Songs of Solace

Songs of Solace is a musical response to Julie Nicholson’s book A Song for Jenny. The book details the harrowing events surrounding the 7/7 London bombings in which the lives of Julie’s daughter Jenny and fifty-one others were cruelly taken. I was first introduced to Julie in the immediate aftermath of that event. She contacted me to ask if she might use one of my pieces (Mortal Flesh) as part of Jenny’s funeral service in Bristol Cathedral. The writing and recording of this disc has been a 5 year process - gradually refining the material through live performances until it felt ready. The songs with words are all settings of texts quoted in the book or included in Jenny’s funeral service. The songs without words are a more visceral response to having read and re-read the book: sorrow, questioning, anger, despair, grief, memory, love. Christian Forshaw, April 2012
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"Christian Forshaw and the Sanctuary Ensemble are perfectionists. Perfect sonorities with a perfect delivery from Christian (Composer,soprano/alto/baritone saxophone) Grace Davidson (soprano voice), Rob Farrer (percussion), Alexander Mason (organ) and, on one track, three more voices. The material, all composed and directed by Chrisian, was inspired by a book "A Song for Jenny" written by Julie Ncholson the mother of a victim of the London 7/7 bombing. Over some 5 years Christian has refined the material on this disc through live performances one of which I was privileged to hear (in Southwell Minster). In my opinion a live performance has an edge over a recording but it's only marginal. With sung and spoken text on 6 of the sections the work cannot be described as an easy listen neither is it particularly rich in saxophone performance. As the title implies it is a modern work requiring contemplation." - Kenneth J. Morris 

"This ensemble of musicians, of which Christian is but a part (a critical part, but a part nonetheless), produce thoughtful evocative music for reflection and immersion. Time listening to this recording is time well spent." - Michael Ashton

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