Review of "Grande Symphonie"

"A former chorister at St Fin Barre’s, Eoghan Desmond produced this suite of four preludes based on the Dutch carol “King Jesus Hath a Garden” in 2016. However, they do not so much elaborate on this theme as evoke the atmosphere of four of the Roman Catholic offices of the day (another nail in the coffin for the Protestant stalwarts of the 19th century Select Vestry). The first (“Matins”) maintains a persistent bell-chime figure while a solo line trills its way into the air - in the composer’s own words - like “the beginnings of bird song”. The second evokes the cock crowing at dawn (the time of “Lauds”) in a jaunty statement of the carol theme, and the final two ooze prayerfulness and contemplation, with “Compline” seeming to indicate through its lumpy statement of the theme, the chanting of monks befuddled by sleep. Leigh captures the scale and intimacy of all these miniatures in some endearingly affectionate performances."