Conductor’s Notes – Wednesday 7th December

Hello everyone, I hope you’ve had a lovely week and are looking forward to a fun-filled weekend?

What we did on Wednesday 7th December

Well, I can certainly tell that my pleas for listening to the Corp paid off – you all seemed much more confident and familiar with all of the music on Wednesday, and for that I’m so grateful! Keep putting in those hours at home over the next week and the concert will be absolutely amazing!

We started with Silent Night, which I was very pleased with. Keep in mind the key change in the middle, and keep listening to it to keep it fresh in the mind. After this we did some work on the Agnus Dei – the beginning was pretty accurate, but the “dona nobis” section needed a bit of refreshing. Once we’d done it a couple of times, remembering to keep it light and bouncy (and Tenors and Basses, where your words come in that fiddly bar), it was a very tight and exciting movement. Keep the energy up in it!
After the break we looked at the Sanctus and Benedictus, and it was certainly a very valiant effort for the opening. A couple more times listening and singing through to your part will do wonders. We spent a lot of good time on the transitions between sections, so I hope you all feel a lot more comfortable with these – particularly Altos, who kick off the Benedictus on page 27. We ended with lots of good work on page 21-23 of the Credo. Remember to keep the excitement going all the way to the end, especially with this feeling of 1 in a bar.

I’ll repeat what I said last time... LISTEN TO THE CORP! Familiarising yourselves with the piece is vital. The introduction isn’t always the same as what you sing. Keep listening to it!

I think many of us found that getting our head around the text with the music is one of the hardest things, but you can practice this by listening to it at home, and speaking through the text, if not singing.

What we will do on Wednesday 14th December

Our final Wednesday rehearsal, oh my!!
We’ll be starting with Good King Wenceslas, focusing on the harmony verses. Then we’ll look at the Gloria from the Corp, and then sing through the Credo.
After the break we’ll continue a bit of work on the Credo and then sing from Letter H – End of the Vaughan Williams. We’ll finish the evening with Hark! the Herald-Angels Sing.

Please come prepared. It’s the last rehearsal before we move into the church, so everything should be pretty close to perfect. Don’t let yourself or your friends down. It just takes a spare 5 minutes here and there to stay on top of the music.

Marked Scores

If these aren’t in your copies by now I think I’ll cry...

Playlist for Christmas

It’s free to sign up... Listen, listen, listen! You can listen to it HERE.

As well as Spotify being free, you can find the Corp on YouTube too... listen HERE – no reason not to keep it fresh in the mind!

Learning Resources

As well as the Spotify Playlist above, there are a couple of helpful learning resources for our two main works in the programme:

John Fletcher Music A Christmas Mass
This is a paid-for site, but certainly a useful one, and one of the only places you can find rehearsal tracks for the Corp. Worth investing in if you know you might need the help with note-learning outside of rehearsals.

Choralia – Fantasia on Christmas Carols
It’s very, very rough and ready, but it might help in learning the notes... take it with a pinch of salt...

RFMS Archives – Music from 100 Carols for Choirs
Susannah very kindly shared with me this website which has all of the guide tracks on for everything in 100 Carols for Choirs! Again, rough and ready, but hopefully it’ll help with the learning of notes!

Christmas in Chippy

Thank you to the 40 or so who have signed up, I can’t wait to show the town what we’re made of!

Eric will be sending an email round shortly with all of the details you need to know, but the main things are below:

Rehearsal: 14:00 – 15:30
Performance: 16:30 – 17:00

Rehearsal: St Mary’s Church, Chipping Norton
Performance: Main Stage in the Town Centre

All music will be from 100 Carols for Choirs. The running order is below:

Once in Royal David’s City (Page 260) – Verses 1, 2, 5 & 6 with descant
Past three o clock (Page 269) – Verses 1, 2, 6, 7, 8
O come, O come, Emmanuel (Page 230) – Verses 1-5
Coventry Carol (Page 212) – Verses 1-3
O come, all ye faithful (Page 226) – Verses 1, 2 & 6 with descant
Away in a Manger (Page 61) – Verses 1-3
In the bleak midwinter (Page 173) – Verses 1, 2 & 5
O Little Town of Bethlehem (Page 234) – Verses 1, 3 & 4 with descant
Ding Dong! merrily on high (Page 82) – Verses 1-3
Hark the Herald (Page 107) – Verses 1-3 with descant
Jingle Bells (Page 73)

Please find below the marked score. It’s got all the page numbers in, as well as the verses. I hope this is all clear, and we’ll go through it all in the rehearsal.

This Week’s Listening

I love the version of Silent Night that we’re doing; so simple and pure – perfectly reflecting the text of the carol. However, my favourite setting of the tune is by Jonathan Rathbone. I first did this arrangement at Magdalen, and it’s just stunning. Here, it’s perfectly sung by Tenebrae, and is just unbelievably breathtaking! Listen HERE.

newChoir Concert

If you’re free tomorrow (Saturday 10th December), do venture into Oxford to support some of your fellow CNCS friends who sing with me in newChoir. Hope to see some friendly faces there.

See you on Wednesday 14th!
– Ben