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Renowned Composer Commissioned to write for King Richard III Reinterment

Leicester Cathedral has announced the music which will accompany the reinterment of King Richard III is to be written by prize-winning composer, Judith Bingham.


The British composer who was born in Nottingham and raised in Mansfield and Sheffield, started composing as a small child, and went on to study composing and singing at the Royal Academy of Music in London.  She was awarded the Principal’s prize in 1971, and 6 years later the BBC Young Composer award, as well as composition prizes include: the Barlow Prize for a cappella music in 2004, two British Composer Awards in 2004 (choral and liturgical) one in 2006 (choral) and the instrumental award in 2008.



Judith Bingham
Judith Bingham Credit. Leicester Cathedral


The Cathedral wishes to ensure that the liturgy and music used in the services planned for March 2015 will carry both a profound sense of history whilst communicating afresh to our contemporary community his Christian spirituality.



The Dean of Leicester said “I am delighted that Judith Bingham is composing this new work for King Richard III’s re-interment. It will therefore receive its premiere on Thursday 26th March.  Judith has sensitively researched texts which bring to life the spirituality of his time, yet which still resonate with us in a world that remains laden with battles, betrayal and the scars of war.”



King Richard III owned scriptures translated by John Wycliffe. The text for this anthem will draw on verses from Psalm 42 in a translation by John Wycliffe who was Rector of Lutterworth in Leicestershire. This will include verse 10: ‘While my bones be broken altogether; mine enemies, that trouble me, despised me. While they say to me, by all days; Where is thy God?’ Additionally words from the epitaph of Sir Marmaduke Constable of Flamborough, a Knight of the King’s company who served at Bosworth will bring the anthem to its conclusion. These words speak of God’s abiding goodness even facing death – ‘And now he abydyth God’s mercy, and hath no other socure Ffor, as ye se hym here, he lieth under this stone’



Judith Bingham spoke of her delight of being commissioned, “I am thrilled and deeply honoured to be writing an anthem for the reinterment of Richard III. This is a unique opportunity for any composer and I hope to bring to it the respect and solemnity it deserves.”



Dr Christopher Johns, Director of Music for Leicester Cathedral said “I’m delighted that Judith Bingham will be composing an anthem for the Reinterment Service. We know that the quality of liturgical music was very important to King Richard, as he went to great lengths to recruit the very best musicians of the day to the choral foundations with which he was associated. Judith is rightly regarded as one of the leading composers of contemporary choral music and this, coupled with her keen interest in late Medieval history, make her the ideal person to write a piece for the burial in the 21st century of a 15th century monarch.”



The news of Judith Bingham’s commission was announced at a dinner this week at the Museum of St John, London, and attended by the descendants of both sides who fought at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.