I have just spent a weekend with Australian Fr Christopher Willcock’s inspirational songs chasing each other round my head. I first encountered this talented Jesuit composer’s music while visiting Melbourne for various Jesuit functions in the past couple of years.
Invariably his setting for the Mass would be used at ceremonial occasions and I delighted in singing in the choir brought together for the event.
Now ‘Who Did You See?’ has been produced in the United States, beautifully engineered to do justice to the songs Willcock has written to the words of fellow Jesuit, Andrew Hamilton, and others.
The album is well paced, from the reflective title song which alludes to events in Jesus’ life on earth to the boisterous ‘En Todo Amar’ with its cheeky alto sax solo, ‘Spirit Power’, which will be sung in the final Mass for World Youth Day and ‘Gifts of the Spirit’ with its catchy 7/8 rhythm which we must learn for Pentecost and the haunting ‘Lead Us Home, Lord’ to Andrew Hamilton’s prayer for the marginalised and those who support them.
There is a strong thread of gospel-based social justice running through these songs. They are hopeful with strong allusions to the reign of God alongside acknowledgement of the failures of humanity. There is also a tribute to Mary the mother of Jesus, in ‘There is Nothing Told’ which Willcock wrote in 1988 and a song from 1977 ‘The Way’ to the words of Australian poet and women’s activist, Wendy Poussard.
Willcock has a gift for conveying mood in his melody and rhythm. This is the first CD I have come across but I understand it’s actually his seventh so I’m now going in search of the others.
I have some copies of ‘Who Did You See’ for $25 each. Please contact me on 0-4-496 1759 or firstname.lastname@example.org.