Mealor’s new motet, Ubi Caritas was premiered at the Royal Wedding of His Royal Highness Prince William of Wales with Miss Catherine Middleton (now, TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) at Westminster Abbey, and received excellent reviews from the world’s media: –
‘Paul Mealor’s Ubi Caritas was the real hit of the wedding…The Ubi Caritas setting they did this morning had an austere resonance of plainsong that then flowered into the kind of cloudy harmonic suspensions of a Morten Lauridsen or Eric Whitacre… I confidently predict that Mealor will now leap to sudden fame on the back of it. His Ubi Caritas was certainly the closest this wedding got to the nerve-touching John Tavener moment at the last big royal ceremonial that broadcast to the world: Diana’s funeral.’
‘What next for Paul Mealor? Until last week he was a relatively unheard of composer from North Wales. Now, after the royal couple chose his setting of “Ubi Caritas” as an anthem at their wedding, he’s likely to find himself propelled into classical music stardom. This was what happened to John Tavener, who was also quite obscure until his “Song for Athene” was sung at Diana’s funeral in 1997. Expect to hear the name Paul Mealor a lot more.’
‘This refashioning of Mealor’s 2010 composition “Now Sleeps The Crimson Petel” was commissioned by Prince William. The piece is lovely in itself, but there were extra-musical reasons to include it in the ceremony too. Mealor is Welsh (when Charles ascends the throne, William will become the Prince of Wales), has a home on Anglesey (the Welsh island where William and Kate will be living for the next few years) and the original song cycle was premiered at St. Andrews, the university where the couple met.
Largely unknown outside the Anglican church music world, Mealor will find his star rising considerably after this debut on the world stage. He teaches composition at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.
Mealor’s aesthetic …features open tone clusters, extended chords, slow-moving harmonic changes and divisi voicing. These techniques minimize any sense of a home key, which creates a sort of ethereal dissonance that doesn’t feel as if it needs resolving. In this idiom, the color of the sound is more important than the shape of it, meaning there is no big tune.’
Los Angeles Times
The single of Ubi caritas (performed by the choirs of Westminster Abbey and Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal, conducted by James O’Donnell) and the album of all the wedding music, are available for download at iTunes