Conductor’s Notes – 11.05.22

What a brilliant start we’ve had to this term. It’s lovely to see so many of you, and to have so many so enthused about this concert. Wednesday’s rehearsal went really well and we covered a lot of the hard bits of some of the trickiest pieces.

What we did on 11.05.22

We did some really good work on Zadok the Priest‘s fiddly passages, created a great sound in the homophonic passages, and worked on the style of the work (including the “Amen”s and “Alleluiah”s). I’m really impressed with the quality of the singing in Parry’s I Was Glad; we did lots of detailed work on the antiphonal and homophonic sections at the beginning. Finally, we finished with Thou Wilt Keep Him which was beautiful. We still need to do a bit of work on the style and just solidify some pitches, but the progress made in the rehearsal was very impressive.

What we will do on 18.05.22

We’ll work on the Parry from the “Vivats” to the end; Stanford’s Jubilate, looking in particular at the style of the work; and finally a bit on the National Anthem.

Important Information for Wednesday 18th

A note about this rehearsal: due to the re-carpeting of the church, we’ll be down in the room downstairs. Eric will provide more details in his email, but do note that it’s a slightly smaller space than what we’re used to. For this reason, we’ll be ventilating the room throughout the evening, and if you are able please do take an LFT before attending (we know you have to pay for these now, so we understand if you’re unable to test). As always, we’ll be taking all the precautions to avoid Covid, especially in this smaller space.

Online Learning Tracks

As I posted last week: there are some useful resources out there to help with learning the music. Choralia, the same website as last term, has some of the repertoire we’re doing – you just need to search their catalogue here.

Eric has very kindly shared another website that he finds useful for learning the music: John Fletcher’s Files. If you have any more questions about it, please do email Eric and I’m sure he’d be happy to chat about it.

Spotify Link

The Spotify playlist for the term is HERE. I hope it also helps in learning the music for this term.

Marked Scores

Here’s the marked booklet for this term. Please do put the markings in as it’s SO helpful for in making rehearsals run more efficiently. I’m sure it won’t take you much time at all.

Summer Come-and-Sing day

As I mentioned last week, we’ll be having a Come-and-Sing day on the 23rd July (venue tbc), working on Gabriel Faure’s Requiem. It’s a cracking piece, so listen here to whet your appetite. Susannah will be giving us a sign-up list so we can get an idea of numbers, in order to hire scores. More details anon…

See you all on Wednesday!
– Ben

Continue ReadingConductor’s Notes – 11.05.22

Conductor’s Notes – First one of the Term

I can’t believe how long it’s taken me to post the first Conductor’s Notes of the Summer Term! It’s been a fabulous start to the term, and I’m so pleased to see so many of you enjoying such a fun set of music, and a huge welcome to our new members this term.

This is a bit of a long one with lots of helpful information, and a few interesting bits.

What we did on 27th April and 4th May

It was great to run through everything on the 27th April. I hope it was a good introduction to the programme, and well done to all for keeping up as we rattled through all of the pieces.

On the 4th, we did some work on the Old Hundredth, as well as both bits of Stanford (the Te Deum and Jubilate). The bits of Stanford, as challenging as they are at times, went really well, and over the forthcoming weeks we’ll explore more of the tricky harmonies and harder rhythmic sections. We then finished with Rutter’s The Lord Bless You and Keep You, which was a beautiful way to end the rehearsal.

Just FYI about the Vaughan Williams copies: all of those with photocopies, they are all legal as Susannah was able to get a photocopying licence. There seems to be a massive Vaughan Williams shortage this year due to it being his 150th anniversary.

What we will do on 11th May

We’ll be working on Parry’s I Was Glad, Handel’s Zadok the Priest, and Wesley’s Thou Wilt Keep Him.

Online Learning Tracks

As with last term, there are some useful resources out there to help with learning the music. Choralia, the same website as last term, has some of the repertoire we’re doing – you just need to search their catalogue here.

Eric has very kindly shared another website that he finds useful for learning the music: John Fletcher’s Files. If you have any more questions about it, please do email Eric and I’m sure he’d be happy to chat about it.

