Christopher Finch - conductor
Charlotte Newstead - soprano
Josephine Goddard - soprano
Lydia Lloyd - alto
Will Unwin - tenor
Niall Hoskin - baritone
Tonight's performance is dedicated to the memory of Raefe Shelton, who passed away on 11 February. Raefe was a member of Bristol Bach Choir from 1977 to 1999 and our Chairman from 1994 to 1998. Since his retirement from the choir, he and his wife Val, who also sang with us for over 25 years, have continued to support the choir as Patrons and regular members of our audience. We will miss Raefe's presence and are grateful for the energy and commitment he gave to the choir for so many years.
(Scroll down or click a composer's name to view programme notes...)
|Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)||Te Deum|
|Henry Purcell (1658-1695)||O sing unto the Lord|
|George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)||Chandos Anthem No. 9
1: O praise the Lord with one consent (Chorus)
2: Praise him, all ye that in his house attend (Alto aria)
3: For this our truest int'rest (Tenor aria)
4: That God is great (Bass aria)
5: With cheerful notes let all the earth (Chorus)
6: God's tender mercy knows no bounds (Soprano aria)
7: Ye boundless realms of joy (Chorus)
8: Your voices raise (Chorus)
|Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)||‘Great' Mass in C minor
1: Kyrie (Chorus, soprano solo)
2: Gloria (Chorus)
3: Laudamus te (Soprano solo)
4: Gratias agimus tibi (Chorus)
5: Domine Deus (Soprano 1, soprano 2)
6: Qui tollis (Chorus)
7: Quoniam tu solus sanctus (Soprano 1, soprano 2, tenor)
8: Jesu Christe, Cum Sancto Spiritu (Chorus)
9: Credo (Chorus)
10: Et incarnatus est (Soprano solo)
11: Sanctus / Hosanna (Chorus)
12: Benedictus (Soprano 1, soprano 2, tenor, bass)
13: Hosanna (Chorus)
We are delighted to welcome Christopher Finch as our new Music Director and excited to be performing tonight for the first time under his baton. We look forward to a successful partnership with him and to the challenges he will set us as the choir continues to develop and evolve.
Christopher joins us in this our 45th year, at a time when the musical landscape of Bristol is very different from that at our founding and during the first decades of our history.He is excellently qualified to ensure that the choir continues in its aim to make a worthy contribution to the very busy music scene in the city and to add positively to the variety and range of concerts on offer to its audiences. We hope that tonight's concert will demonstrate our joint commitment to that aim and be an enjoyable taste of things to come.
Haydn's Te Deum, written 1798-1800, belongs to the later period of Haydn's compositional output, and bears the hallmark of a composer at the peak of his creative and artistic powers. Having consolidated his reputation as an internationally revered musician during his visits to London, Haydn returned to Esterhazy in 1795 to serve in the court of the current prince, Nicholas II. The Prince appeared only interested in receiving the reflected glory of his association with Haydn, leaving Haydn free to compose what and as he pleased.
This final fruitful period yielded six masses, the C Major Te Deum, and his last two great oratorios, The Creation and The Seasons. The Te Deum was written for the second wife of Emperor Franz II, Empress Maria Therese, who was an accomplished musician and great admirer of Haydn's work. Its first documented performance in 1800 coincided with a visit from Lord Nelson.
Haydn's setting of the Te Deum is characterised by the striking use of unison to emphasise the key moments of this great song of praise. After the joyful orchestral introduction, the choir enter with sustained momentum, in a rousing declamatory style with liberal embellishment in the orchestral accompaniment. The Adagio inner section, written in the minor tonality, again begins with choral and string unison before developing with increased chromatic tension. The festive mood soon returns, as the original tempo and thematic material is re-established. Counterpoint and rhythmic syncopation propel the work to its rapturous conclusion.
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O sing unto the Lord is a relatively late work. Written in 1688, it demonstrates Purcell at his most Italianate. Frequent use of stark antiphony characterises the first section of this work, both between voices and instruments, and also between a prominent solo bass and the chorus. It adheres to the structure of a ‘verse anthem', but the grandeur of the setting and the scale of the string accompaniment suggest its composition for a major festal service. The block chords that open the work are especially suited to a fuller orchestral texture, such as would have only been available at significant state services or major church celebrations. Before the imitative second section of the Symphony, Purcell unusually here adds a wonderfully expressive section of richly chromatic harmonies. Although the writing is outwardly celebratory, there is also a profound depth and intimacy to the music.
