Choral diversity at the Proms
19 April 2013
Diversity: the keynote for this year's PromsRobert Viglasky/BBC
The season’s Polish music theme directs attention to Szymanowski’s Symphony No.3 ‘The Song of the Night’ with the BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales joining forces with the BBC Symphony Chorus under Thomas Søndergård (18 Jul).
But there is choral innovation a-plenty in the season. Jeffrey Skidmore’s Ex Cathedra bring Stockhausen’s ‘Welt-Parlament’ from the opera, Mittwoch aus Licht for its London premiere (19 July). ‘Stockhausen always intended it to stand alone as a concert work as well as being a theatre piece,’ says Skidmore. ‘It’s an absolutely sensational piece of choral writing for 37 singers, who form a futuristic world parliament discussing the theme of love.’ Other innovations include the UK premiere of Sir Harrison Birtwistle’s The Moth Requiem – a dream-like incantation of the names of the dustier cousins of the sun-loving butterfly – scored for women’s voices, alto flute and three harps (BBC Singers/Kok, 12 Aug); the world premiere of German composer Charlotte Seither's Language of Leaving, based on the words of 17th-century poet Francesco de Lemene (BBC Singers/Pons, 28 Aug); and the London premiere of George Lloyd’s final work – Requiem – written in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales (Temple Church Choristers/BBC Singers/Hill, 3 Sep).
Peter Phillips and his Tallis Scholars will celebrate their 40th anniversary with a late-night Prom contrasting the music of John Taverner with Carlo Gesualdo, who died 400 years ago.
Organ takes a back seat at 2013 Proms
18 April 2013
Proms’ accent on melody and virtuosity: Richard Hills
King's goes green
2 April 2013
The Choir of King's College, Cambridge, famous around the world in particular for its Christmas broadcasts, has announced that it is to ditch the iconic red cassock in favour of new green vestments. In a statement, director of music Stephen Cleobury confirmed the changes are related to new music commissions for 2013: ‘Every year the Choir performs a number of new commissions by some of the world's leading composers. The only trouble is that modern performance directions can be very specific. This year's Christmas broadcast composer has gone one step ahead of the pack and specified the colour of the clothes to be worn during performance. I'm not sure what the Dean will make of it.’
The surprise announcement from King’s was issued on April 1.
Colin Walsh Live on Radio 3
22 March 2013
Walsh will perform from Lincoln Cathedral in April
Colin Walsh will perform from Lincoln Cathedral in the network's prestigious Radio 3 Live in Performance strand, from 7.30 to 9pm on Monday 15 April.
Walsh, who is the Cathedral's organist emeritus, pursued a three-year course of study with Jean Langlais at St.Clotilde in Paris; this inspired him to specialise in French symphonic and modern music, in particular the works of Franck, Vierne and Langlais. All of these composers, along with Tournemire, Dupré, Duruflé and Messiaen will feature in the live recital.
Organ music has become something of a backwater on the BBC's classical music station - Walsh's recital is thought to be the first live relay in the main schedule since a programme associated with the opening of the new organ in Symphony Hall, Birmingham, over ten years ago. This followed an 'Organ Night' when Gillian Weir broadcast live from Stockholm and Olivier Latry from Truro Cathedral in a single evening.
Booking details for Colin Walsh's Lincoln recital are at http://lincolncathedral.com/events/radio-3-concert/
EIF choral programme favours tried-and-tested
13 March 2013
Gergiev will conduct the Edinburgh Festival Chorus in an all-Prokofiev eveningChris Christodoulou/BBC
Christoph Rousset will showcase instruments preserved in Edinburgh’s St Cecilia’s Hall Museum
The Edinburgh International Festival has announced its programme for 2013. The roster of concerts for the 'official' festival takes a conservative approach to choral music. For opening night (9 Aug), the all-conquering Russian maestro Valery Gergiev conducts the Edinburgh Festival Chorus and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in an all-Prokofiev evening including the dramatic cantata Alexander Nevsky with the mezzo-soprano Yulia Matochkina.
The following evening (10 Aug) vocal group Synergy Voices will take part in a performance of Luciano Berio's Sinfonia for orchestra and eight amplified voices, with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Ilan Volkov.
The National Youth Choir of Scotland performs Fauré’s Requiem (17 Aug) with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and soloist Sir Thomas Allen.
The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir pays a visit (29 Aug) with their conductor Daniel Reuss, performing Rachmaninov's All-Night Vigil, Arvo Pärt's Two Slavonic Psalms, Alfred Schnittke's Three Sacred Hymns, and three lush, Romantic works by Estonian composer Cyrillus Kreek. The festival concludes with a performance of Verdi's Requiem (31 Aug): Donald Runnicles conducts the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and the Festival Chorus, with soloists Erin Wall (soprano), Luciana D’Intino (mezzo), Aleksandrs Antonenko (tenor) and the Metropolitan Opera's formidable Alberich, Eric Owens (bass).
Of interest to keyboard fans will be two recitals in which Christoph Rousset showcases instruments preserved in Edinburgh’s St Cecilia’s Hall Museum. On Thursday 22 August, he plays music by Frescobaldi, Scarlatti and CPE Bach on three contrasting instruments: a superbly decorated polygonal virginal made by Alessandro Bertolotti in Verona in 1586; a single-keyboard harpsichord built around 1620 in Naples; and a beautifully painted double-keyboard harpsichord made in France by Luigi Baillon in 1755. The following afternoon, Rousset selects two instruments for a recital of Purcell, Louis Couperin, Rameau, Balbastre and Royer: as well as a single-keyboard harpsichord made in London by Thomas Barton in 1709, he performs on Pascal Taskin’s Parisian double-keyboard harpsichord from 1769, an instrument that has spawned countless copies and is widely admired as probably the world’s most famous harpsichord.