Conductor’s Notes – Wednesday 17th May

Hello all! Apologies for the late posting of these notes, I’ve been doing a lot of work in the background, so some very exciting announcements coming soon... stay tuned.

In the meantime, please glance over these notes in preparation for Wednesday, and do also check out some of the events happening below.

What we did on Wednesday 17th May

We started with Sumer is icumen in, ensuring the melody was all correct, the words were confident, and then putting it together in the 2-part and then 4-part round. Make sure you look at the words so we don’t forget the old-English. Then we worked on Now is the Month of Maying, solidifying the notes and beginning to speed the music and text up. We also did some work on the dynamic contrast between the verses. We then worked on Pastime With Good Company, again checking notes and then putting the text to this, and ensuring the Bass line was supportive and the false relations in the melody were confident. Before the break we looked at the notes of Innsbruck, and also the shaping of the music.

After the break we spoke through the German text, putting it together with the notes, and starting on the expression of the music. We then worked on Danny Boy, keeping a good flow to the music, securing notes in the a Capella sections, and looking at the gorgeous countermelody in the Sopranos and Altos. We ended with a brief bit of work on Greensleeves; please do take careful note of where you do and don’t sing – it’s very clear in the copies. We’ll do more work on the countermelodies in this soon.

What we will do on Wednesday 24th May

Now we’ve seen all of the music in detail, it’s time to start refining! So, we’ll begin with Scarborough Fair, Greensleeves, and Cantique, before splitting into sectionals to work on The Lily and the Rose and The Sally Gardens, and ending with Sumer is Icumen In if we have time.

We’ll be back to normal in the Town Hall.

Please also note that next week (31st May) is Half Term, and there’ll be no rehearsal then.

Marked Score

I’ve done all the hard work for you this term by providing a marked booklet, so I won’t be sharing it here as you all already have physical copies. Below, however, is a guide to my markings, just as a reminder of what it all means.

Remember a pencil to each rehearsal!! You’ll still need to write things in your copies!

Recommended Recordings

It’s a bit of a bitty term, as I’m sure you’ve realised; a great programme formed of wonderful, but shorter, pieces. For this reason, and given some of the arrangements/editions we’re doing haven’t been recorded, the recommended recordings are meant to help you understand and get to grip with the pieces, not necessarily learn them note-by-note. They’re good to have on in the background, and to follow some of the text, melodies and rhythms, but they’re not always going to line up 100% accurately with your copies.

You can listen HERE.

Learning Resources

I’ve been able to find some learning resources for some of the pieces we’re doing, so do check them out below. I hope they’re helpful, and will aid your learning of the music over the term. Just click the title of the piece and it’ll take you to the link.

Fauré – Cantique de Jean Racine
Bruckner – Locus Iste
Tallis – If ye love me
Jones – Farewell, Dear Love
Morley – Sing we and chant it
Dowland – Fine knacks for ladies
Gibbons – Drop, drop slow tears
Gibbons – The Silver Swan
Mozart – Ave Verum
Elgar – As Torrents in Summer
Sullivan – The Long Day Closes
Chilcott – The Lily and the Rose (paid subscription only, sorry!)
Chilcott – O Danny Boy (paid subscription only, sorry!)
Isaac – Innsbruck


A few of you have asked for the translations for the pieces. Please see below. If it helps you to write in what certain words or phrases mean, please do!

Post-it note suggestions

A great first week of this with some excellent suggestions – I’ve taken a quick glance through them all. If you missed this last week, don’t worry, we’ll be doing it once more this Wednesday!


Four (!) events for you this week – the NC3 Concert on Saturday 10th June, the Burford Singers Come and Sing, a Charity Concert, and the Shauni Sing Day. Please do check out the details of each of these exciting events!

This Week’s listening

I mentioned a few weeks back about Elgar’s very specific and thorough markings, and how a lot of his technical choral works were written or inspired by test pieces. Well, this is one of his Four Part Songs, and you can find out more about the competitions, pieces, and Elgar’s works HERE. This piece, O Wild West Wind is one of the most exciting bits of early 20th century choral music, written not as a test piece, but certainly showing the level of technicality and accuracy expected of choirs.
Listen HERE.

See you on Wednesday 24th.