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27th February 2016: Haydn and CPE Bach

Saturday 27 February 2016 7.30 pm

St Mary’s Without-the-Walls, Handbridge, Chester CH4 7HL

Haydn Nelson Mass and CPE Bach Magnificat with orchestra.

Conductor: Martin Bussey
Soprano: Cally Youdell
Alto: Joanna Harries
Tenor: Thomas Kelly
Bass: Andrew Davies

Adults £15
Students and Under 18s £5

THE WORKS

HAYDN’S NELSON MASS

We don’t know for sure how Haydn’s Missa in Angustiis, which can be translated “Mass in times of trouble and fear”, came to be known as Nelson Mass but, in 1798, when Haydn wrote it, Europe was embroiled in the Napoleonic wars and times were certainly troubled. The news that Napoleon had been defeated in the Battle of the Nile by British Forces led by Admiral Horatio Nelson came just at the time of the first performance of this work and, in the mood of the time, it became known popularly as the Nelson Mass. In 1800 Nelson and Lady Hamilton visited the Esterházy palace and may even have heard the work performed. Haydn’s biographer H. C. Robbins Landon writes that this mass is “arguably Haydn’s greatest single composition”.

CPE BACH’S MAGNIFICAT

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach was the second surviving son of the great Johann Sebastian Bach, and his first wife, Maria Barbara. The most famous and prolific of the Bach sons, he was educated with his brother Wilhelm Friedemann who was four years older, at a Lutheran seminary in Cöthen, and later in Leipzig at the Thomasschule where his father was Cantor of St. Thomas’ Church. It is said that from the age of eleven he could play all his father’s keyboard pieces at sight. He studied law at the Universities of Leipzig and Frankfurt where he financially supported himself by giving keyboard lessons and by composing for or directing public concerts. In later years he held positions of great influence in Berlin and Hamburg and was widely esteemed as a keyboard player and theorist.

It was during his Berlin years that, in 1749, he composed his only important church work, the Magnificat. It takes its text from Mary’s canticle from St. Luke’s Gospel (Chapter 1, v. 46–55) and according to a pupil at the Thomasschule it was performed in Leipzig while his father was still alive – sometime before the end of July 1750. The work contains a number of unmistakable borrowings from his father’s Magnificat: the melodies in the Fecit potentium and Deposuit are, for example, almost identical. However, the choruses take second place to the solo vocal numbers (which quantitatively, too, predominate) with their lyrical, faintly opera-like elements. Nevertheless, the final chorus, Sicut erat in principio, has a recurring theme which has often been compared with that of the Kyrie in Mozart’s Requiem, finally concluding with an extended Amen, 183 bars long.

Adults £15
Students and Under 18s £5

Come and Sing Hadyn Nelson Mass advert

30th January 2016: Come and Sing Haydn’s Nelson Mass

Saturday 30 January 2016

All Saints Church, Hoole, Chester CH2 3HZ

Calling all singers! Join Chester’s finest chamber choir to rehearse and perform Haydn’s Nelson Mass, described by Haydn’s chief biographer, H. C. Robbins Landon, as “arguably Haydn’s greatest single composition”.

TIMETABLE

1.00 pm – 2.00 pm Tea and coffee available.
Singers to register, collect ordered hire music & be seated.
2.00 pm – 4.15 pm Rehearsal with Martin Bussey
and Graham Eccles
4.15 pm – 5.00 pm Break.
Tea/coffee and cake in the church hall
5.00 pm – 6.30 pm Performance.
Friends and family are welcome at no charge.

THE WORK – HAYDN’S NELSON MASS

We don’t know for sure how Haydn’s Missa in Angustiis, which can be translated “Mass in times of trouble and fear”, came to be known as Nelson Mass but, in 1798, when Haydn wrote it, Europe was embroiled in the Napoleonic wars and times were certainly troubled. The news that Napoleon had been defeated in the Battle of the Nile by British Forces led by Admiral Horatio Nelson came just at the time of the first performance of this work and, in the mood of the time, it became known popularly as the Nelson Mass. In 1800 Nelson and Lady Hamilton visited the Esterházy palace and may even have heard the work performed. Haydn’s biographer H. C. Robbins Landon writes that this mass is “arguably Haydn’s greatest single composition”.

