Summer Concert

Celebrate Summer

on our 50th Anniversary Day

Saturday 1 July 2017
St Monica's, Bristol

Christopher Finch - conductor
Brian Kay - guest conductor
Nigel Nash - piano


Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) Liebeslieder
Sir Edward Elgar (1857-1934) Hymn to Saint Cecilia
Richard Allain (b 1965) Christ's Love-song
Bob Chilcott (b 1955) Dances of Time
Ben Parry (b 1965) Flame
J S Bach (1685-1750) Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied

An introduction to this evening's concert by our Musical Director, Christopher Finch

With an enormous sense of pride, it gives me great pleasure to welcome you to this evening's celebratory recital, as our 50th anniversary season draws to a close.

Bristol Bach Choir is thrilled to welcome back so many VIPs this evening. Your presence here today signifies your importance to the choir, and reciprocally is an expression of our gratitude to each and every one of you for the ways that you have supported and influenced this choir during the last half century. Former musical directors, accompanists, choir members, committee members, patrons come together this evening alongside the family and friends of our current singing membership. So whilst we are filled with a sense of excitement at this reunion, we are only too aware that we have in front of us an audience of unmatched expertise, discernment and high expectation ... as you can imagine, a quite daunting proposition!!

Brian Kay has been President of this choir for a number of years, and much to my delight has become a personal friend and sage oracle during my time as Musical Director. I was utterly delighted when he accepted my invitation to participate in this day of celebration, and am eager to hear how he has pulled together the current choir, former members and patrons as they perform Bach's wondrous motet Singet dem Herrn at the end of this evening's concert.

As befits a celebratory occasion, one of the predominant themes running through tonight's programme is the varied musical expressions of love, both human and divine. Brahms' Op. 52 set of 18 Liebeslieder Walzer are forged in loving tribute to the great German lieder tradition, as epitomised by Schubert's oeuvre, whilst also belying the strong influence of the ‘Waltz King’, Johann Strauss. They beautifully portray every facet of romantic love.

Bob Chilcott composed his choral song collection Dances of Time for Brian Kay in celebration of his twentieth season as conductor of the Leith Hill Musical Festival. The infectiously positive Life has loveliness sums up the overall message of the collection: despite the passing of time, we can celebrate the present through music and singing.

The final three works fall into the category of ‘conductor's prerogative to choose some of his favourite music’! In Christ's Love-song Richard Allain has created a profoundly moving anthem that expresses so much of the pain, hope and comfort that Christians believe was displayed through Christ's loving life and ministry. Elgar's stunning part-song There is sweet music is surely both one of the most difficult and imaginative compositions of this genre. Finally, the National Youth Choir Director, Ben Parry, has crafted a short work, Flame, that symbolises so much of what I personally believe we are celebrating today - the joy and blessing of sharing together this gift of music to illuminate and bring meaning to the world.