Mealor's music may be royal, but mum takes the cake

Thu Oct 27, 2011 7:54am EDT
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By Michael Roddy

LONDON (Reuters) - Welsh composer Paul Mealor had the thrill of a lifetime when one of his choral works was played at the April wedding of Britain's Prince William to Catherine Middleton, but he gave his piece of royal wedding cake, which came in a special box, to his mum.

How could he not? She'd even bought a new hat to watch the royal wedding, including her son's choral piece "Ubi Caritas" played for a worldwide television and online audience estimated at 2.4 billion people, at the family home.

"I quite fancied eating it, but I gave it to my mum," Mealor, 35, told Reuters in an interview to mark the release this week of the first commercial CD of his choral music, "A Tender Light" (Decca 2781149), performed by the Tenebrae Choir under Nigel Short.

It is all a bit of a breathless rush to fame -- at least in classical music terms -- for a relatively unknown composer who by his own admission is a big fan of the royals, especially the younger generation, and a bit of a "young fogey" to boot.

"I get some stick for it," said Mealor, affable, bespectacled and a bit bemused by the lunches, news conferences and chauffeured limousines attendant on an album launch.

Everyday life for him, he says, consists of living alone in a house on the northern Welsh Anglesey coast, without electricity -- but with running water, he hastens to add -- and eating his meals off a grand piano that doubles as a table.

"I feel at home by the sea, with the sound of it," said the son of a fisherman, whose aforesaid mom used to play Mahler symphonies on the phonograph to calm down her hyperactive child.

"The movement kind of finds its way into my music," he added.   Continued...