Our Singing Detective Strikes Again!

After solving the puzzle of the 3 Rossini motets which we sang recently, I have been on the trail of a mystery composer. Our conductor Dan had chosen the carol Make we joy for our Christmas concert. The score bore the date May-June 1985 and the name of David Morgan. But there seemed to be no less than five different composers called David Morgan! And I could find no direct link between any of these and Make we joy.

An appeal on Facebook resulted in what seemed to be a breakthrough. A fellow LCS singer found a 2006 concert review in the Washington Post referring to “David Sydney Morgan’s bouncy Make we joy”. I emailed the Australian Music Centre, on whose website I’d first come across that particular Mr Morgan. The reply from New South Wales revealed however that he was not our man. The journalistic skills of the Washington Post had clearly gone downhill since the Watergate days of Bernstein and Woodward!

My hunch was that a certain David C Morgan (whose year of birth was variously given as 1932 or 1946) was our man. There was a short biography on the website of the Norfolk Composers Group, of which he was a member. Meanwhile another fellow LCS singer contacted the Friends of Cathedral Music which turned up someone who actually knew the man! I was obviously getting closer to my goal.

My messages to the Composers Group finally gave me a definitive answer. David Christopher Morgan himself (born 1946) confirmed that he was indeed the carol’s composer. He was “delighted” that we would be “giving this piece an airing” and asked me to convey his thanks to everyone involved. He was playing continuo in Messiah at Norwich Cathedral the evening of our concert so could not join us. But he wished us every success and hoped that his contribution would “bring joy to all”!

Case solved!

The Singing Detective (aka Martin Bull)

[Image: Norfolk Composers]

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