Category Archives: Past Concerts

21 Oct 2017: Dvořák Stabat Mater

Saturday 21 October 2017 2.30 pm

Wesley Church Centre, Chester CH1 1DA

Dvořák Stabat Mater in piano version

Conductor: Martin Bussey

Soprano soloistEmily Burnett

Alto soloist: Lucy Vallis

Tenor soloistWill Smith

Bass soloistPeter Edge

Tickets: £10 adults; £5 Full-time students and Under 18s

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Dvorak is best known for his symphonies, particularly the New World Symphony, but he was celebrated as well in his day for his operas and choral works. Chester Bach Singers start their 2017-18 season with an unusual work by the celebrated composer, written in unusual circumstances. His Stabat Mater was composed in 1876. It is full of beautiful melodies, often with a folk influence, as Dvorak was keen to write music which reflected his native Bohemia (now the Czech and Slovak Republics). The poem is a slightly complex medieval text which considers the emotions of the Virgin Mary watching Christ’s Crucifixion. The emphasis is on her emotions as a mother and how these can have an impact on Christians. The unusual starting point for the setting was the death of one of Dvorak’s own children. As a relatively unknown composer at this stage, Dvorak knew he was unlikely to be able to stage a performance of the work with an orchestra. He therefore wrote the piece for four soloists, choir and piano accompaniment, played by our regular accompanist, Catherine Barnett. This makes the piece ideal for the forces of Chester Bach Singers. Although Dvorak later extended and orchestrated the work (sadly, after the deaths of two other children), the piece has direct impact in its earlier version. The mood is reflective, but Dvorak’s great gifts as a melody writer (as the New World Symphony shows) create continual interest, and he uses the choir in lots of varied ways, including groupings of voices (male or female) and as a backdrop to dramatic singing by operatic-style soloists. Chester Bach Singers is lucky to have four of the North West’s most promising young opera singers to perform these roles in Emily Burnett, Lucy Vallis, William Smith and Peter Edge.

Tickets: £10 adults; £5 Full-time students and Under 18s

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10th June 2017: Chester Bach Singers By Arrangement

Saturday 10 June 2017 4pm

All Saints Church, Hoole, Chester, CH2 3HZ

Chester Bach Singers by Arrangement

A light Summer’s afternoon concert of arrangements of favourite classical tunes and song arrangements…

Dvorak’s Largo from The New World (Hovis ad)
Barber’s Adagio (from the film, Platoon)
Somewhere over the rainbow
Blue Moon
‘S Wonderful
I got rhythm

…and many more

Followed by a glass of fizz with strawberries and cream, accompanied by the unique sound of the Deva Flute Group.

Tickets (inc. refreshments) £12 adults; £5 students and under 18s.

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A wide array of arrangements awaits the listener in the final concert of the Chester Bach Singers’ 40th anniversary season. Much of the repertoire that Chester Bach Singers performs stems from arrangements in some form or another. In this concert the widest range is explored, including Barber’s Adagio, which he turned into a setting of the Agnus Dei and a choral setting of Elgar’s much loved Nimrod from the Enigma Variations. We will also be singing Broadway numbers such as Somewhere over the Rainbow, Blue Moon and I got rhythm mixed in with The Carnival is Over, Georgy Girl, and a host of other composers and folk songs. Truly something for everyone in a summer concert full of famous tunes.

1st April 2017: The Immortal Wheat

Saturday 1 April 2017 7.30pm

St Werburgh’s, Grosvenor Park Road, Chester CH1 1QJ

Conductor: Martin Bussey

Tenor Soloist: William Smith

Baritone Soloist: Stuart Orme

with orchestra.

  • Finzi Seven Partsongs (Poems of Robert Bridges)
  • Finzi Dies Natalis
  • Bussey Severn Meadows
  • Holst Psalm 86 and Psalm 148

Tickets: £15 adults; £5 students and under 18s.

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In its April concert with orchestra, the focus of the Chester Bach Singers 40th Season turns pastoral, particularly to the 20th century composers, Gerald Finzi and Ivor Gurney. Finzi’s Seven Partsongs are acknowledged to be a central work in the repertoire for choirs such as Chester Bach Singers. They are all settings of poems by Robert Bridges, who was Poet Laureate from 1913 to 1930. Although perhaps lesser known these days, Bridges was a key figure in early 20th century poetry, working at the same time as the Georgian poet group which included figures such as Rupert Brooke and Walter de la Mare. Much of Bridges’ poetry set by Finzi has a pastoral feel, reflecting the English landscape. Such images were also key to Finzi’s other work represented tonight, the Tenor Cantata Dies Natalis, setting the 16th century poet Thomas Traherne. This, one of Finzi’s most celebrated works on disc, will be sung by the young tenor William Smith. Finzi’s lyrical style and intuitive setting of text is always attractive to the listener. The concert’s inclusion of Gurney is through his poems, rather than his music, although Martin Bussey’s Severn Meadows is a reflection of both attributes of this still misunderstood casualty of World War I. Gassed, Gurney survived the war, but his mental instability, already evident before the war, was worsened by his experiences. Severn Meadows reflects Gurney’s mental decline through his longing for his native Gloucestershire countryside. Another Gloucestershire native, Gustav Holst completes the programme with his Psalm settings for choir, strings and organ.

