Conductor’s Notes – Wednesday 17th January 2024

Hello everyone, I hope you’re well and have had a good end to week! We had a lovely time in Germany (more below, if you’re interested), but it was lovely to be back with you all.

What We Did – Wednesday 17th January

A really good rehearsal on Wednesday – we made lots of good progress, and locked in a load of music. Keep practicing at home!

  • We started by refreshing the opening to the Gloria from Mass in Blue, reminding ourselves of the rhythms and some notes, before singing it with more confidence. Then we worked on pages 24-26, noting how similar the music is to the opening, and how some motifs return.
  • Then we reminded ourselves of the opening of the Benedictus – tenors, remember that to find your starting note you can walk up the scale with the basses at the end of their first entry! We practiced all of the modulations, and began joining them together.
  • After the break, we learnt the “Hosanna” section in the Benedictus (starting on page 61), and went all the way to the end, noting the rogue 3/4 bar at the end of page 66.
  • Then we briefly refreshed the opening of the Kyrie, reminding ourselves of the opening melody and the counter-melody in the sops and altos, finishing at figure 4.
  • We ended the rehearsal by working on 3. It was a lover and his lass from Songs and Sonnets, practicing the tricky intervals in the opening, then practicing the jazzier harmonies the end the verses.

To catch up: If you missed this rehearsal, please work on the Gloria and Benedictus of the Mass in Blue, especially as we’ve seen most of these movements in great detail now. Also look at It was a lover and his lass and practice some of those notes slowly.

What We’ll Do – Wednesday 24th January

  • We’ll start by refreshing the whole of the Benedictus, locking in the “Hosanna”s.
  • Then we’ll split into sectionals to work on the Gloria from figure 20-23, and the ending from figure 27.
  • After the break we’ll look at the Sanctus in sectionals.
  • Then we’ll come back together to put together the Gloria (figures 20 & 27), and Sanctus.
  • If there’s time, we’ll end with some more work on the Kyrie.

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 first week with the password in the email, but I’ll keep announcing it on Wednesdays. Please also feel free to email me or Annabel if you’ve forgotten it 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

The first theory workshop is almost upon us, so please do sign up for these. I’m sure for many of you 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.

Germany Trip

There’s a CRAG concert in a few weeks, so do go along and support this wonderful organisation by listening to an excellent concert!

Germany Trip

In case you’re interested in what I get up to outside of conducting CNCS, I’ve just come back from a series of events in Germany with the male-voice ensemble Man(n) Singt! and my barbershop quartet The Acafellas. When we were over there, we sang a New Year’s concert to promote Man(n) Singt!’s new CD which we recorded last year with brass and harp, and then the barbershop quartet sang for a New Year’s reception, did some coaching with the lower voices in a youth choir, and sang a sold-out concert in a small church in a lovely little village called Palmach, just outside of Karlsruhe. It was such an amazing time, and photos of these events are below.

This Week’s listening...

Is based on my trip to Germany – Man(n) Singt! sang with a brass quintet called LJO-Brass, and I wanted to share something of theirs. Years ago they recorded a CD themselves, and they’ve got a couple of tracks available on their website. My favourite is the recording of Ewald’s Third Brass Quintet.

You can check it out HERE.

Have a lovely weekend everyone, and I look forward to seeing you all on Wednesday.