Following the orchestral Symphony the bass soloist ceremoniously opens the proceedings, followed by two lilting choral Alleluias. The four-part verse 'Sing unto the Lord and praise his name' leads straight into the mysteriously-coloured 'Declare his honour', which blossoms into a full chorus. Ground basses are surprisingly a relative rarity in Purcell's church music but the duet for treble and alto 'The Lord is great' is a fine example. The spell-binding central section of the anthem is the quartet 'O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness', which surely counts as amongst the most exquisite and magical sections of any of Purcell's compositions. In stark contrast, the antiphony of solo bass with choir and strings returns at 'Tell it out among the heathen', leading into a final section of Alleluias. Typically, Purcell treats these Alleluias gently, and the anthem ends serenely.
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Handel arrived in London in 1710 with his reputation as a composer founded on the success of his Italian operas. However, he was equally skilled as a composer of sacred choral music and once in England sought to supplement his operatic work with liturgical church music. Meanwhile, he continued to write opera for the London stage, until these productions came to a temporary halt in 1717 as result of poor organisation and audience apathy.
In the summer of that year, Handel joined the household of James Brydges, then Earl of Carnarvon, who was later better known as the first Duke of Chandos. Brydges' newly built residence, Cannons, was among the most opulent of all mansions in this country. Other than the royal residences, Cannons was unique in having its own establishment of resident musicians with Johann Christoph Pepusch their first musical director. Handel became a composer-in-residence, not as a salaried member of the establishment at Cannons, but with a special brief to compose church music.
Between August 1717 and the summer of 1718, Handel composed the 11 sacred pieces known as the 'Chandos Anthems', which are all composed for solo and choral voices with accompaniment for strings (without violas), solo wind instruments (mostly oboe and bassoon) and organ continuo. Texts for all of these anthems were taken from the Psalms. The anthems are without precedent in English church music, but their mixture of solo and chorus movements is influenced by the German church cantata.
O Praise the Lord with one consent begins with an unusually long orchestral introduction which is followed by a declamatory first choral entry. This main melodic motif resembles the opening phrase of the popular hymn tune ‘St Anne', best known as the tune for 'O God, our help in ages past'. Handel manages to provide rich contrast in the three vocally demanding solo movements that follow. 'With cheerful notes' finds the chorus in exuberant voice, before Handel treats us to an intimately personal reflection on God's gracious love in 'God's tender mercy'. Following the minor tonality of this moment of introspection, the major key is re-established in the final two choruses, and the whole work concludes with triumphant Alleluias.
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There is a certain sad irony that Mozart's two greatest choral works were left incomplete. The Requiem was famously unfinished at the composer's untimely death. However the reason for Mozart's failure to complete the Mass in C minor remains a mystery. This Mass was never formally commissioned and only received a single performance during Mozart's life. Mozart later reworked material from the Kyrie and Gloria for the cantata Davidde penitente.
The Mass in C minor was conceived on a monumental scale, which had it been completed would have been at least comparable with the length and grandeur of Bach's epic B minor Mass. It is by far the most flamboyant of any of Mozart's sacred compositions, yet its origins and original purpose are far from clear. Mozart began work on this composition at the time of Constanze's illness shortly before their marriage in August 1782. It has therefore been surmised that this work was either written in celebration of their wedding, or to mark Constanze's return to full health. Recent research proposes that it could have been written in celebration of the conception of their first child.
When Wolfgang and Constanze arrived in Salzburg at the end of July 1783, Mozart had only completed a portion of the mass - the Kyrie and Gloria. Between their arrival in Salzburg and the first performance of this work on 26th October 1783, he worked on the first half of the Credo and the Sanctus. There is no evidence to suggest that Mozart ever completed the remainder of the Credo or the Agnus Dei, although some sketches for the Agnus Dei have been recently discovered. Despite some attempts by modern scholars to complete the work, this evening's performance will follow the standard precedent of presenting only the original Mozart sections, finishing therefore at the end of the Osanna that follows the Benedictus.
The Mass in C minor was the first large-scale sacred choral work that Mozart had written since the Coronation Mass, and it is utterly unlike its predecessor. It blatantly ignores Emperor Joseph II's declaration regarding the composition of sacred music. The Emperor's rules for musical settings of the mass prohibits the inclusion of solo arias and fugues, restricts the duration to less than forty-five minutes, and stipulates that the music must foster a worshipful atmosphere and not draw attention to itself!