Spotify Link

The Spotify playlist for the term is HERE. I hope it also helps in learning the music for this term.

Marked Scores

Here’s the marked booklet for this term. Please do put the markings in as it’s SO helpful for in making rehearsals run more efficiently. I’m sure it won’t take you much time at all.

Section Reps

A massive thanks to our new Section Representatives. I’m looking forward to working very closely with them over the next year to keep moving the choir forwards. Just a reminder of who your fabulous new Section Reps are:

Soprano: Rachel
Alto: Naomi
Tenor: Peter
Bass: Bill

Any feedback, questions, or comments, please feel free to talk to them, or of course email me or Eric directly – we’re always here to chat.

Listening For The Week

Last weekend I went down to Cornwall to sing with a group called Man(n) Singt! – a German male-voice choir – as part of the Cornwall International Male Choral Festival. We came second overall (another German choir came first…) and we also won Best Single Piece of Music, with Poulenc’s O mes tres chers freres – which begins with a solo sung by their Artistic Director of the group and my good friend Peter Gortner. You may recognise a couple of the Acafellas in there as well.

Check out our performance HERE.

See you all on Wednesday!
– Ben

Continue ReadingConductor’s Notes – First one of the Term

Conductor’s Notes – Spring Concert

Wow! What a concert! I think we can all agree that that was something special. Well done to you all for your commitment and dedication to an incredible term of rehearsals and to such a high-level performance. I’m so grateful to you all for putting in those countless hours learning the music, marking up the scores, and practicing your parts; it paid off with a concert you should all be so proud of!

The Verdi was such a great opening to the concert – I could feel the audience pinned back in their seats (that feeling of when you hurtle down the runway in a plane) when the choir came in at the beginning. It was an arresting start, and you only gained momentum as we went on. The soli entries, such as the altos’ luxurious passage in the middle, were a pleasure to listen to, and the tutti sections were so full-bodied and committed. Safe to say I’ve revised my orchestration to take out the text “play if choir need” in the score – what was I thinking, of course you didn’t need support! The climax at the end was truly… truly breathtaking! I had the largest grin on my face, seeing and listening to you all give it your all on that fortissimo chord! An absolute success!

At this point, I think I speak on behalf of everyone when I say how lucky we were to have the Adderbury Ensemble playing with us! Chris did an absolutely stellar job in fixing a first-rate orchestra who supported the choir with such delicacy, but also shone when we wanted them to. It was an absolute privilege to have them with us, and I can’t wait until our next performance with them. I say this because I’ve been overwhelmed by choir members’ comments on how much they enjoyed Crisantemi. I honestly think that if I weren’t focusing so hard on my conducting I would have just broken down in tears because it was just that moving! The playing from the whole orchestra throughout the concert was impeccable, but the strings truly shone in that bit of Puccini.

And of course, the star of the show, the Messa di Gloria – the whole performance was just filled with life, character, and enough energy to power Deddington! The Kyrie was beautiful, but where the second half came alive was in the Gloria. All throughout the opening I could tell how much fun everyone was having, and I could feel the tingle of excitement from the audience behind me. I’m incredibly grateful to our soloists Michael Gibson and James Berry for their incredible solos in the piece; everything was world-class, and from my point of view they were a dream to follow. I also hope they don’t mind me saying how much they enjoyed singing with you all too. To sum up the Gloria (and the concert as a whole) – someone just behind me, at the end of the Gloria, exclaimed “what an incredible sound!”

The Credo had such passion, and I felt like we really connected all the way through in our interpretation of it. It’s moments like that which I wish everyone could experience from a conductor’s point of view; a choir, orchestra, soloist, and conductor all working in harmony, sharing the same interpretation of a piece of music – truly something magical. The Sanctus, Benedictus, and Agnus Dei were just perfect. Contrasting those movements with the bombastic, truly ‘Italian’ movements which came before were just such a lovely way to end our concert, and really provided such wonderful distinction and character to the bigger sounds we explored earlier in the work. I’m putting the lack of immediate applause at the end of the work down to the audience being stunned… rather, profoundly moved… by the performance as a whole.

I’m incredibly proud of everyone involved in the performance, and can’t wait to see what else we can achieve!

