Brilliant concert – congratulations everyone!

Thank you and congratulations to everyone involved in last night’s concert. It was a wonderful evening and the packed church added a special atmosphere. I have written to the soloists and Oxybaroxy thanking them for their superb contributions; they were very happy to be involved and pleased to be given the opportunity. Mark Levy wrote to me:
Thanks again for inviting us to play. It’s invaluable experience for the young players. Nice evening all round I thought and you do a great job with the choir, just the right mix of relaxed humour with dedication to the task. Well done.
Another one perhaps in a few years?
That’s nice!

It has been a thoroughly enjoyable term and the music was a nice mix – enough challenge without been fraught and you learnt it well. Lovely to have nearly 80 singers for the late spring concert, our largest attendance. It was actually our last concert with Bernard, but we will see him for the Singday and next term so there is time for a proper ‘send off’. On behalf of everyone I want to thank him for a brilliant contribution to the concert and for all the support in preparation.
 
My VERDIct on the performance was a job thoroughly well done and you should be proud of what you achieved. I felt we hit the dress rehearsal very well prepared and only had to focus on really performing and communicating to the audience. 
 
The Stanford was excellent and drew the most praise (in the few conversations I had with listeners). It was a good opening piece – direct and bold and you gave it some ‘welly’ (vernacular expression).
The Handel was deftly handled, possibly better overall in the afternoon than the evening, but it was very good and I was particularly pleased with how stylish your performance was – light, precise and rhythmic. 
We took a long time to master the Verdi and many members have said how much they enjoyed it – unusual and different. The performance was good, with convincing Italian and you did it well. It lacked strength in places and I couldn’t get more passion/volume out of you despite gesticulating because I never had eye contact with enough of you! This intensely passionate requires much more individual commitment and input and real togetherness than, say, the Handel which motors along due to the counterpoint and rhythmic energy within it. It’s an exposed piece with a lot of short phrases and therefore many starts ‘n’ stops. It was still remarkably good though and in tune which was a major challenge so well done; the ending was particularly effective.
The Vivaldi was just fabulous and like a chilled Prosecco, fizzed with energy, well done. The soloists also sang their best here and you supported the Lorna (alto) in Domine deus superbly with tidy entries and delicately balanced phrases.
Thank you again for an enjoyable and memorable evening and all your hard work. Also to everyone who helped to set up and strike the stage afterwards and to the committee for planning and actions throughout the term.
 
It is particularly pleasing when a concert programme and a term’s hard work just click into place and go so well on the day with a lovely atmosphere and a contented feeling afterwards. That is a credit to everyone involved for being so committed, willing and biddable, and as Mark says above having ‘just the right mix of humour and dedication to the task
 
Many thanks for a very productive term – a good concert, best Music Festival performance ever, a good consultation on future concert pieces and a programme plan for the next 5 years. I hope you come to the Singday and enjoy the Vivaldi again and experience the Voyage. The three Wednesday rehearsals – May 30, June 6 & 13 are to prepare for the Voyage in particular (and also the sops & altos who fancy the Vivaldi solo items!). Just come to as many as you can.
If you can’t make the Singday, do have a wonderful summer and I look forward to seeing you all again on September 5 to start on the Elgar Music Makers and Vaughan Williams Dona nobis pacem.
 
Happy holidays and very best wishes,
 
Peter

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What we did on 25.04.18

We welcomed Chris Brown to accompany the first part of the rehearsal – thank you!

See last week’s post for the rehearsal order on the concert day – 1.15 start please.

The order of the music for the concert on the 12th is:

Magnificat and Nunc Dimitis – Stanford

Tenor solo – Handel

Trumpet Sonata – Purcell

 Bass solo – Handel

O Praise the Lord with one consent – Chandos Anthem No.9 – Handel

INTERVAL

Pater Noster – Verdi

Gloria – Vivaldi

……………………………………

Rehearsal went well – we finished learning Handel Your voices raise… and worked a lot on the Verdi.

What we will do on 02.05.18 

Stanford

Vivaldi – Et in terra p7, Domine fili p22, Cum sancto p42, Domine deus p32 

Handel – Page 47 to the end

Verdi – Sing through

What we will do on 09.05.18

Vivaldi – Gratias p17, Qui tollis p35

Handel – All choruses sing through and sort

Verdi – One last time!

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What we did on 18.04.18

Welcome back everyone – just 3 more rehearsals to go…..

CONCERT DAY TIMETABLE:

There is NOT an extra rehearsal on Friday 11th as we usually do. Seating arrangement will be sorted as much as possible on the last Wednesday rehearsal – May 9th, so please be there!

Saturday 12 May in St Mary’s Church Witney OX28 4AW

Parking – some around the Green in front of the church but best to park by Waitrose or in the multi storey by Sainsbury’s in the middle of the town

1.15  Meet and sort seating

1.45  Stanford (with organ)

2.30  Handel (with Oxybaroxy & soloists)

3.30  Vivaldi (ditto)

4.30  Verdi (with organ)

4.45 Trumpet sonata

5.00 Solo items

5.30 END

What we will rehearse on 25.04.18

Vivaldi – Qui tollis (no 8 on p35); Quoniam (no 10 p40); Et in terra pax

Handel – Recap Your voices raise; Boundless realms; With cheerful notes – to check how these are going

And of course – sing through the Verdi again focusing on text and Dynamics!

