Born in England in 1931, Derek Holman was Music Master at Westminster Abbey School and assistant organist at St. Paul’s Cathedral before he moved to Toronto in 1965. He held several organist and choirmaster positions, and was on the music faculty at the University of Toronto. Although he has composed opera, oratorio, orchestral chamber and keyboard music, he’s known primarily in this country for a solid output of choral music. his musical style might be dubbed English Romantic, the continuation of the Holst, Vaughan Williams and Britten lines – influenced by folksong and the great English choral tradition, based in tonality but with a modern harmonic and rhythmic sense, and very attentive to text. His style differs from the more avant-garde workings of Canadians John Weinzweig or Harry Somers. This release on the Canadian Music Centre’s label features a variety of Holman songs composed between 1994 and 2011. The initial release of the excellent Canadian Art Song Project, founded by tenor Lawrence Wiliford and pianist Steven Philcox, this is the first recital recording devoted entirely to songs by Holman….
by Rick Phillips, Summer 2014
OPERA CANADA – Volume LV