World Premier Heard At Hambleden
By Pete Leig
Review from The Henley Standard

A packed St Mary The Virgin Church at Hambleden heard the world premier performance of a new classical composition by local musician Jon Lord of Deep Purple last Thursday. The work was commissioned by the vicar, the Rev. Paul Nicholson on behalf of the Hambleden Valley Group of Churches Choir as part of the Henley Millennium celebrations.
The piece, entitled From Darkness To Light, was a setting of a meditation written by Lord and Nicholson that emphasises our positive move into the next Millennium. The idyllic environment of the church reinforced the lyrical simplicity of the work and its echoes of the great English pastoral composers. Yet this beguiling contemplation did not distract from an ambitiously contemporary structure and challenging harmonics. The local singers, musicians and school children performed to exceptionally high standards - complemented by a professional string quartet and tenor soloist. The whole piece was underpinned by Lord himself at the piano displaying an authority that was tempered by sensitivity towards the range of experience within the ensemble.
As the lingering resolve of Into The Wonder, Into The Mystery rang through St Mary's Church the audience was left with an outstanding impression of both reflection and hope. Most of all, though, this performance of From Darkness To Light emphasised the value that participatory work involving community and professionals can add to a musical experience. An opportunity is forthcoming for those who missed the premier of this enchanting piece - it will be performed again on September 2nd at Fawley Court as part of the continued Henley Millennium celebrations.