GETTING THERE

This year we are holding our workshop at All Saints Church, Hoole (CH2 3HZ). This is the church with the spire on Hoole Road, Chester. It has excellent facilities and is less than 10 minutes walk from Chester railway station. There is very limited parking at the church which we would like to save that for people with reduced mobility – please pre-book a place, if needed. There is also parking in the streets around the church as well as a number of small car parks.

We are very grateful to Hoole United Reformed Church (CH2 3NT) for giving us permission to use its large car park for this event. The United Reformed Church is on your right as you drive towards Chester from the M53/A55. It is then only a 5-minute walk to All Saints. If you do use this car park, we would ask that you make a donation of £2 towards the United Reformed Church’s programme of modernisation.

FEES AND REFRESHMENTS

Workshop fee £15.00 (full-time students £10). This includes coffee/tea on arrival and tea/coffee and a selection of homemade cake in the interval before the performance.

Hire copies of the score can be ordered in advance for £2.00, collected at registration, and must be returned after the performance.

Regrettably, no refunds after 16 January 2016.

If you require further information, please contact Cath Glazzard by email to cath.glazzard[at]gmail.com or ring Cath Glazzard 01244 383746 or Margaret Newman 01829 770104.

HOW TO BOOK:

  1. Download a booking form and send with a cheque by post – Haydn Nelson Mass Booking Form (Event over, booking form no longer available)

 

19th December 2015: Carols by Candlelight

2015 Carol Concert LeafletSaturday 19 December 2015 7.30 pm

St Mary’s Church, Handbridge, Chester
CH4 7H
Thinking of refreshing your Christmas tree ornaments this year?  Chester Bach Singers looks forward to giving audiences fresh sparkle and colour in its 2015 Christmas concerts as it presents new arrangements of much-loved carols alongside the best of newly-composed carols by some of the most tuneful and appealing choral composers around.

Come along and enjoy Bob Chilcott’s new foot-tapping arrangement of On Christmas Night all Christians Sing, alongside Paul Leddington Wright’s energetic version of We Three Kings of Orient are and Mack Wilberg’s tinsel-laden background to Ding Dong! Merrily on high.  These are set alongside Chester-born composer Howard Skempton’s There is no rose, Will Todd’s jazz-harmonised My Lord is come and Thomas Hewitt-Jones’ hauntingly beautiful carol What Child is this.  All combined with the customary traditional carols for you to join in.

In the first half of our Handbridge concert this year, CBS is delighted to be joined by the Movers and Shakers Choir from the Neuro Therapy Centre, Chester.  This partnership signals a new venture in joining with other groups in the community in a practical way to share music making.  As well as enjoying the choir’s own music under the direction of Pam Newton, CBS and the Movers and Shakers will end the first half with a joint rendition of Irving Berlin’s evergreen White Christmas – and we expect to hear the audience crooning along!

 

This year our retiring collection will be in aid of:

the_neuro_therapy_centre_logo

The Neuro Therapy Centre

donate_to_neuro_therapy_centre

Donate to the Neuro Therapy Centre Chester

13th December 2015: Carols by Candlelight

2015 Carol Concert Leaflet

Sunday 13 December 2015 7.30 pm

St Alban’s Church, Tattenhall CH3 9QE

Thinking of refreshing your Christmas tree ornaments this year?  Chester Bach Singers looks forward to giving audiences fresh sparkle and colour in its 2015 Christmas concerts as it presents new arrangements of much-loved carols alongside the best of newly-composed carols by some of the most tuneful and appealing choral composers around.