I think it goes without saying that I’m incredibly grateful to the hard work and diligence of everyone involved “backstage” to ensure we put on a brilliant concert. The committee, for all of their work in organising the rehearsals, venues, music, concert details, among so many other things; all those who publicised the concert, through posting online, designing posters and programmes, selling tickets; and those who came early and stayed behind late to help set up the church, and the rehearsals, and put in so much ‘manual-labour’ to ensure everything happened so seamlessly. We couldn’t put on a concert like that without an incredible team of volunteers who ensure everything actually happens, so thank you all!

What we will do on 27th April

Obviously there’s nothing for you to actually prepare yet, so all I ask is that you check out this term’s Spotify playlist below, and keep you eyes peeled for when a marked-up score becomes available. It’s going to be such a fun summer term!

Spotify Link

The Spotify playlist for our “Pomp and Pimms” concert is HERE.

Have a lovely Easter break, and see you all on the 27th April.
– Ben

Continue ReadingConductor’s Notes – Spring Concert

Conductor’s Notes – 30.03.22

Well done for our final Wednesday rehearsal of this term! I think you can all agree it’s really coming together, and I can’t wait to put it all together with the orchestra and soloists. This will be my last “Conductor’s Notes” post before the concert, so if I haven’t answered any questions here, please do drop me or Eric an email.

What we did on 23.03.22

Everything in the Gloria ‘run’ went very well. We topped and tailed small sections to make sure they were really secure.

I feel like we’re all a lot more confident with the Verdi now, especially once we’d worked on the final couple of sections, as well as finding our notes for the starts of sections and working on the text.

What we will do on 01.04.22

How is it April already?! Friday 1st’s rehearsal will be a ‘top and tail’ of everything – we should know which bits will challenge us individually, so please come prepared. Having said this, I don’t want to work you too hard as to tire you out for tomorrow, so we’ll need lots of focus to work efficiently.

A reminder that the rehearsal will be at ST PETER & ST PAUL’S CHURCH, DEDDINGTON!

Concert Day Rehearsal Schedule – Saturday 2nd April:

Set-up and Arrival:
14:00-14:30
Choir arrive and in seats by 14:20.
• Orchestra arrives and tunes by 14:25.
• Soloists arrive.

Rehearsal 1:
14:30-15:10 – Puccini Gloria.
15:10-15:30 – Puccini Credo.
15:30-15:45 – Puccini Agnus Dei.

Break:
15:45-16:00

Rehearsal 2:
16:00-16:20 – Puccini Sanctus.
16:20-16:40 – Puccini Kyrie. (Soloists free to leave.)
16:40-17:15 – Verdi Stabat Mater.
17:15-17:30 – Puccini Crysantimi. (Woodwind, Brass, Percussion & Choir free to leave.)

Concert:
19:10 – Choir arrives, warm up, and ready to go on by 19:25.
19:30 – Concert begins.

Concert Dress

is either Tuxedos (Dinner Jacket, White Shirt, Black Bow-Tie, Black Trousers and Black Shoes) or All Black.

Marked Scores

As always, the marked scores are here. I’d be very sad if you hadn’t put these markings in by this point, haha!

Spotify Link

And the Spotify playlist is HERE.

See you all tonight!
– Ben

Continue ReadingConductor’s Notes – 30.03.22

Conductor’s Notes – 23.03.22

What a great rehearsal on Wednesday – the whole programme is in a really good place, and now we’ve got the final push towards the concert on Saturday.

I’ll be sending out a detailed rehearsal schedule for the concert day and any other final bits in time for our rehearsal on Friday.

What we did on 23.03.22

Some really good work on the hardest bits of the programme; the Credo and the Stabat Mater. The Credo is now performance ready, and we’ll cover it again on Friday and Saturday – keep this one ticking over until then. The Verdi is almost perfect and we’ll perfect it on the 30th.

What we will do on 30.03.22

19:30-20:15 – A run of the Gloria – it’s in such a good position, we just need to check it all the way through.
20:15-20:30 – Verdi, working on each section starting from the end.
20:40-21:30 – Verdi continued.

This is going to be such an exciting concert, and I can’t wait to bring it together with the orchestra and soloists.

