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A Clare Benediction – John Rutter (Arranged for Piano Solo sheet music)
John Rutter Milford (born 24 September 1945) is a British composer, choirmaster, conductor, arranger, and music producer.
Born in London, he was educated at Highgate School. He continued his higher studies in music at Cambridge University, where he was taught by Sir David Willcocks of harmony and counterpoint.
In 1981, he founded his own choir, the ‘Cambridge Singers’, with whom he presents the very varied sacred repertoire that is to characterize them (including his own work), and has several recordings, notably under his own label he: Collegium Records. He lives near Cambridge but frequently conducts other choirs and orchestras around the world.
In 1980, he was made an Honorary Scholar of Westminster Choir College, Princeton, and in 1988 a Fellow of the Church Musicians Guild. In 1996 the Archbishop of Canterbury conferred a Doctorate of Music on him, in recognition of his contribution to sacred music.
Short Interview with John Rutter (2016)
Why do people remember one tune and forget another?
Rutter was very frank: “Well, I don’t know. Composers are like children trying to turn on a faucet: doing the same thing, sometimes it comes out and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes a universal melody comes out that gets liked by people from all over the world; others, it is not like that”.
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John Rutter did give some small hints of his way of working: “As a rule, I start composing with a small idea. For example, with bass. The bass is the foundation of the work. The melody is actually the final piece that culminates it all.”
He is in favor of working under pressure: “ Deadlines are good for the composer’s work. They help focus ideas ,” he says. Rutter gave as an example the famous work The Lord bless you and keep you (his number one in Spotify reproductions), which was composed in just one week, on the occasion of the tribute to his deceased music teacher at school.
What Rutter recommended was to organize time well: “You have to work hard and regularly.” Composers: to work.
And what if we are not always inspired? “We can’t control the flow of ideas, but we can continually ask ourselves if what we’re developing has the necessary quality,” says John Rutter. “What you have to do is answer us honestly: Can I do it better?”
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And once the piece is composed, what is the final step? For Rutter, this was the publication of his work: “It took him to go from being a teenage aspiring composer to a published composer.” In addition, Rutter recognized that this phase, now, thanks to the Internet, is much more accessible to young composers than in his time, when it depended entirely on publishers.
However, John Rutter assures that fortune can come from the most unexpected paths, and the composer must be prepared for it: “Publishing the work, but it’s like launching a boat into the sea: you don’t know where it will end up”. He himself explained that, to his surprise, while he was still unknown in his country, his music became famous in the United States and Japan.
John Rutter vindicated the absolutely vocational nature of music: “If you are still wondering if composition is your vocation, stop doing it. The composition chooses you as a way of life. You don’t choose it.”
What is the best advice for a young composer? Rutter was blunt like this: “Write the music you believe in.”
It may just be a tricky joke, but
Rutter speculated on ideas for his epitaph. For example, she likes: “he wrote like the angels”. However, he believes that this formula is excessively focused on technical aspects and he defends that, above all, music is communication. That is why he stays with this other phrase:
“His music from him reached the hearts of the people.”
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