Archive | November 2012

Nottingham Bach Choir – Albert Hall

The Nottingham Bach Choir chose a different venue for their Autumn concert, the Albert Hall in Nottingham.  This magnificent Victorian building served as a concert hall then Methodist mission, before being bought by the City Council in the 80s and refurbished as a concert and conference venue.

As in the summer we had the opportunity to work on a piece by a contemporary composer; this time it was Andrew Carter, who was due to attend the concert.  It was an interesting programme; Laudate Dominum by Carter, Bob Chilcott’s Credo, and culminated in Rutter’s Requiem.

There were technical difficulties to overcome in the venue; the concert demanded a split choir, and we were physically separated by the organ in the middle of the stage.  We only heard each other once the sound had travelled to the back of the hall and bounced back, with a slight delay.  So everyone had to work hard to follow the conductor and allow for this.  I’m pleased to say we pulled it off, and Paul said at a later rehearsal that it was one of our best performances.

Andrew Carter came to the dressing room to give us a pep talk, and beamed broadly throughout the performance,which was very encouraging!  The Rutter was a delight to sing, and we had an excellent soloist, Nicki Kennedy, whose voice soared effortlessly and sublimely above the choir.

Incanto inaugural concert

The group of singers from Nottingham Bach Choir have a name at last – Incanto.  And after months of planning the day of the Inaugural concert finally arrived.  The programme was mostly a mix of Renaissance and Baroque music, but also included the first performance of Psalm 122 by local composer Colin Wolfe.

This cantata takes the words of the Psalm from a setting by Mary Sidney (1561 – 1621).  Her brother the Elizabethan poet Sir Philip Sidney had begun a poetic version of the Psalms, and after his death in 1586 his sister completed this work.

I had the honour of opening the cantata with a Handelian style aria, ‘Oh fame most joyful’, written especially for me, so I shouldn’t have complained that “there were too many notes”!  Unfortunately illness and fatigue prevented the best performance, but I hope I did it justice, and gave a taste of the beauty of the piece.  An audience member told me afterwards that I had got over the sheer joy and delight, so I had to be content with that.  I hope we get another opportunity to perform it as there is so much more to be explored in this delightful aria.

We had a good-sized and appreciative audience and Colin looked happy, so that was the main thing!