Concert Details

Eric will be sending out all of the concert details for Saturday, but just a quick reminder of the timings and locations for both days:

Friday 1st April:
19:30-21:30
St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Deddington.

Saturday 2nd April:
Rehearsal: 14:30-17:30 (please be ready for baton-down at 14:30)
Concert: 19:30-21:45 (ready to go on by 19:15)
St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Deddington.

Piece of the Week

Following a successful newChoir concert on Saturday, I can’t stop listening to the Songs and Sonnets from Shakespeare by George Shearing. They’re such fun pieces and a joy to sing and listen to! Have a LISTEN HERE.

Marked Scores

As always, the marked scores are here. If you haven’t yet put the markings in, I’d greatly appreciate it if you would.

Spotify Link

And the Spotify playlist is HERE.
– Ben

Continue ReadingConductor’s Notes – 23.03.22

Conductor’s Notes – 16.03.22

Greetings from Karlsruhe, Germany… is what I was hoping to write. Unfortunately my connection to the internet was incredibly limited, and most of the time was spent singing; not the worst thing in the world! So, I’m writing these from boring old Birmingham instead. I’m sorry to only just get these posted, but I did have a wonderful time!

I was really impressed with Wednesday 16th’s rehearsal, not only because of the standard of singing, but of the quality and commitment by the depleted numbers who could make it, especially in the tenors!

What we did on 16.03.22

A great recap of the Agnus Dei to warm us up. I won’t cover this until a ‘sing-through’ on Friday 1st’s rehearsal, so make sure you keep it fresh in your memories.
Good work on the Credo – a few more bits to cover this week, but we did some excellent rehearsing of the final ‘Coda’ at the end.
The Gloria was great. We’ve now covered that end section pretty extensively, so will be top-and-tailing it for the remaining few rehearsals.
Finally, good work on the Verdi – it’s been a few weeks since we covered it, and you remembered it well, with some prompting, haha! We’ll keep working on this over the forthcoming weeks.

What we will do on 23.03.22

19:30-20:15 – Straight in with some hard work in the Gloria, page 21-33. Lots to cover and lots to remind ourselves of.
20:15-20:30 – Verdi, bar 143-End, working hard on pronunciation and performance.
20:40-21:00 – Verdi continued.
21:00-21:30 – Finally we’ll finish with the Credo, pages 51-67.

Another long evening, but you’re all doing amazingly and it promises to be an amazing concert.

Section Representatives

A little reminder about what was said about trialing our idea of Section Representatives.

Title – Section Representative.

Purpose – to form a Group with the MD to act as a conduit for conversations between the MD and the choir in order for both to flourish.

Scope – to be agreed by the Group and might include repertoire, concert arrangements, the location and handling of rehearsals. The Group might extend it’s scope to include the Accompanist.

Meetings and reporting – to be agreed, but should arrange to meet at regular intervals. The MD should report on the discussions to the CNCS Committee and then communicate actions via Conductor’s Notes.

Term  Our initial thinking is that people will be SRs for a year and then hand over the role to another singer from their section. We’ll get this off the ground by asking people to volunteer at the rehearsal on Wed 23rd as they sign in; if there are several names, we’ll draw one for each section out of a hat but keep the other names on a list and either nominate them next time, or, if there are several, draw names as before.

New Accompanist

It’s with great pleasure that we announce Rowena Gibbons as our new accompanist, following a very positive selection process. Rowena will be joining us at the end of April, and I’m sure you’re all looking forward to welcoming her into the CNCS Community as much as I am.

I’d like to also take a moment to thank the wonderful Bernard and Terry for their incredible work over the past term with us, as well as their many years of fantastic service to the choir!

Piece of the Week

So you can hear the sort of thing I was getting up to in Germany, the group with which I was singing – Man(n) Singt! – recorded a CD a few years ago, and it’s available on Spotify. Some of the repertoire we sang over the weekend is on the CD, including Herr, lehre doch mich and Der Lindenbaum – have a LISTEN HERE.

Marked Scores

As always, the marked scores are here. If you haven’t yet put the markings in, I’d greatly appreciate it if you would.