Come along and enjoy Bob Chilcott’s new foot-tapping arrangement of On Christmas Night all Christians Sing, alongside Paul Leddington Wright’s energetic version of We Three Kings of Orient are and Mack Wilberg’s tinsel-laden background to Ding Dong! Merrily on high.  These are set alongside Chester-born composer Howard Skempton’s There is no rose, Will Todd’s jazz-harmonied My Lord is come and Thomas Hewitt-Jones’ hauntingly beautiful carol What Child is this.  All combined with the customary traditional carols for you to join in.

 

This year our retiring collection will be in aid of:

the_neuro_therapy_centre_logo

The Neuro Therapy Centre

donate_to_neuro_therapy_centre

Donate to the Neuro Therapy Centre Chester

Poster for October 2015 Concert

24th October 2015: Music for Remembrance

Saturday 24 October 2015 7.30pm

St Werburgh’s Church, Chester CH1 1QJ

Music for Remembrance including Duruflé’s Requiem and Parry’s Songs of Farewell.

Remembrance is very much the theme for our first concert of the 2015-16 Season which continues the commemoration of the centenary of the First World War with a moving concert of Music for Remembrance in the run-up to Armistice Day.

Duruflé’s Requiem is an ethereal and stunningly beautiful work. Interestingly, in 1976, Duruflé and his wife gave an organ recital in Chester Cathedral as part of the celebrations on the completion of the organ rebuild. We wonder if any of you were there?

By contrast, Hermione Roff’s Anthem of Loss is a more contemporary take on the same conflict. A former member of the Chester Bach Singers, Hermione, who now lives in Lancashire, wrote the piece especially for a WWI centenary concert at Lancaster Priory last year. Chester Bach Singers are very much looking forward to performing her composition and are delighted that she plans to be at the concert.

The programme will also include Hubert Parry’s Songs of Farewell. Composed towards the end of Parry´s life, and in the midst of the conflict and desolation of the Great War, Songs of Farewell is a series of motets set to poems by some of the greatest British poets such as Henry Vaughan and John Donne, and is widely acknowledged as a masterpiece of unaccompanied choral writing.

The choir will be joined by Graham Eccles on organ and Ruth Watson for the oboe solo in Anthem of Loss.

CBS Big Sing

13th June 2015: The Big CBS Sing

Saturday 13 June 2015, 7.30pm

St John’s Church, Chester CH1 1SN

Conductor: Martin Bussey

Chester Bach Singers, joined by former members, present a celebration concert of choral classics including Zadok the Priest and Hallelujah Chorus.

Tickets £12 (audience)

Tickets for ex-CBS members (to participate) £5

 

25th April 2015: Brazilian Adventure Workshop

A choral workshop with Jeffrey Skidmore (Ex Cathedra).

All Saints Church, Hoole, Chester CH2 3HZ

Discover a lost civilisation of great choral music – sophisticated, passionate and intensely spiritual.

Having been at the forefront of bringing South American Baroque music to the attention of European audiences, Ex Cathedra is now leading the way in exploring and championing the little known musical heritage of Brazil. Jeffrey Skidmore Director of Ex Cathedra, who will be leading our Brazilian Adventure writes, “I have made three trips in search of the voice of Brazil  – Amerindian, African and Portuguese – the musical soul of this vast, powerful and mysterious country. The music is sophisticated, profoundly spiritual and passionate and this workshop will introduce the extraordinary repertoire from Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Brazil’s ravishingly beautiful baroque mining town – Ouro Preto – in the mineral-rich mountains of Minas Gerais.”

The music to be studied is late Baroque, early Classical and Early Romantic.  Composers include:

António Marques Lésbio (1639 – 1709)
André da Silva Gomes (1754 – 1844)
José Joachim Enerico Lobo de Mesquita (1746 – 1805)
José Maurício Nunes Garcia (1767 – 1830)

TIMETABLE

09.30 am Registration and coffee
10.00 am Warm up and session 1
11.15 am Break
11.45 am Session 2
1.00 pm Lunch
2.15 pm Session 3
3.45 pm Break
4.15 pm Informal performance

Friends/family are welcome to listen to the free informal performance.  Tea and coffee (small charge) will be available in the church hall from 3.45pm.

