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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:

24th January 2015: Come and Sing – Elgar’s The Music Makers

All Saints Church, Hoole, Chester CH2 3HZ

Join Chester Bach Singers with their conductor Martin Bussey, pianist Graham Eccles and mezzo-soprano Catherine Backhouse.

This is an opportunity for all singers, including members of church choirs, to rehearse and perform Elgar’s The Music Makers with Chester Bach Singers.

TIMETABLE

1.00 pm – 2.00 pm Singers to register, collect ordered music & be seated.
Tea and coffee available.
2.00 pm – 4.15 pm Rehearsal.
With Martin Bussey and Graham Eccles.
4.15 pm – 5.00pm Break.
Tea/coffee and cake in the church hall.
5.00 pm – 6.00 pm Performance.
Friends and family are welcome at no charge.

THE WORK – ELGAR’s THE MUSIC MAKERS

The Music Makers op. 69 is a cantata for contralto, choir and orchestra based on a poem by Arthur O’Shaughnessy. It was commissioned for, and first performed at, the Birmingham Triennial Music Festival, 1912.

Elgar had been working on a setting of O’Shaughnessy’s Ode for some years already before the commission so it is reasonable to suppose that the poem really appealed to his nature.

We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams…

Later in his life Elgar was to write “I am still at heart that dreamy child who used to be found in the reeds by the Severn side with a sheet of paper trying to fix the sounds and longing for something very great. I am still looking for this.” In Elgar’s own words “the atmosphere of the music is mainly sad” yet, “there are moments of enthusiasm and bursts of joy occasionally approaching frenzy: moods which the creative artist suffers in creating or in contemplation of the unending influence of his creation. Yes suffers – this is the only word I dare use for even the highest ecstasy of ‘making’ is mixed with the consciousness of the sombre dignity of the eternity of the artist’s responsibility.” Much has been made of his use of quotations from his other works – Sea Pictures, Gerontius and Enigma Variations – but Elgar wrote in his original programme notes, “Please do not insist on the extent of the quotations…they form a very small part of the work. These musical quotations form, however, a significant part of the tapestry of The Music Makers.

The work is dedicated to one of Elgar’s dearest friends, Nicholas Kilburn, who exhorted performers to “Sing and play as though you were in dreamland and all will be well”.

GETTING THERE

This year we are holding our workshop at All Saints Church, Hoole (CH4 7HL). 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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FEES AND REFRESHMENTS

Workshop fee £18.00 (full-time students £10). This includes coffee/tea on arrival and tea/coffee and cake in the interval before the performance.

Hire copies of the Novello edition of Elgar’s The Music Makers can be ordered in advance for £2.00, collected at registration, and must be returned after the performance.

Regrettably, no refunds after 12 January 2015.

If you require further information, please contact Cath Glazzard by email to cath.glazzard[at]gmail.com or ring Cath Glazzard 01244 383746, Margaret Newman 01829 770104 or Maire Gibson 01829 720283

To make a booking, please download the Elgar Music Makers booking form and send, together with a cheque made payable to Chester Bach Singers, to:

Chester Bach Singers
The Firs
Wervin
CHESTER
CH2 4BP

20th December 2014: Carols by Candlelight – A Celtic Christmas (Handbridge)

Saturday 20 December 2014 7.30 pm

St Mary’s, Handbridge, Chester CH4 7HL

Chester Bach Singers’ Carols by Candlelight Concerts combine atmospheric Celtic music with more traditional and well known Christmas favourites. Welsh, Irish, Scottish Gaelic and Basque carols will be performed by the choir interspersed with popular Christmas carols for choir and audience.

Retiring collection in aid of Wirral Hospice St John’s.

Tickets: £11 including refreshments

 

14th December 2014: Carols by Candlelight – A Celtic Christmas (Tattenhall)

Sunday 14 December 2014 7.30pm

St Alban’s Church, Tattenhall CH3 9QE

Chester Bach Singers’ Carols by Candlelight Concerts combine atmospheric Celtic music with more traditional and well known Christmas favourites. Welsh, Irish, Scottish Gaelic and Basque carols will be performed by the choir interspersed with popular Christmas carols for choir and audience.

Retiring collection in aid of Wirral Hospice St John’s.

Tickets: £11 including refreshments

8th November 2014: For M is Musick

Saturday 8 November 2014 7.30pm

Wesley Church Centre, Chester CH1 1DA

For M is Musick

This concert will feature pieces that weave through the renaissance of English Choral Music that emerged from the late 19th century with works of Stanford, Elgar, Naylor and Bairstow, published in the first decades of the 20th century and show how these have influenced later, more modern works. For example, the title for the concert, For M is Musick, comes from Benjamin Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb, a cantata first published in 1943 which sets extracts of a eccentric poem by eighteenth century clergyman, Christopher Smart to the new irregular rhythmic motifs made notorious by Stravinsky earlier in the 20th century. This is particularly challenging in the fast section about ‘Nimrod, the mighty hunter’ which changes time signature in nearly every bar based around groupings of five notes – very difficult to count but once learnt, this passage stays with the singer forever! Musically, however, the shape of the work derives much from the anthems of Henry Purcell from the seventeenth century, with its ‘verse’ sections for solo singers from the choir and the recurring ‘Hallelujah’ section. And there are other connections between Purcell and the other works in what promises to be an exciting and diverse programme:

Britten: Rejoice in the Lamb
Stanford: 3 Motets (Beati quorum, Coelos ascendit, Justorum animae)
Bairstow: Let all Mortal Flesh
Elgar: Give unto the Lord
Tavener: Ikon of St Cuthbert
Naylor: Vox dicentis
Howells: Requiem
Whitacre: Sleep

Adults £12
Under 18s £5

 

10th September 2014: OPEN REHEARSAL

Why not join Chester Bach Singers for an open rehearsal at our rehearsal venue? Sing with us for the evening or just come along and watch. You will be very welcome. No need to book but if you would like more information, contact the choir or join us on facebook.

We welcome singers of all abilities to our open rehearsal on Wednesday, 10th September, 2014 at 7.30pm for a 7.45pm start at the Music Department, Kings School, Wrexham Road, Chester, CH4 7QL. Music will be provided on loan for the evening. The rehearsal will finish by 9.45pm.

We will be focussing on Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb plus other pieces that will feature in our November concert.

5th September 2014: Joint Concert with Le Voci

Friday, 5th September, 2014, 8pm

Venue: St Mary’s Centre, Chester, CH1 2DW

Norway comes to Chester! Le Voci (from Oslo) in a joint concert with Chester Bach Singers. English and Scandinavian songs and madrigals, including:

  • Rutter: Sprig of Thyme
  • Hovland: Karin Boye
  • Grieg: Ave Maris Stella
  • Havroy: Noringen
  • Elgar: As Torrents in Summer
  • Lindberg: Shall I compare Thee
  • Stanford: Heraclitus
  • Mantyjarvi: Come Away Death

£10 adults
£5 Under 16s and students

14th June 2014 : Bravo for Bach!

Saturday, 14th June 2014  7.30pm

Venue: St. John’s Church, Vicars Lane, Chester, CH1 1SN

Bach-themed concert including Magnificat, Air on a G String and Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring. With members of the 18th Century Concert Orchestra in costume.

Conductor: Martin Bussey

Soprano: Amy Wood
Alto: Abigail Thompson
Tenor: Thomas Kelly
Bass: James Berry