Spotify Link

And the Spotify playlist is HERE.

Have a lovely weekend.
– Ben

Continue ReadingConductor’s Notes – 16.03.22

Conductor’s Notes – 09.03.22

It was lovely to see you all again, especially following our success on Saturday at the Music Festival. I think I’m only just beginning to come down off the high of the day! Well done to our second candidate, and to you all – safe to say you made both of our candidates feel incredibly welcome and comfortable during their auditions, welcoming them with warm smiles and responsive singing.
We’ll hopefully have a decision by this coming Wednesday, along with some other news, so stay tuned!

What we did on 09.03.22

What a good way to start the rehearsal, by refreshing the Sanctus. This easy movement was remembered well, and it got us nicely into the Puccini mood. We then did some excellent work on the Credo, pages 60-67, before consolidating the opening of the Gloria and working on the Fugue in the Gloria. At the end there was some brilliant singing in the fugue, and I’m so pleased with how we left it at the end of the rehearsal.

What we will do on 16.03.22

We’ll be catching back up with the Verdi for a lot of the rehearsal, as well as running the Credo and the end of the Gloria. Lots to get done, but we’re in the final push now!

19:30-20:00 – We’ll warm up with the Agnus Dei from the Messa – let’s refresh our memories on this.
20:00-20:25 – Credo – starting with a run of the movement, followed by bits of work on the sections we’re not quite as comfortable with.
20:35-21:00 – We’ll run the Gloria from page 33 to the end, ie the fugue that we worked on last week.
21:00-21:30 – Finally we’ll finish with the Verdi bars 89-158.

Long evening, I know, but it’s so exciting to be doing such great detailed work on all of this now.

Piece of the Week

I was listening to the morning programme on BBC Radio 3 on Tuesday morning and, being International Women’s Day, they were playing music exclusively by female composers. There was one piece that really stuck out to me, due to its beauty and incredible harmonies; a piece by Ukrainian composer Galina Grigorjeva called In Paradisum. I just found listening to the piece profoundly moving, almost welling up as I sat in my car about to teach. One doesn’t need to believe in God, but the text was striking, especially when listened to in the current crisis, as set by a Ukrainian composer:
“May the angels lead you into paradise; may the martyrs receive you at your arrival and lead you to the holy city Jerusalem. May choirs of angels receive you and with Lazarus, once a poor man, may you have eternal rest.”
Do please have a listen to this absolutely gorgeous piece HERE.

Marked Scores

As always, the marked scores are here. If you haven’t yet put the markings in, I’d greatly appreciate it if you would.

Spotify Link

And the Spotify playlist is HERE.

Have a lovely weekend.
– Ben

Continue ReadingConductor’s Notes – 09.03.22

Conductor’s Notes – 05.03.22

What’s this?! Another Conductor’s Notes in the same week?! How exciting!

A massive congratulations to you all for the success in the Music Festival yesterday. I’m so, so pleased with how it went, and am so proud of everyone who took part. It’s always a scary experience working with a new conductor/choir in performance for the first time, but I think you all handled it perfectly, and the performance was just wonderful. The other Acafellas were incredibly impressed with both the quality of the sound and the level of sophistication of the performance.

For those who couldn’t stay for the feedback, Steven Roberts, the adjudicator, said some brilliant things – a lot of great observations and ways to enhance our performance (some of which I’ve been telling you for weeks… haha!), as well as some very nice commendations. To achieve a ‘Distinction’ for our first performance together is something we should all be very proud of.
(If Eric lets me keep the feedback sheet, it’ll go in a frame on my office wall, next to the Puccini poster)…

Below are the “Adjudicator’s Remarks”, along with my comments (credit to Eric for helping me decipher some sentences…):

Adjudicator’s Remarks

Kyrie

A beautifully shaped piano introduction. – absolutely. I think we can all agree that Bernard played phenomenally, and we’re lucky to have both him and Terry with us this term.

Choir – why are you looking at your copies? Faces forward will build your rapport with the audience and your conductor. – agreed. He spoke about not following along the introduction and that I will be nice and clear to bring you in. Big smiles too! Having said all of this, I felt like the connection we had as choir and conductor was tenfold what we have in rehearsals because you all watched me like hawks! I loved it!