This is your opportunity to spend a day with one of Europe’s most exciting Choral Directors.  He is no stranger to Chester.  In 2002 he conducted a large mixed choir of adults and children in an exciting performance of David Fanshawe’s African Sanctus in Chester Cathedral.  In 2004 he ran a very successful Chester Bach Singers workshop on Spanish American Baroque. 11 years later, we are delighted Jeffrey has agreed to direct a workshop to share his latest research in Brazil.

FEES AND REFRESHMENTS

Workshop fee £28 (£20 under 19 or a full time student).

This fee includes hire of all music, which will be issued at registration, and returned at the end of the day. The fee also includes tea / coffee / squash on arrival and during the morning and afternoon breaks.

A two-course lunch consisting of vegetarian soup, bread and dessert is available at an additional cost of £5.  This must be ordered and paid for in advance.

Regrettably, no refunds after 12 April 2015, but we advise early application as numbers are restricted.

To make a booking, please download the Brazilian Adventure Workshop booking form and send, together with a cheque made payable to Chester Bach Singers, to:

Chester Bach Singers
The Firs
Wervin
CHESTER
CH2 4BP

GETTING THERE

This year we are holding our workshop at All Saints Church, Hoole (CH2 3HZ).  This is the church with the spire on Hoole Road, Chester.  It has excellent facilities and is less than 10 minutes walk from Chester railway station.  There is very limited parking at the church but we would like to save that for people with reduced mobility.  Parking in the streets of Hoole is also possible but can be difficult at the weekend.

We are very grateful to Hoole United Reformed Church (CH2 3NT) for giving us permission to use its large car park for this event.  The car park is on your right as you drive towards Chester.  It is then only a 5-minute walk to All Saints.  There will be car-parking attendants on duty and we ask that you make a donation of £2 towards the church’s programme of modernisation.

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28th March 2015: Bach Mass in B Minor

Chester Cathedral, CH1 2DY

Conductor: Martin Bussey
Soprano: Rebecca Lea
Alto: Katie Bray
Tenor: Tom Kelly
Bass: Graham McCusker

With the 18th Century Sinfonia.

Bach composed the Mass in B Minor towards the end of his life although, in reality, it is a compendium of a number of earlier works combined with compositions designed to complete a full mass setting.  The earlier works include movements composed for the Mass text, for example the Sanctus, but others, for example, Et resurrexit, have been shown to have their origin in non-religious music, such as concertos.  This should come as no surprise, as the eighteenth century convention was to write music for performance without an assumption that the music would be heard again in its original form.  Such borrowings are common in other well-known works of the time, including Handel’s Messiah.  We owe much to Bach’s son, Carl Philipp Emmanuel and, in the nineteenth century, Mendelssohn, for ensuring the survival of the work and its gradual re-introduction into frequent performance.

There is a stylistic continuity in the mass because each movement speaks in Bach’s voice.  The diversity of styles reflects the diverse interests of the composer.  Thus the opening movement of the Credo and it’s Confiteor towards the end are fugal movements with plainsong as their basis – perhaps the ‘strict’ style associated with Bach’s organ music.  Other movements sound much more operatic, such as the Laudamus te.  There is much florid writing for the choral voices, demanding coloratura (‘runs’ for the voice) technique of a very high level which reflects Bach’s interest in Italian opera.  Within such diversity there is often much careful scaffolding in terms of musical structure – the Credo has been shown to have an overall arch-like structure which lends its varied movements convincing shape.

The use of orchestra and voices in the mass is one of its strongest features.  Once again, diversity is the key.  The choral movements employ between four and eight-part writing (the Osanna movement) with a characteristic use of two soprano lines in many movements to give a rich, five-part texture overall.  The trumpets and drums are often a key feature of the choral movements, lending brilliance and sonority.  Other movements make striking use of wind instruments, for example the oboe in Qui sedes and the flutes in Crucifixus.  Underpinning these are the strings, which move between doubling the voices and providing strong rhythmic drive in many choral and solo movements.