Like Bach's B minor Mass and Beethoven's Missa solemnis, the Mass in C Minor is written "cantata style," dividing the text of the Ordinary of the Mass into brief segments, each of which is accorded distinctive musical treatment. The result is an ever-changing musical tapestry, - homophonic then polyphonic, solo then choral, minor then major, exuberant then mournful - as Mozart's music responds vividly and often phrase by phrase to words he had known by heart since boyhood.
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Charlotte read music at the University of Bristol, graduating with a Masters Degree with
distinction in Early Music.
Her busy concert schedule extends through a wide range of genres and includes all the major (and many of the minor!) oratorio works from composers such as J S Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Pergolesi, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Schubert, Brahms, Dvorak, Gounod, Elgar, Orff, Tippett and Karl Jenkins. She has had several pieces written especially for her and in 2011 gave premiere performances of Songs of Summer, a new song cycle for soprano and orchestra by Lyn Lloyd Jones.
Charlotte regularly appears as a soloist with orchestras around the UK performing such works as Strauss's Four Last Songs, Mozart's concert arias, Bach cantatas and Villa Lobos's Bachianas Brasilieras.
She has sung in venues throughout the UK from Snape Maltings, St Martin in the Fields and Dorchester Abbey to Salisbury Cathedral, Bath Abbey and Petersfield Festival Hall.
She currently splits her time between performing and teaching and sings every week at the Lord Mayor's Chapel in Bristol.
Visit her website at: www.charlottenewstead.co.uk
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Josephine is 19 and is currently in her second year at the Royal College of Music (RCM), where she
is a Foundation scholar and is studying with Patricia Rozario OBE. She recently came second in the RCM's annual English Song Competition and was a finalist in
the Kathleen Ferrier Bursary Award.
She is a regular recitalist in Bristol and the South West, most recently in Bristol Cathedral and All Saint's, Clifton. Josephine has performed in a variety of venues throughout England and abroad including the Colston Hall, St. George's Bristol, St. John's, Smith Square, Holy Trinity Church in Geneva and the Amaryllis Fleming Concert Hall at the RCM.
She has performed the roles of Dido in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, Mabel in Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance, and Angelina in Gilbert and Sullivan's Trial by Jury. Future engagements include singing for Prince Charles at his President's visit to the RCM, competing in the Thelma King Award and being the soprano soloist in a number of Bach Cantatas at the Early Music Festival in Sandwich, Kent.
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Lydia began her formal vocal tuition at Wells Cathedral School, one of only five specialist music schools s
upported by the government's Music and Dance Scheme for the country's most gifted young musicians. At Wells she studied singing with Nigel Perrin, and toured
Beijing and Hong Kong with the School's acclaimed Chamber Choir.
Whilst studying English Literature and History at Cardiff University, Lydia was a member of several choirs including the University Chamber Choir and BBC National Chorus of Wales. She is now proud to be a member of two of the country's leading chamber choirs, the Exon Singers and the Wellensian Consort, with whom she has performed at many of the leading festivals and concert venues in the UK and overseas, including the Royal Festival Hall, Symphony Hall Birmingham, Wigmore Hall and Cadogan Hall. With these and other ensembles she has enjoyed taking many solo roles and is keen to develop her solo repertoire over the coming years.
Lydia is currently continuing her vocal studies with acclaimed teacher Miriam Bowen, whilst also studying for her Graduate Diploma in Law at the College of Law, Bristol.
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Will started his musical life as a chorister in Salisbury Cathedral under the guidance and training of Dr Richard Seal and David Halls. During those five years he got his first taste of tours,
broadcasts and recordings, most notably the Monteverdi Choir recording of Fauré's Requiem featuring the boys of Salisbury Cathedral under Sir John Eliot Gardiner in 1991.
After a music scholarship at Marlborough College in Wiltshire Will won a choral scholarship to Magdalen College, Oxford, where he read music. Whilst at Magdalen he toured Japan and performed in countless concerts with several choirs including Schola Cantorum and The Oxford Chamber Choir.