A lovely rich sound – nicely shaped phrases. – yes! So musically shaped.

Some positive dynamics – emphasise a little more your < – I thought the contrast between the “Kyrie” and “Christe”, especially with the dynamics, was fab. Even more though!

Clear diction – watch word endings. – Most of the time this was good, it’s just the odd quaver (I know I held the final quaver on too long, sorry!)

You have a warm tone and you sing with passion and consideration to the text. – Perfect!

Emphasise articulation ^ and >. – Yes, but I’m not too worried about these, haha.

Some lovely phrasing and shaping, your control is good – your bigger dynamics are well handled and controlled. – 100% agree, the musicality was excellent! Let’s see if we can control the quieter dynamics now.

Gloria

Nicely sung Sops and Altos – now dance a little more. – Haha, yes!

Ensure full value on crotchets on “Glorias” – Exactly what we worked on on Wednesday…

You feel the excitement and energy in the full choir. – Yes, yes, yes! It looked like you were having fun, too, adding to that wonderful performance!

Support your Ab Sopranos at the Andante. – We’ve done a lot of work on well-supported high-singing… I’m going to put this down to a lack of warm up…

There is some lovely shaping coming from your conductor, ensure you follow every gesture. – What a lovely thing to say, haha!

Ensure a full forte chord at “Laudamus Te” – ATB, support the Sopranos here. – Absolutely, and I think we’ll just do a tiny bit of work on that on Wednesday, especially while we’re nice and fresh.

You build dynamics very successfully through the “Adoramus Te” section. – I though this was particularly exciting, and was a real pleasure to conduct this section in particular.

Give long notes their full value. (A small point) – Small but important…

An excellent accompanist! – I think we can all agree how lucky we are to have Bernard!

A rich and secure performance with lovely attention to detail. Good luck with your performance. Well done! – I’m so pleased with this everyone, well done indeed!

Well done all, and I look forward to seeing everyone on Wednesday.
– Ben

Continue ReadingConductor’s Notes – 05.03.22

Conductor’s Notes – 02.03.22

What an interesting evening we had; thanks once again to Pete for stepping in on about 24 hour’s notice as Bernard was unfortunately still testing positive – we wish Bernard back to full health soon, and look forward to seeing him on Saturday. Well done to our first candidate, and to you all, particularly in having to react to the sectionals situation. We look forward to Wednesday when we welcome our second candidate.

IMPORTANT – Details for the Music Festival are below (please do read them)!

What we did on 02.03.22

Great work on the Kyrie and opening section of the Gloria – these are in a really good position for Saturday’s Music Festival. For those who missed the rehearsal, but will be singing on Saturday, please do have a look at the Kyrie and up to page 16 of the Gloria to make sure you’re all really happy with it all.

What we will do on 09.03.22

Following our inevitable success in the Music Festival, we’ll be welcoming our second potential new accompanist to the piano, and they’ll be working with us during the rehearsal as part of the selection process. The schedule for the rehearsal will be:

19:30-19:45 – Ben and Terry will do a warm up and quick sing of the Sanctus to get everyone going.
19:45-20:15 – Our second candidate will accompany the Credo, page 60 to 67.
20:20-20:35 – Our second candidate will lead the Sopranos and Altos in a sectional on the Gloria, beginning to page 16.
Terry will take the Tenors and Basses through the fugue in the Gloria, page 33 to 43.
20:40-20:55 – Our second candidate will lead the Tenors and Basses in a sectional on the Gloria, beginning to page 16.
Terry will take the Sopranos and Altos through the fugue in the Gloria, page 33 to 43.
21:00-21:30 – Ben and Bernard rehearse the full choir through the fugue in the Gloria, page 33 to 48.

I hope this is all okay, and we’re very grateful to you all for your help in finding our new accompanist.

Details for the Chipping Norton Music Festival

I’m so delighted we’ve had so many people sign up for this (around 55!) – the sound you all made at the end of Wednesday’s rehearsal was brilliant!

To reiterate some details:

Dress Code: All Black.

