The old Benedictine Abbey of Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, among the richest monastic complexes in pre-Reformation England, invested much of its wealth in religious art and artefacts. One of its star craftsmen, known to history as Master Hugo, may have carved the cross of walrus ivory now housed in The Cloisters in New York City. Scenes from the ornate sacred relic were brought to life in Bingham’s dance-drama The Ivory Tree
(2002–4), commissioned to celebrate the addition of a new tower to St Edmundsbury Cathedral. The composer returned to the work’s fourth motet, Jesum quaeritis Nazarenum
, refashioning it for boy treble and organ in 2012. Here the lone voice reports the words of the risen Christ from within the tomb, their significance burnished in Bingham’s setting by subtle harmonic modulations, which in turn are anchored to the stable foundations of a repeated ground bass.
from notes by Andrew Stewart © 2013