Author Archives: Bernard West

New Accompanist and Assistant Conductor sought!

Chipping Norton Choral Society is seeking an outstanding rehearsal accompanist and assistant conductor to take over from Bernard West who has been with us for fifteen years. For more details about the post and how to apply, see the Assistant Conductor Post page.

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What we did on 22.11.17

A very encouraging rehearsal – it’s all sounding much more confident and stylish.  We started gently with Qui tollis, after welcoming a real-life Francesco in an appropriate manner.  Keep remembering to grow through the tied notes & you need to keep a sense of movement right through the longer phrases, even though it’s slow.  Sopranos, keep your vowels bright to help with tuning.

Then we had a quick look at the Gloria, really gripping the opening consonants.  We tidied up some notes in the Et in terra pax, in particular p.43.  Do make sure you know which beat your entry is just after.  In the final section, from p.49, keep runs of semiquavers light at all times – style is more important than concentrating on every note, and it allows the ‘et in terra pax’ tune through.

The Confiteor started off light and stylish, but don’t let yourself get bogged down several pages in.  Basses need to be ready for the entry at the top of p.182 – it’s structurally very important, and much better when you prepare it.  In the Adagio (p.186-8), particularly when you get quieter on p.187, keep the ‘expectation’ there so it doesn’t sag.  And no extraneous noises in bars 137-8 when it’s meant to be just the 1st sops!

We ran Cum sancto spiritu.  Again, stay light when you’ve got long runs of semiquavers to let the fugue subject come through, and to save your energy.

As promised, we had a random selection to finish with: Dona nobis pacem needs you to remember to keep counting when you get to the end of runs of quavers and back into long notes – like the Highway Code says on leaving motorways, your speed may be higher than you realise.  Kyrie 1 needs everyone to remember to slur the pairs of quavers in the fugue subject every single time; also, keep your throat open on the ‘eh’ vowel, particularly in the middle of ele—-ison, and especially when singing higher.  Lots more initial consonant on ‘Kyrie’ would be good.  We finished with a sing-through of Gratias agimus tibi.

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Samson Movements

This may not be the final list, but the current list of chorus movements from Samson that we’re working on is:

p.8 Awake the trumpet’s lofty sound
p.52 Then round about the starry throne
p.110 Fix’d in his everlasting seat
p.124 With thunder armed
p.136 To fame immortal go
p.143 Great Dagon has subdued our foe
p.153 Hear us, our God
p.163 Glorious hero
p.173 Let their celestial concerts all unite

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New conductor’s notes page

As promised, here’s the new Conductor’s Notes page, bringing you updates after every rehearsal.  The aim of this page is to help those who’ve missed a rehearsal, to act as an aide-memoire for those who were there, and to help you prepare for the following week’s rehearsal more efficiently.

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