Timings: Arrive latest 15:45 for a 16:00 session start – if you’re able to, go and support any of the other events that day, in particular the other senior choir session starting at 13:30 (all sessions are free for participants!!)

Acafellas: Stick around after you’ve sung to hear me and some friends sing some silly barbershop.

Covid Advice: The Festival Committee have asked that we please test before attending, and mask up when moving around.

Any other questions please don’t hesitate to email Eric or myself. See many of you on Saturday!

Piece of the Week

My piece of the week was actually sent to me by Brian – a work I hadn’t heard for a few years, and one that is so striking in it’s composition: Arvo Pärt’s Te Deum. Composed in 1984, it’s peculiar instrumentation, featuring a prepared piano and compositional make-up stand it out from other settings of the text. Pärt uses his own compositional technique of Tintinnabuli to great effect in the work; a form of minimalistic composition where one voice arpeggiates a triad, and the second voice moves in a stepwise motion, creating a distinct harmonic language. Possibly the most famous use of this is in Spiegel im Spiegel.

Look at that, two pieces for the price of one!…

Marked Scores

As always, the marked scores are here. If you haven’t yet put the markings in, I’d greatly appreciate it if you would.

Spotify Link

And the Spotify playlist is HERE.

See some of you on Saturday, and the rest on Wednesday.
– Ben

Continue ReadingConductor’s Notes – 02.03.22

Conductor’s Notes – 23.02.22

Wow! How is half term already over?! I hope you’ve all had a lovely break, and also weren’t too affected by the storm last weekend. It’s been a very odd week not seeing you all, so I’m very much looking forward to Wednesday.

What we did on 23.02.22

Nothing! Well… I hope you all did some practice, or at least looked or listened to the music, haha! I’ve had a few emails from people saying how helpful the Choralia links are, so I’ll keep them up here for you all to use.

What we will do on 02.03.22

This week is exciting as we’ll be welcoming our first potential new accompanist to the piano, and they’ll be working with us during the rehearsal as part of the selection process. The schedule for the rehearsal will be:

19:30-19:45 – Ben and Bernard will do a warm up and quick sing of thee Kyrie to get everyone going.
19:45-20:15 – Our first candidate will accompany the Kyrie.
20:20-20:35 – Our first candidate will lead the Sopranos and Altos in a sectional on the Gloria, beginning to page 16.
Bernard will take the Tenors and Basses through the fugue in the Gloria, page 33 to 43.
20:40-20:55 – Our first candidate will lead the Tenors and Basses in a sectional on the Gloria, beginning to page 16.
Bernard will take the Sopranos and Altos through the fugue in the Gloria, page 33 to 43.
21:00-21:30 – Ben and Bernard rehearse the full choir through the opening of the Gloria and Kyrie in preparation for
Saturday’s Music Festival.

I hope this is all okay, and we’re very grateful to you all for your help in finding our new accompanist.

Here’s a link to the Choralia site. As I said in last week’s Notes, it’s a very crude audio quality, but it allows you to hear your own part, slow it down, and loop it for detailed learning. I highly recommend at least checking them out to help your learning specific parts – please don’t rely on it though… I worry you may all come to the next rehearsal sounding like computers!

Verdi Stabat Mater

Puccini Messa di Gloria

Piece of the Week

My piece of the week this week is inspired by a chat I had with Eric, about our favourite pieces and recordings, and we both agreed that Brahms’s First Symphony is a work of true beauty.
Inspired by – yet in the shadow of – Beethoven’s monumental Ninth Symphony, Brahms spent well over a decade writing his first symphony, always doubting himself and his work as a symphonic composer. I hope you all agree with us that this is one of the greatest symphonies written in the Romantic era.

Check it out HERE.

Marked Scores

As always, the marked scores are here. If you haven’t yet put the markings in, I’d greatly appreciate it if you would.

Chipping Norton Music Festival

Just a reminder of our involvement in the Music Festival on Saturday 5th March, beginning at 4pm. We’re on at 4pm exactly, so Eric and Sarah will let us know on Wednesday about where we need to be and when, ready to perform! I hope you can all make it!

See you all on Wednesday.
– Ben

Continue ReadingConductor’s Notes – 23.02.22

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