Rizza, Margaret

 

 

Margaret Rizza is one of my favourite composers. Strange to think, looking at the photo, that she is in her 70’s! Her compositions appear to come from a deep faith and regular daily prayer and meditation. (In fact she says that she can only compose after a period of meditation). She only came to her faith in her fifties, and only relatively recently did she become involved in composition. As Margaret Lensky she opera singer she sang on all the major stages, worked with Britten, Stravinsky, and Bernstein, and then became a teacher at Guildhall school of Music. Exploration of Buddhism meditation followed, before returning to Christian meditation, and she did voluntary work at Maidstone Prison, giving singing lessons.                                                                                                                                                                                                                     The  The pieces we use are mostly short, and can be repeated over and over, a bit like a mantra, and are very suitable for small choirs or congregational singing. The harmonies of these little pieces are easy to learn but still rich and interesting. She admits that modulation (changing from one key to another) is not one of her strong points, but perhaps this simplicity is what makes her music so charming. Long may she keep composing!