Summer 2015 Newsletter

 

CONTENTS: CHAIR’S INTRODUCTION

                       MUSICAL DIRECTOR’S PRE-SEASON NOTES

                       TREASURER’S PRE-SEASON MESSAGE

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From The Chair, Vivien Salisbury

Hello Everyone

The sun is shining brightly outside as I write this introduction to our summer newsletter, with a promise of a return to the warm weather we had been enjoying. With the recent rain and cold snap, thoughts have been turning once again to the new choir term, starting on 7 September with the AGM and first rehearsal. It will be great to meet up again and to start singing together after the long summer break.

After a year in which we delighted in a range of new works, new to us, the performers, and new to the music world, we shall be embarking on a programme inspired by the request of members of the choir. “From Rutter With Love” contains works that will challenge us in different ways and perhaps more than we might imagine with the popular contemporary composer augmented by Britten and Finzi pieces. John’s musical notes for the season are attached and will provide interesting reading before the new term, as the nights begin to draw in. It would be great to ask our families, friends and concert goers to make a note of the date of the performance, Saturday 5 December, in their diaries. The Rutter carols will be sure to be just the right start to the festive season, so we shall look forward once again for another sell out Christmas concert.

The Committee has been preparing for the new term and looking further to the future to ensure the efficient running of the choir and to maintain its good financial management. We are small in number and, with two of our committee members reaching the end of their terms, we would be most grateful to hear from anyone who might like to join us. The tasks are not arduous; we meet usually just twice in both the autumn and spring terms, perhaps with a short meeting in between. Importantly, we would like to hear from choir members and Friends of the choir what wishes they may have for the choir in the next few years and, as with the next concert, what works or kind of repertoire they would like us all to be undertaking.

We have been invited to sing again at the church’s spring and summer cream teas. We did seem to enjoy the afternoon and many of us partook handsomely in the excellent tea, cakes and scones. Perhaps you could confirm to us if you would be happy to do this again next year.

Our regular social events on the Monday after the concerts, combined in the spring with a rubbing out session, and this year with a fund-raising Quiz Evening, provide a good opportunity to mix with other choir members and get to know those in other sections from ourselves. It has been marvellous to welcome new members of the choir and people whose lives have enabled them to return. One or two past members have already let me know they will joining us again in September. If you know of any good singers who would like to come along next term, please do give them details. We would be delighted to include them at the beginning of the new term.

Until then, continue to enjoy the light evenings and the delights of summer time.

Vivien

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FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR, JOHN COTTERILLPre-season Notes 2015 – 2016

Although I am writing this in mid-summer, I am already looking forward eagerly to the start of next season when we will have some more exciting music to rehearse and perform. The season will begin on Monday, 7 September when, after the AGM, we will launch into the first rehearsal for our Christmas concert. This will be on Saturday, 5 December and, with a nod towards James Bond, will be entitled ‘From Rutter with Love’.   John Rutter (born 1945) will be 70 in September and our concert programme is intended as a tribute to his special birthday year. His lovely setting of the Magnificat will occupy the first half of the programme. It was written in 1990 and was first performed in May of that year in Carnegie Hall, New York. There are of course many musical settings of this song of Mary, but just as J.S. Bach had done, Rutter set out to give the text extended treatment, possibly being subconsciously influenced by the images of outdoor celebrations associated with the feast days of the Virgin in countries such as Spain, Mexico and Puerto Rico. He was fully conscious, however, of adding to the liturgical text – with the lovely old English poem ‘Of a Rose’ and the prayer ‘Sancta Maria’ both of which add strength to the Marian connection. The work is scored for soprano solo, chorus and orchestra, and I have been fortunate in engaging Soraya Mafi as the soloist, she having won second prize in the recent Kathleen Ferrier Awards. She will be supported for our concert by the Countess of Munster Musical Trust.

As is well-known, John Rutter first made his name with his carol compositions and has continued writing them ever since. We will end the concert with a group of some of them – ‘Love came down at Christmas’, ‘Mary’s Lullaby’, ‘What sweeter Music‘, ‘Cradle Song’ and ‘Shepherd’s Pipe Carol’, all of which should be a fine preparation for Christmas itself.

Two composers whom Rutter admires (and don’t we all!) are Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) and Gerald Finzi (1901-1956), so after the interval and before the carol group, I’ve included a work by each of them. Britten’s ever popular ‘Rejoice in the Lamb’, which is set to words from Christopher Smart’s poem of the same name, was scored originally for accompaniment by organ alone, but Britten later asked Imogen Holst to orchestrate the accompaniment. The orchestration matches that of Rutter’s Magnificat, so it seemed the right piece to include.

