Conductor’s Notes – Wednesday 10th January 2024

Good evening friends, I hope you’re all well and had a lovely week. What a pleasure it was to be back making music with you all on Wednesday, thank you all for being there. Let’s kick the year off with some Conductor’s Notes featuring some important information – thank you for reading through!

What We Did – Wednesday 10th January

  • We started with Shearing: Live with me and be my love, learning the notes for the first two verses. We focussed with T/B on not losing the pitch at Letter F. Then we did a tiny bit on the final verse at Letter I, but will ensure notes are secure in sectionals – we did look at the tuning of the last chord though.
  • Then we went through When daffodils begin to peer, confirming notes and beginning to put some expression and flow into the music.
  • After the break we started with the opening of the Gloria from Mass in Blue, learning the opening rhythms and beginning to feel these tricky syncopations. We then worked on the notes and rhythms on page 19, before once again firming up the rhythms on page 20.
  • Finally, we ended by working on the opening of the Benedictus, reminding ourselves of each individual part that builds up the texture. We then focussed on the semi-tonal key changes which crop up throughout the movement.

To catch up: If you missed this rehearsal, please work on the first two movements of Songs and Sonnets, and remind yourself of the opening of the Benedictus in the Mass. If you also have time, please go through the rhythms in the Gloria, by speaking/singing along to a recording.

What We’ll Do – Wednesday 17th January

In this rehearsal, we’ll:

  • Start by refreshing the opening of the Gloria, and tie it into the end of the movement.
  • Then refresh the Benedictus, and learn the “Hosanna” section on page 61.
  • After this we’ll remind ourselves of the Kyrie.
  • If there’s time, we’ll look at the Credo theme too, reminding ourselves of that from before Christmas.
  • We’ll end by working on It was a lover and his lass.

Marked Scores

The marked scores are below. I’m so grateful to you all for taking the time to mark up your parts, it makes SUCH a difference to rehearsals!

For copyright reasons (as these posts are viewable by the public) we’ve had to password-protect the scores. Annabel sent an email out last week with the password in the email, but I’ll keep announcing it on Wednesdays. Please also feel free to email me or Annabel and we can share it with you.

Recommended recordings & learning guides

I’d highly recommend listening to the works, and you can hear my recommended recordings here:

There are a couple of places that offer free learning guides for these songs. The ones I’ve found are:


Todd – OUP
Todd – Choralia

Theory Workshops

As mentioned on Wednesday, please do sign up for these, I hope they’ll be incredibly helpful!
Booklets will be provided on the day, and tea and coffee will be served during the break.
Each session individually costs £10, but as we’d love for you all to attend both sessions we’re offering both for £15, so make sure you sign up!

You can get tickets HERE.

Workshop 1
A Singer’s Guide to Music Theory
Saturday 27th January, 2pm – 5pm
Chipping Norton Methodist Church
This workshop will give you an introduction to music theory, including the fundamental knowledge to read the music and understand what’s on the page. In the second half we’ll apply this to simple pieces and singing exercises, using it in a choral setting.

Workshop 2
A Conductor’s Guide to Music Theory
Saturday 17th February, 2pm – 5pm
Chipping Norton Town Hall
While not compulsory to attend both workshops, this session will build on the first session by looking at the job of a conductor, including score analysis, decision-making, and contextual understanding. We’ll apply this to some conducting and singing in the second half.

This Week’s listening...

Something rather interesting for you all this week – a friend in the OUP Choir mentioned to me that she’d been listening to a radio programme presented by Felix Klieser, a french horn player who’s become more widely renowned following his BBC Proms debut last year. The thing that makes Felix’s playing more impressive than most is the fact he plays with his feet, owing to being born without arms.

You can watch him play Mozart’s Second Horn Concerto HERE.

And you can hear the programme he presented on BBC Sounds for the next few days HERE.

Have a lovely weekend, and I’ll see you all on Wednesday.