Thank you

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What we did on 28.03.18

Thank you everyone for a very productive term with some good progress. The concert repertoire is coming on nicely and our Music Festival performance was the best we have ever done – well done.

We completed a very successful repertoire gathering exercise and the results are published on the website. A small working group examined my suggestions for concert programmes up to summer 2024 and feel confident to present them to the full committee on 19th April.

After a good break and a Happy Easter, we have four rehearsals before going to Witney for our concert on May 12. Very best wishes, Peter.

Verdi: We worked very hard on Pater Noster and conquered most of the Italian. Susan commented on how consistent it was across the choir. We are beginning to enjoy this now and can manage it fairly confidently singing mf throughout, with occasional fortes for the big moments. The challenge next term is to keep it sustained and sing quietly as directed in the score without losing the passion and intensity.

Handel: We recapped Ye boundless realms from last week and it was very good. I reminded everyone about three things:

  • No made up elisions!! So NOT Ye boundless realms of joyYYExalt….. or His praise your song employYYAbove the starry frame. More effort is require to articulate ‘exalt’ and ‘above’ as separate words (which they are). I’m baffled, why the extra Y?!
  • End words clearly and on the beat, with tidy consonants given some effort – ‘fame’ and ‘frame
  • Balancing the dynamics of the various musical themes so the ‘tunes’ stand out, and the less important parts (e.g. long held notes) don’t dominate. More of this next time.

Continued work on the first section of With cheerful notes… (pages 25-28) and finally mixed up to sing through O praise the Lord, which was very nice!

What we will do on 18.04.18

Verdi: Sing it through every week from now to get very familiar with it.

Handel: Let all the earth – second half (p29 to end) then whole thing. Your voices raise (p45)

Stanford: Nunc dimittis

Thank you

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What we did on 21.03.18

Handel: Ye boundless realms – This came together quite quickly and sounded very confident.

Verdi: Page 9 (bar 120) to the end. We have now covered the whole of this piece but it needs singing a lot to get it confident, and we need to work hard on the Italian.

Vivaldi: Et in terra pax & Cum Sancto Spiritu. We discussed ‘lightening up’ and how much more musical and enjoyable this is to sing if we sing more quietly but intensively (clear words and articulation)

We mixed up to sing and there were many positive comments about how useful and enjoyable this was – we will do it again!

What we will do on 28.03.18

Verdi: Sing through, tidy up corners and improve the Italian

Handel: Let all the earth (last done with Bernard on 14th); Your voices raise (not seen for a while); Boundless realms (sing through – sung last week)

Vivaldi: Cum sancto spiritu (sing through – sung last week)

Thank you.

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What we did on 07.03.18

I reminded everyone about these resources for the current programme:

Verdi:

http://www.choralia.net/vr06mp3/vr06mp3en.htm

Handel:
Stanford:  You need to download the file, and not all devices will allow you to do that…
Performance of the Handel:

We devoted this rehearsal to the music festival repertoire. I am delighted that 45 members are turning out to represent the choir on Saturday – thank you.

Tonight’s rehearsal covered the Magnificat and O Praise the Lord and both made huge progress – well done.

 

What we will do on 14.03.18

Bernard will be taking this rehearsal – many thanks in advance

Verdi – Work from p6 to p12, with language work as appropriate

HandelLet all the earth (p25)

VivaldiQui tollis (p35)

 

What we will do on 21.03.18

Verdi – P12 to the end then sing through

HandelBoundless realms (p38)

VivaldiEt in terra (p7)

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LEARNING SUPPORT for Handel, Verdi and Stanford

Stanford:  You need to download the file, and not all devices will allow you to do that…
Performance of the Handel:

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What we did on 28.02.18

Thank you to everyone who made it to the rehearsal this week – challenging conditions, not least a chilly room, but we persevered!

Notices:

Music Festival – Saturday 10th. Please be at the Town Hall by 4.00 and find a seat in the main hall. The class will be finished about 6.00. There are no facilities for warming up so please do some ‘sirening’ and vocal exercises on the way in the car! We will perform the Gloria exercise we have used as a warm up, Magnificat and O Praise the Lord. Please practise these as we only have a short time on them next week. Dress for this event is normal concert wear plus something red (scarf, jewellery, bow tie etc…). Thank you.

Music:

Verdi – We did a lot of careful work on the first six pages, paying attention to the notes rather than the words. The Italian will be easier to get our mouths around once we are confident with the music. Pater noster is not available in any of the learning resources, but helpful for getting the idea is this performance:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUUqDQw0gw8 

Handel O praise the Lord. More progress was made on the second half (from fig D p7).

Magnificat – We ran this at the end.