17th December 2016: Carols by Candlelight (Handbridge)

Saturday 17 December 2016 7.30 pm

St Mary’s, Handbridge, Chester CH4 7HL

Tickets: £12 adults; £5 students and under 18s. Includes seasonal refreshments.

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Carols by Candlelight

Joined by Movers Shakers, the choir of the NeuroTherapy Centre, Chester.

Chester Bach Singers once again provides the perfect mix of old and new, the familiar and the less well known, in its accompaniment to the Christmas season. Carols for all to sing are mixed with several carols which proved a hit last year such as Will Todd’s My Lord has come, Thomas Hewitt-Jones’ What child is this? And Matthew Owens’ The Holly and the Ivy. Chester Bach Singers Conductor Martin Bussey has composed a new setting of Unto us is born a son for the 40th Season Chester Bach Season Christmas. There is a focus in the programme on the Christmas music of Peter Warlock – a man who was an expert on the boozier side of Christmas, being well acquainted with all the pubs from London southwards (although Warlock’s naked motorcycling is unlikely to feature in the programme). Warlock’s most famous carol is the beautiful Bethlehem Down and this is featured alongside the lively Benedicamus Domino and his setting of Adam lay ybounden.

Retiring collection in aid of:
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11th December 2016: Carols by Candlelight (Tattenhall)

Sunday 11 December 2016 7.30pm

St Alban’s Church, Tattenhall CH3 9QE and

Tickets: £12 adults; £5 students and under 18s. Includes seasonal refreshments.

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Carols by Candlelight

Chester Bach Singers once again provides the perfect mix of old and new, the familiar and the less well known, in its accompaniment to the Christmas season. Carols for all to sing are mixed with several carols which proved a hit last year such as Will Todd’s My Lord has come, Thomas Hewitt-Jones’ What child is this? And Matthew Owens’ The Holly and the Ivy. Chester Bach Singers Conductor Martin Bussey has composed a new setting of Unto us is born a son for the 40th Season Chester Bach Season Christmas. There is a focus in the programme on the Christmas music of Peter Warlock – a man who was an expert on the boozier side of Christmas, being well acquainted with all the pubs from London southwards (although Warlock’s naked motorcycling is unlikely to feature in the programme). Warlock’s most famous carol is the beautiful Bethlehem Down and this is featured alongside the lively Benedicamus Domino and his setting of Adam lay ybounden.

Retiring collection in aid of
singing_brain_300

6th November 2016: Gladstone Workshop Performance

Sunday 6th November 3pm

St Deiniol’s Church, Church Lane, Hawardan, Deeside, CH5 3LT

Conductor: Martin Bussey

Join Chester Bach Singers for a short, informal concert of music set in the lovely church of St Deiniol’s in Hawardan, near Gladstone’s Library. Chester Bash Singers is spending the weekend at Gladstone’s library exploring the music of Palestrina, Warlock and Moeran. Plus the premiere of Martin Bussey‘s setting of Gladstone’s Latin translation of the Hymn ‘Rock of Ages’. To end the workshop, we will be performing some of the pieces in the wonderful setting of St Deiniol’s Church. Entry is free and any donations will go to our supported charity, the Alzheimer’s Society ‘Singing for the Brain’.singing_brain_300

Free admission

22nd October 2016: The Poet’s Voice

the-poets-voice-22-oct-2016Saturday 22 October 2016 7.30pm

All Saints Church, Hoole, Chester CH2 3HZ

The Poet’s Voice Poetical and musical collaborations.

Conductor: Martin Bussey

Accompanist: Neil Taylor

Tickets: £12 adults; £5 students and under 18s.

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Highlights include:

  • Britten/Herbert Antiphon
  • Stanford/M Coleridge The Bluebird
  • Ralph and Ursula Vaughan Williams Silence and Music
  • Harris/Donne Bring us O Lord God
  • Leighton/Herbert Let all the world

The first concert of Chester Bach Singers 40th Season takes as its focus the work of well-known English poets and explores how composers have set their words. There is a mix of sacred music and non-sacred, although all can be described as having a strong spiritual and reflective element. The composers range across  Stanford, Harris, Vaughan Williams, Britten, and Leighton. The chosen poets include Tennyson, Donne, Herbert, and Coleridge. The concert includes a particular focus on the 17th century George Herbert, with settings to begin and end the concert of one of his most famous poems, Let All The World In Every Corner Sing. Accompanied by Neil Taylor, Director of the St George’s Singers and formerly Organist of Sheffield Cathedral, the concert includes a wide variety of styles.

