THE MASS AND THE MADRIGAL
On Saturday, 28th September 2013 the choir performed at the Church of St George and St Teresa in Dorridge presenting a programme of music entitled The Mass and the Madrigal, an evening of sacred and secular music including works dedicated to Queen Elizabeth I of England.
The Mass included music by William Byrd and Thomas Tallis, featuring Byrd’s Mass for Four Voices.
The Madrigal featured music by a range of composers collected and compiled by Thomas Morley and published in 1601 as The Triumphs of Oriana, with texts that used literary allusions from Greek and Latin classics to flatter Queen Elizabeth I. Every madrigal in the collection ends with “thus sang the shepherds and nymphs of Diana; long live fair Oriana”, the name "Oriana" often being used to refer to Queen Elizabeth.
CAROLS BY CANDELIGHT
On Sunday, 22nd December the choir sang traditional Christmas carols along with other seasonal music at Nuthurst Grange Hotel, Hockley Heath, Warwickshire B94 5NL as part of the hotel's pre-Christmas celebrations.
On Saturday, 12th July and Sunday, 13th July 2014 the choir sang at Hampton Church and Lapworth Church respectively. We were accompanied by a "scratch" string quartet brought together by our conductor and they were magnificent! Both concerts were well attended as we performed four motet's by Anton Bruckner,
Beethoven's Elegischer Gesang, and Mozart's Ave verum corpus before launching into the Gloria by Vivaldi.
O MAGNUM MYSTERIUM
On Sunday, 30th November 2014 to celebrate the first day of Advent, the choir performed to a sell-out audience in Hampton-in-Arden Parish Church, singing well loved advent music plus a setting of the Magnificat by Pergolesi. Accompanied by Darren Hogg on organ.
The choir sang the German Requiem by Brahms at Knowle Parish Church on Saturday, 18 July and at the Parish Centre, Sandhills Road, Barnt Green on Sunday, 19 July 2015.
The choir performed the “one piano, four hands” version of this beautiful work, a reduction from the full orchestral version produced by the composer himself which makes the work more intimate, more delicate, and even more personal.
In addition to the Requiem, the choir sang the five spirituals from A Child of Our Time by the British composer, Michael Tippett - "Steal Away", "Nobody Knows the Trouble I See, Lord", "Go Down, Moses", "O, By and By" and "Deep River".
Finally, the programme included Fantasia (Op 103 D940) by Schubert one of his most important works for “one piano, four hands”.
The pianists were Sara Willander and Iain Jackson, whilst Charlotte Howes (soprano) and Mark Schampier (baritone) dealt admiriably with the solo section of the Requiem.
A CONCERT FOR ST CECILIA'S DAY
St Cecilia's Day was celebrated by the choir with music by Charles Gounod (St Cecilia Mass), Heinrich Schutz (Christmas Story) and Jacob Handl (Musica musarum germana).
The works by Gounod and Schutz are realtively unknown but are no less musically beautiful for all that. Perhaps the most recognised piece is the Sanctus from the St Cecilia Mass.
The choir was accompanied by Stephen Perrins on organ, whilst solo sections were sung by members of the choir: Joanne Warburton (soprano), Ellie Ballard (alto), Clement Schoepfer (tenor), James Mitchell (tenor) and Mark Schampier (baritone).
PERGOLESI STABAT MATER
plus other sacred European choral music
The choir performed the Stabat Mater by Pergolesi composed in 1736 in the final weeks of his life. Originally scored for soprano and alto voices, the choir sang an arrangement for SATB by Desmond Ratcliffe. The Stabat Mater is one of Pergolesi's most celebrated sacred works.
In addition, the concert included other pieces of sacred choral music from around Europe, to include works by Lotti, Victoria, Grieg, Poulenc, Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov, to name but a few!
Solo sections were sung by members of the choir: Joanne Warburton (soprano) and Ellie Ballard (alto).
November 2016 saw the choir singing concerts with a French theme. The "centre piece" was the lovely Requiem by Faure with solo's from Joanne Warburton (soprano), March Schampier (baritone), Duncan Shrewsbury (tenor) and Ed Thorpe (tenor).
For the first half of the concert the choir sang three unaccompanied collections of music by Debussy, Poulenc and Durufle. The collections are not often performed which is a shame given the beauty of the music. Difficult and challenging works, but well worth the effort.
The choir was accompanied by organist Stephen Perrins who also played a couple of pieces, one by Louis Vierne and another by Marcel Dupre.
Our concerts in June 2017 centred on two beautiful, yet contrasting, pieces, the Little Organ Mass (Haydn) and Dixit Dominus, a tour de force by Handel.
The choir was accompanied by five, talented young string players from the Birmingham Conservatoire, Jeffrey Armstrong and Seb Wyss (violin), Matthew Johnstone and Kate Kang (viola) and Aaron Billson (cello).
Soloists were members of the choir: Susannah Hoskins, Lorna Sykes, Marjorie Walsh and Joanne Warburton (soprano); Ellie Ballard (alto); Clement Schoepfer and Ed Sykes (tenor) and David Russell (bass).