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Castle Cary Easter oratorio hailed by Bishop of Bath and Wells

By WG_JTaylor  |  Posted: January 17, 2013

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The musical director of Castle Cary choir is "pinching himself" after his depiction of the Easter story attracted international interest.

Martin Emslie, 57, has written an 80-minute musical composition telling the infamous biblical story, which culminates in Jesus's resurrection.

The director, who is a fellow of the London College of Music, said he has been "blown away" by the response to his oratorio, called Omega and Alpha.

Mr Emslie, of Alford, near Castle Cary, said: "I was looking for something to do over Easter so decided to write a piece of music.

"Writing it was relatively easy – but the reaction I have received has blown my mind.

"I'm getting inquiries from all over the world, and the project seems to be getting bigger by the day.

"It has received backing from the Bishop of Bath and Wells and I have been contacted by people as far away as America and Canada.

"I am pinching myself."

The music, which will be unveiled at a world premiere at Wells Cathedral in April, will feature a 46-piece orchestra, 120 local singers and three professional soloists.

Among the high-profile singers signed up for the project is tenor Jonathan Ansell, who shot to fame with opera group G4 on The X Factor in 2004.

The core of the singing contingent is to be made up of Castle Cary choir's 65 members. Mr Emslie has welcomed applications for another 20 talented singers to be part of the project.

The Rt Rev Peter Price, Bishop of Bath and Wells, said: "All new attempts at representing the events of the passion and resurrection of Jesus Christ as oratorio are full of risk and danger. It is all too easy to make comparisons with the great works so beloved of musicians and choirs.

"Martin has taken the risk with great courage and imagination to present his oratorio as a post-modern attempt to interpret this most significant of religious accounts in a way that is both challenging and accessible.

"I offer Martin my congratulations and I hope that for many who experience this oratorio, whether in concert or on CD, they will find it speaks to them of these unending truths about the nature of God and humanity."

Singers from 26 choral societies throughout the country are expected to attend April's premiere.

Following a full-day workshop bringing the choir and three soloists together for the first time, residents of Castle Cary will be treated to a preview of the music spectacle at All Saints' Church on Saturday, March 23.

The world premiere of Mr Emslie's creation, featuring the full orchestra, will be held at Wells Cathedral on Saturday, April 13.

For tickets, or to apply to be part of the project, visit http://www.omegaandalpha.co.uk/.

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