4th Sept 2016: Gladfest 2016

Sunday 4th September 2016, 4pm

Gladstone’s Library, Church Lane, Hawarden, Flintshire CH5 3DF

Gladfest 2016

Chester Bach Singers has been invited to give a short recital at Gladfest 2016 – the UK’s friendliest literary festival held at Gladstone’s Library in North Wales. As part of our celebrations of the 200th anniversary of the Bronte sisters, we will be reprising some of the works performed at our concert, Charlotte and her Sisters.

We will be performing in the Market Place at 4pm on the Sunday afternoon which has free entry and will also be showcasing the best local designers and contemporary crafts.

Charlotte_and_her_Sisters_Poster

11th June 2016: Charlotte and her Sisters

Saturday 11 June 2016 7.30 pm

The Queen’s School, City Walls Rd, Chester CH1 2NN

Mezzo-soprano: Joyce Tindsley

Conductor: Martin Bussey

Join Chester Bach Singers to celebrate 200 years since Charlotte Brontë was born in Haworth Parsonage. Together with her sisters, Emily and Anne, Charlotte produced some of the most enduring English stories and poems. Chester Bach Singers will explore the lives of the three sisters and then re-trace the gripping narrative of Charlotte’s most famous work, Jane Eyre.

 

The Brontë Sisters (Anne Brontë; Emily Brontë; Charlotte Brontë) by Patrick Branwell Brontë oil on canvas, circa 1834 © National Portrait Gallery, London

The Brontë sisters, immortalised in the famous, incomplete picture of them painted by their brother, Branwell, lived their lives for the most part in the newly industrialised village of Haworth, to which the natural beauty of the moors formed both a backdrop and means of escape. It’s no surprise that nature plays a significant part in their writing and this is reflected in the imagery in much of the music in the concert, for example in Sterndale Bennett’s (also born in 1816) setting of Christopher Marlowe:

Come live with me, and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove.
That Valleys, groves, hills, and fields,
Woods, or steepy mountain yields.

The sisters’ background as daughters of the Parsonage is reflected in Goss’ If we believe that Jesus died. Their home entertainment, singing and playing Scottish ballads and folk songs, is represented in music by Schumann and Bantock. Their trail-blazing achievements in developing their individual voices as published women writers in the mid-nineteenth century, typical of their focus on individual liberty, is reflected in Martin Bussey’s settings of Emily Brontë, No coward soul is mine and Riches I hold in light esteem. These songs, from the cycle A Chainless soul, will be sung by our guest for the evening, distinguished mezzo Joyce Tindsley.

The story of Charlotte’s Jane Eyre encompasses many themes drawn from the sisters’ experiences and from daily life in Victorian England, as well as reflecting key themes in Romantic literature, art and music. Her early experiences at Lowood School, particularly the deaths of her contemporaries, are marked in the beautiful music of Pearsall’s Lay a garland; her passionate yet unequal relationship with the brooding Mr Rochester, by love songs and choral music by Schumann; the disaster of their interrupted wedding by an excerpt from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Ruddigore; the strong Christian moral element which runs throughout Charlotte’s work is represented by Vaughan Williams’ Valiant for Truth, memorably setting lines from Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. Many of these themes come together in Brahms’ beautiful Alto Rhapsody, an extended work, written after the Brontës were dead but which sets a text, by Goethe, with which they may well have been familiar.  Here Joyce Tindsley will be accompanied by the men of Chester Bach Singers and regular Chester Bach Singers accompanist Catherine Barnett.

Throughout the evening, excerpts from the Brontë’s writings read by Joyce Tindsley and Alan Tiltman, including poetry by Emily and Anne, will link with the music to form a continuous experience – come and immerse yourself in the unique world of the Brontë sisters!

 

16th March 2016: Handel’s Messiah

Handel's Messiah LeafletWednesday 16th March 2016 7.45 pm

St Thomas of Canterbury Church, Parkgate Rd, Chester, CH1 4AG

Conductor: Martin Bussey

Organ: Andrew Dean

This performance, conducted by Martin Bussey, will be with organ accompaniment by Andrew Dean, our associate conductor. In the week leading up to Palm Sunday this will be a “Passiontide” Messiah but still with many of your favourite arias and choruses. As this is a week-night (our normal rehearsal evening), the concert will begin at 7.45pm and doors will open at 7.00pm.

No ticket required – admission will be free but at the end of the concert you will be invited to give what you feel the performance was worth.