What we will do on 07.03.18

Verdi – Page 6 (bar 75) to the end. HAVE YOU NUMBERED YOUR BARS?

Vivaldi – Gratias (p17), Cum sancto (p42)

At 9.00 we will run the festival pieces with those who are singing.

 

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What we did on 21.02.18

INFO UPDATE….

  • Post-it note repertoire gathering exercise results shared – 145 pieces! – Thank you
  • 15 suggestions have been taken to plan provisional programmes to Christmas 2023! These will be announced after careful consideration by committee and directors.
  • Spring 2019 – Definitely THE AFRICAN SANCTUS by David Fanshawe!!
  • BLOXHAM SINGING DAY (March 18) – So far 10 members have signed up – thank you. Any more? Contact Alex Redpath ajr@bloxhamschool.com
  • Chipping Norton Music Festival: Saturday March 10
  • Our Singday on June 16 – 10.00-7.00 (inc performanc) – £20. Register and pay online (set up in progress)

REHEARSAL…..

Stanford Magnificat – We did a lot of thorough work on this once it had settled down and we got comfortable with the notes. Careful attention must be paid to:

  • Note endings – rhythmic and with clear consonants
  • Expressing the phrases musically – don’t be afraid to enjoy the Romanticism of the harmony even though this music is rather ‘functional’ being part of the Evening Canticles and part of a C of E Evensong service rather than concert/entertainment music
  • Be careful with vowel sounds – e.g. the words ‘me‘, ‘Name‘, ‘meek‘. listen and match

 Vivaldi Gratias (p17) – Careful work with the first 6 bars – tuning is crucial. Anything with a # sign by it needs care! These notes are either moving chromatically (by a semitone), or an unusually large whole tone and risk being flat. Listen and pay attention at these points. Basses – to confirm: The note on ‘tibi‘ in bar 3 should be an A (not A# as in some copies).

The Allegro section is straightforward and short. There is only one ‘tune’, which everyone sings, so they must match. Make the first 4 notes light and staccato – aim for the ‘glor-‘ syllable, crescendo a little through the quaver decoration, aiming for the final falling 3 notes. Start this mp, be expressive with the tune but keep to that overall dynamic. Crescendo in bars 16/17, then f from bar 18 to the end.

Handel opening chorus (p2) – On 07.02.18 we did a lot of work on this from section D (p7) and in my notes I carefully pointed out the subtle difference in the main melody lines (one is an arpeggio and the other is a scale). Worth reading again as there were still a lot of mistakes this week! Overall this was pretty good and just needs to become familiar so we can relax into it.

What we will do on 28.02.18

Handel: O praise (p2) and Your voices raise (p45) in sectionals

Verdi: Pages 1-4 (recap), pages 5/6, page 7 (bar 92) – 9

Stanford: Finish the Magnificat

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What we did on 07.02.18

BLOXHAM Come along and sing:

Vivaldi Gloria  Sunday March 18 (10-4) Bloxham School Recital Room

Tuesday 20 (5.30-6.30)  with  Concert (7.30) St Mary’s Church Bloxham

TO REGISTER Please email Director of Music Alex Redpath at ajr@bloxhamschool.com

Thank you to Susannah for supplying an excellent pronunciation guide for the Verdi Italian and for helping us sound native! We sang pages 1-4 and made a good start.

Have a listen/look: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUUqDQw0gw8

Sung in a splendid Italian church this is conducted by my first head of department! The pace is good, it stays in tune and even ends a tad sharp – some achievement!

HOMEWORK – Please add bar numbers to your score – number the 1st bar of each system (block of staves). There are a total of 174!

Handel: O praise the Lord from fig D (p7). Make sure you know confidently the difference between the main theme (Sops at D) and the descending scale passage (e.g. tenor entry just after this) – they begin the same but aren’t! Sops – breathe in your long passage bottom of p8 in the following places – p9 first quaver, bar 3 first quaver.

Ye boundless realms of joy – There are 4 components to this movement:

  1. The opening theme (altos Ye…..fame)
  2. Short rising passage (exalt exalt, developed into exalt your Maker’s fame)
  3. Hymn-like phrase – His praise your song employ – chordal and everyone moves together
  4. New ‘climbing’ theme (up to the ‘starry frame’) in tenors p41 fig C

It is useful to identify each of these to differentiate the way they are sung and to give the movement some contrast. Basses be careful – your line leaps around a lot, particularly at cadences, so practise for accuracy. Sopranos – entry in bar 4 has an E natural. This catches you out because the music lands on F major but hasn’t actually modulated (there is no E nat or cadence into F)- your entry confirms the key (Lecturette on Key modulations is available on request!!). Altos – tricky little passage on the page turn 43-44, look out.

NO REHEARSAL ON 21st – HALF TERM BREAK

What we will do on 21.02.18

Stanford – Magnificat and Nunc dimittis

Verdi – Pages 1-4 (recap), pages 5/6, page 7 (bar 92) – 9

Vivaldi – Gratias (p17)

Thank you.

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