Then, to enhance the ‘Love’ part of the concert’s title, the strings of the St. John’s Chamber Orchestra will play Finzi’s little ‘Romance in E flat, Op. 11. This is an exquisite piece of string writing with serene melodies and harmonies which could only come from this composer’s distinctive pen, though shades of Elgar and Vaughan Williams may be detected here and there.

The New Year will bring Mozart (1756-1791) to our midst. It will be 20 years since the Choir last sang his wonderful Requiem, K.626, and it’s time we brought it to life again. A popular favourite with audiences, the Requiem was written in response to a commission from a mysterious stranger. The composer was in poor health and there was something about the curious nature of the request that seems to have affected him deeply because he came to believe he was writing his own Requiem. In fact , the commission came from a nobleman, a certain Count Franz Walsegg zu Stuppach who was an amateur musician in the habit of paying composers to write works for him and then passing them off as his own. His wife had recently died and this Requiem was to be in her memory. As it turned out, the Requiem was unfinished when Mozart died early in December 1791. In the previous few weeks he had discussed the work with his pupil Sussmayr, and it was Sussmayr who went on to complete the score. Nevertheless it remains one of the most moving and powerful compositions in existence.

The concert will be entitled ‘Mozart in Missenden’ and will end with a performance of Wolfgang’s most famous setting of the Evening Vespers, Vesperae solennes de confessore, K339. It dates from 1780 and was commissioned for Salzburg Cathedral, although it’s not known for which Saint’s Day it was intended. The work consists of a succession of Psalms and a concluding Magnificat, and it is scored for four soloists, chorus and orchestra. It formed a climax to the composer’s Salzburg career and is one of his most enduring and loved choral works. The Psalm settings encompass a wide range of musical styles , from the Haydnesque rhythmic energy of Dixit Dominus to the serene beauty of Laudate Dominum, while the rich imagery of the Magnificat’s text encourages music of great variety leading to a spirited conclusion.

Many members of our audience appreciate the Choir’s unaccompanied singing, so after their interval drinks we shall treat them to a performance of the famous Three Graduals by Bruckner (1824-1896) – Locus iste (for the dedication of a Church), Os justi (for the Mass of Doctors of the Church) and Christus factus est (for Maunday Thursday). These are absolute gems and a real joy to sing, but they will need careful and dedicated preparation if we are to do them the full justice they deserve. I’m sure you will derive the utmost satisfaction from singing them well.

So, I hope you will all thoroughly enjoy this new season – full of wonderful music with different styles and moods. As always, I hope everybody will treat Monday evenings as prior engagements and endeavour to attend all rehearsals (illness and business commitments permitting) so that we can again have a good and fruitful time preparing these delights. I’ll see you on 7 September, and meanwhile do enjoy the rest of your holidays.                    JOHN

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From the Treasurer, Geoff Povey

I shall be reporting fully on the accounts at the Annual General Meeting, but I’m pleased to report that we were able to make a profit of just under £300 over the last year to 30th April.

Subscriptions for next season are unchanged at £53 a term.

The Committee have decided to re-introduce the Early Bird ticket scheme, whereby concert tickets can be purchased at a £1 discount for the first three weeks. Ticket prices for next year are unchanged at £14 (£7 Students).

Our bank have asked that any cheques be made payable to Great Missenden Choral Society. They are not happy with alternatives like GMCS.

Online shopping

For those of you who shop online, we are trying to raise additional funds for our choir, through links to a website which will give us commission on sales from online shopping: Easyfundraising. This website will give commission of up to 15% on sales. There are links from this site to over 600 Brand Name retailers, including Amazon, B & Q., BHS, Curry’s, Marks and Spencer, and Waterstones. It costs us (and you) nothing. It is free to use.

How to access

  1. Go to Easyfundraising.org.uk. This will take you to that company’s website.
  2. Create an Account
  3. Select ‘Support a good cause’
  4. Select Great Missenden Choral Society as your chosen charity from the dropdown list.
  5. Register yourself as a user.
  6. Enter your details including a password.
  7. Await acknowledgment of the registration
  8. When you want to shop, login and start shopping. There is a list of all the available companies shown on the website.
  9. If you choose, you can prompt a reminder whenever you go to a website which supports Easyfundraising, e.g. Expedia, if you go to that company’s website without going via Easyfundraising.
  10. There is a link to Easyfundraising on the GMCS website if you wish to use it.

Thank you if you are able to support the choir in this way.

Naxos recordings

Many of the items which we sing, as well as much other music, is available to listen to via Naxos online. To listen to these recordings go to:

Bucks CC Library website

Reference and Enquiries

Naxos online

Enter BUCKSxxxxxxxx (where x is your Library Membership number)

Type the name of the music into the Search box: e.g. CPE Bach Magnificat

You then get a list of the recordings available

Select the recording

Select play

You cannot save the recording to a disk.

 

 

 

 

 

August 27th, 2015