Birthday Concert


I give you the end of a golden string

Only wind it into a ball

It will lead you in at Heaven’s gate

Built in Jerusalem’s wall

(Jerusalem, Plate 77)


In 2012 the Tithe Grant invited composers to set these lines by Blake to music. These lines are to be cut into the stone to mark Blake’s grave.


We received 35 entries from at least eight countries. The judges were the composer Judith Weir and Lucy Winkett, Rector of St. James’ Piccadilly. The winning composition was by Chris Williams, an Australian composer studying at Oxford.


A further four entries was highly commended by the judges: Paul Ayres, Bernard Hughes, Lucien Posman and Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin.


The winning entry and three of the commended entries were premiered on 27th November 2012 at St. James’, sung by the Philharmonia Voices under the direction of Aidan Oliver. The evening included the presentation of the award by Ray Davies of the Kinks, and performances by Guy Pearson and the Beguilers.


The concert was recorded by This is Tomorrow. Follow the links below to listen.


Introduction and Paul Ayres

Lucien Posman

Bernard Hughes

Chris Williams

Guy Pearson 1, Guy Pearson 2. Guy Pearson 3, Guy Pearson 4

The Beguilers 1, The Beguilers 2, The Beguilers 3, The Beguilers 4, The Beguilers 5