Conductor’s Notes – Wednesdays 19th & 26th April

A brilliant start to the term – it was great to sing through and begin learning so much of the new programme. It’s going to be an entertaining concert and a fun term in general.

What we did on Wednesday 19th April

We sang through and worked on as much music as possible, beginning with the simple and beautiful Drop, drop slow tears, which immediately got us thinking about ensemble and singing well together again. Then we looked at the Cantique de Jean Racine, which included a little bit of work on some of the notes and the character of the music, especially with the bolder “qui la” sections on page 8 of the booklet. We sang through If Ye Love Me, and Locus Iste, as well as To Music, working a little bit on this. We turned our attention some madrigals and folk songs after the break, reading through – and doing small bits of work on – Greensleeves, O Danny Boy, Innsbruck, Pastime with good company, Sumer is icumen in, and Now is the month of maying, which we learnt the notes and patterns for to ‘ding’ and then began putting the text with it. We ended by briefly talking through the rest of the music, and finishing with Mozart’s Ave Verum, which was sung beautifully.

What we did on Wednesday 26th April

We continued our sing-through of the programme, but we started by refreshing Now is the month of Maying, doing some more detailed work on the notes, and then the text. We then looked at the first set of Madrigals, beginning with Farewell, Dear Love, Sing we and Chant it, Fine knack for Ladies, and It was a lover and his lass. Most of these we did to ‘ding’ and then put the text to it, allowing us to focus on the notes, as the music stays the same but the words change each verse. In the case of It was a lover, we did each line individually too. We then did some work on the SA/TB only works as we took a break, with the Sops and Altos singing The Lily and the Rose through beautifully, and the Tenors and Basses singing The Sally Gardens divinely too. After the break we looked at The Silver Swan, isolating paired parts and learning those together, then As Torrents in Summer, and The Long Day Closes, again isolating parts to help us understand the harmony. We then Sang through Scarborough Fair before ending with another sing-through of Mozart’s Ave Verum, in memory of Tony who had it played at his funeral that afternoon.

What we will do on Wednesday 3rd May

We’ve now seen all of the music, so the hard work will begin now as we start to look more in-depth at it all.
If you look at the Contents Page, you’ll notice the programme is divided into sections: we’ll be looking at Part-Songs (1) and Madrigals (1) this week.

Please also note that I’d like to set up seating in blocks of S-A-T-B sections next to each other, rather than Altos and Basses behind Sopranos and Tenors. This is following some comments from the Section Reps, so we’ll try it like this for this week.

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 for 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 programmed 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 on the whole meant to help you understand and get to grip with the pieces, not necessarily learn them note-for-note. They’re good to have on in the background, and to follow some of the text, melodies and rhythms to, but they’re not always going to line up 100% accurately.

You can listen HERE.

Learning Resources

I’ll be sharing some learning resources in the next week or so.

Treasurer and Section Reps

As Eric mentioned on Wednesday, we’ll be appointing our new Section Reps on Wed 3rd. We’ve hade expressions of interest from all voice parts, but don’t let it stop you from putting your name forward if you’d still like.

We also need a new Treasurer, as Christophe will be stepping down at our next AGM in November. If you’d like to fill this spot, do talk to Eric.

This Week’s listening

Some of these words were said by the priest at Tony’s funeral on Wednesday, and I immediately thought of sharing this piece with you. It’s Lord, let me know mine end by Hubert Parry, from his Songs of Farewell. An absolutely stunning setting of very moving text, I can assure you you’ll not have a dry eye after listening to this. This recording is sung by the incredible Tenebrae. Listen HERE.

You can find out more about the whole work HERE.