these seven values in five movements, so four of them had to double up – Friendship with Equality and Courage with Determination. It was commissioned by Churchill Music! and supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
All five movements of 'The Same Flame' are published as individual octavos. A complete vocal score is available on request.
Thomas Hewitt Jones
Thomas Hewitt Jones is an award-winning composer of concert and commercial music. Winner of the BBC Young Composer competition in 2003, he has since had a number of pieces performed, broadcast and published. His ballet, vocal and instrumental music, in particular, is highly acclaimed. His carol ‘Child of the Stable’s Secret Birth’ was premiered by John Rutter and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 2010, and he has had pieces published by Faber Music, ABRSM, Novello & Co, Universal Music and Oxford University Press as well as Boosey & Hawkes. Thomas has also worked in Hollywood, and composed the music for the 2012 Olympics Mascots animated films.
Poet, broadcaster, enemy of all that’s difficult and upsetting, Matt’s way with words has taken him from Totnes to the Wimbledon Tennis Championships via Saturday Live, the Science Museum and the Edinburgh Festival. He is host of BBC Radio 4’s Wondermentalist Cabaret and author of The Hole in the Sum of my Parts (Poetry Trust), Where Earwigs Dare (Green Books) and, for kids, Shopping With Dad (Barefoot). Matt has collaborated with composer Stephen Deazley on two previous song cycles, The Songbook of Unsingable Songs and A Little Book of Monsters.
“Very funny…” The Independent
“…not only funny, but tender and true” The Guardian