Will sang for several years with The National Youth Choir of Great Britain under Mike Brewer and toured the Pacific ring with them in 1996. After graduating in 2000, Will was a lay-clerk with the choir of New College, Oxford for three years, and performed with the choir throughout Europe and made several recordings, including Pergolesi's Marian Vespers and Bach's St John Passion, where he features as the servant.
Within the consort world, Will sings with various top-class ensembles including The Sixteen, The King's Consort, Polyphony, The Gabrieli Consort, The Monteverdi Choir and Alamire. With these groups, Will has toured all over the world, including several recent trips across Europe and to the States.
Recent concerts include performances of Handel's Messiah with The Sixteen, the Mozart and Biber Requiems with the Gabrieli Consort and the Monteverdi Vespers in St Mark's Basilica, Venice, with the Monteverdi Choir. He is also a loyal member of Sarum Voices and has performed and recorded with them widely in Salisbury and beyond.
Will performs frequently as a soloist with several choral societies and choruses, with regular repertoire including Hande''s Messiah, Samson and Solomon, Mozart's Requiem, Haydn's Creation, Mendelssohn's Elijah, Dvorak's Stabat Mater and Bach's B Minor Mass and St John Passion. He has featured as a soloist a number of times in Salisbury Cathedral, most notably at the 2006 Southern Cathedrals Festival in the gala concert of Mozart's Requiem.
Will's family live in Nailsea and he is delighted to be returning to Bristol for this concert.
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Niall started singing in the choir of Clare College, Cambridge. He now lives, sings, runs and teaches near Bristol.
Niall's opera performances have included title roles in Orfeo, Don Giovanni, Macbeth, The Flying Dutchman, The Mikado and Falstaff. Last month saw him perform in Tchaikovsk''s Queen of Spades. He mostly seems to be cast these days as ‘daddies and baddies'.
Concert appearances have encompassed works by Bach, Mahler, Vaughan Williams, with Orff's Carmina Burana cropping up rather often. Niall's solo song repertoire is in English, French, German and Russian and has included a number of first performances.
Niall has performed the Ellington Sacred Concerts music several times with Stan Tracey and the Orchestra, in cathedrals around the country, at the Three Choirs Festival, on CD and most memorably at St Paul's in 2006. This month he is singing Mozart, Haydn, Handel, Elgar and Orff in concert, as well as performing the Ellington again in York Minster; he's then taking a break in April to concentrate on the London Marathon.
Visit his website at: www.niallhoskin.co.uk
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Bristol Ensemble (formerly Emerald Ensemble) is Bristol's professional chamber orchestra, and is renowned for its accessible, passionate, warm and virtuosic performances.
The group holds a pivotal position in South West music, presenting a varied programme of concerts and events in the region's major venues. Formed in 1994 by Roger Huckle, Bristol Ensemble is a musicians' collective, bringing together the best of the region's performers.
The group regularly work with outstanding international artists and soloists, including Willard White, Emma Kirkby, James Bowman, Andy Shephard (jazz saxophone), Wayne Marshall (piano), Leslie Garrett, Emma Johnson (clarinet), Victor Hugo-Villena (bandoneon), as well as exceptional young artists such as Natalie Lomeiko (violin) Jiafeng Chen (violin) and Adam Walker (flute).
They are particularly known for their collaborations with other art forms and their film and media work as well as their highly acclaimed contemporary music series Elektrostatic at the Colston Hall where they work with such artists as Gabriel Prokofiev, Juice, Get the Blessing, and Charles Johnston. They welcomed USA group Eighth Blackbird to this series in 2011.
The Ensemble are proud of their active and innovative education programme, both with ‘Preludes' in Bristol schools, and with the adult education arm ‘all 4 music'.
Visit their website at: www.bristolensemble.com
|1st Violins:||Roger Huckle (leader), Naomi Rump, Lucy Anne Allen, Matt Everett, Emil Kleve|
|2nd Violins:||Rachel Gough, Nicolette Brown, Marion Givens, Simon Howes|
|Violas:||Carl Hill, Moira Alabaster, Ben Kaminski|
|Cellos:||Juliet McCarthy, Alison Gillies, Nikki Thomas|
|Double bass:||Jub Davis|
|Oboes:||Imogen Triner, Kim Keeble|
|Bassoons:||Linda Begbie, David Adams|
|Horns:||Mark Kane, Laura Tanner|
|Trumpets:||Gavin Wells, Simon Jones|
|Trombones:||Garfield Austin, Will Hall, Luke Gilbert|
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