Tickets: £18, £12 and £6
(students and children £5)

Tickets on line from Chester Cathedral Ticket Office

Tickets can also be bought direct from choir members or Angela Parfitt – please use this form to make an ticket enquiry:

Rebecca Lea

Rebecca completed her MMus with Distinction at the Royal Northern College of Music. Previous to this she studied at The Queen’s College, Oxford, and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

Recent solo performances include Poulenc’s La voix humaine at the Purcell Room, Judith Weir’s The Consolations of Scholarship at The Sage, Gateshead, King Harald’s Saga at the Wigmore Hall and William Bolcom’s Cabaret Songs at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the BBC Proms Lates Series. She has appeared as a soloist in concert and on BBC Radio 3 with Manchester Camerata, Northern Sinfonia, The Liverpool Philharmonic Ensemble 10/10.

She gave her first solo performance at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in 2011, performing Gary Carpenter’s One Million Tiny Operas about Britain and at the Lake District Summer Music Festival in 2012 in the newly-devised production The Mask Behind the Face.

Opera roles include Elle (La voix humaine), Galatea (Acis and Galatea), Cis (Albert Herring), Susanna(Le Nozze di Figaro), The Governess (The Turn of the Screw) and Venus (The Judgement of Paris). She recently played the role of Paula in the newly commissioned work, Amy’s Last Dive, by Cheryl Frances Hoad, with the company Wingbeats as part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad, touring to Leeds and Bridlington Spa Theatre.

She also works as a freelance  consort and ensemble singer  with the BBC Singers, Britten Sinfonia Voices, Buxton Opera Festival Chorus, Cries of London, the NDR Radio Choir in Hamburg, Howard Goodall’s Enchanted Voices, Platinum Consort, as well as with many of the professional church choirs in London. She is also busy as an oratorio soloist throughout the UK.

Rebecca has been the grateful recipient of the Oxford Lieder Festival Scholarship, the RNCM Contemporary Music Prize, the RNCM Kate Snape Award and the Liverpool Opera Circle Bursary.

Rebecca is also Co-Artistic Director of the classical music theatre company Re:Sound, with whom she has performed at various venues across the UK, including Theatre by the Lake, Keswick, The Royal Albert Hall, the Shulman Auditorium, Oxford, and the RNCM Studio Theatre. Their latest production, Battles Within and Without, will tour to King’s Place, London, in 2013.

Rebecca Lea’s website is www.rebeccalea.co.uk

Appearances with Chester Bach Singers

Katie Bray

British mezzo-soprano, Katie Bray is fast establishing a colourful international career, most recently engaged as Charlotte Werther in the 2014 Grimeborn Festival. That year, she made her solo début with Garsington Opera as Emma in Offenbach’s Vert Vert, directed by Martin Duncan and conducted by David Parry. Other recent operatic roles include Lazuli L’Étoile with New Sussex Opera, cover Cherubino Le Nozze di Figaro in McVicar’s production at ROH, and NancyAlbert Herring with Opera North.

This season, Katie makes her solo début with English National Opera in Joanna Lee’s The Way Back Home at the Young Vic Theatre, and in 2015, she will join Opera Holland Park as Mallika Lakmé and Opera North as Rosina Il barbiere di Siviglia.

Katie is also a keen recitalist, and has performed in prestigious venues such as the Wigmore Hall, Cadogan Hall, The Forge, the Holywell Music Room and St George’s, Hanover Square. She has given recitals in many song festivals including the City of London Festival, the London English Song Festival and the Oxford Lieder Festival.

Other recent highlights include a recording of Zemlinsky’s Opus 13 with Trevor Pinnock, and Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde in the Loch Shiel Spring Festival.

Katie graduated as a Karaviotis Scholar from the opera course at the Royal Academy of Music, and was awarded the 2012 Principal’s Prize. Taught by Elizabeth Ritchie and Iain Ledingham, she won First Prize in the Academy’s prestigious Richard Lewis Singing Competition in 2011.

Her website is www.katieemilybray.com

Appearances with Chester Bach Singers