I am Alban
“I am Alban” was commissioned by Hertfordshire Music Service for their Gala Concert in March 2020 at the Royal Albert Hall. It featured over 1500 children from Herts Schools, The Herts Youth Choir and Orchestra and parts for narrator and soloists.
The poet Ian McMillan wrote the libretto of this “Dramatic Cantata” telling the story of Britain’s first saint.
The work explores several ideas. Ian’s text is full of powerful and poetic imagery. Indeed, one of the themes is the power of words. “They spent words, like words were currency”… “newly minted conversations began to shine.”
It also explores how history has shaped the present and how to relate to it: “Cross that bridge from then to now”…” the past holds the future as a promise”.
Lucy, a student from our own times is at first a dissenting voice who finds this ancient history “crusty and musty” but she finds herself moved by the story and begins to understand that “history falls in the cracks between the lines”.
Alban is the patron saint of refugees and the piece also asks questions about how we would respond to a stranger seeking sanctuary. Could we open our hearts and minds as Alban did? Could we be Alban?