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“Inside Track” – St Albans Davidson

Getting used to the the 3pm starts now. It’s nice to have the morning to just chill out and relax before the afternoon and evening committments. Today we had an open rehearsal and so members of a local retirement home enjoyed coming in to listen to us being put through our paces by Dr Darlington. It’s an interesting experience having an open rehearsal because it needs to run as ‘normal’ as possible even though there’s a slight performance element to it. Still, a valuable experience and it highlighted the things that needed a bit more work. A few rusty moments but ones that we felt would be sorted out come concert time.

For dinner, spaghetti and meatballs were carefully eaten by the boys so as to not colour in their lovely white shirts! No disasters so matron, aka choir mum, was happy!

We began the programme with Lassus’ De Profundis. Then Mr Driskill-Smith played the Fantasia in G minor BWV542. He played this difficult piece beautifully on a particularly awkard organ, as only Clive can! This was followed by the Kyrie “le Roy” by Taverner and Ave Maria by Parsons. Clive then completed his performance with the corresponding Fugue. It was a sublime performance. The first half was rounded off with the ‘fan favourite’, Allegri’s Miserere.

After the drinks break we began with something entirely different: Maxwell Davies wrote Jesus Autem Hodie in 1962 and it depicts the baptism of Christ in a mesmerising way. The ‘other’ Tavener wrote the Orthodox Mass, from which our next piece came, for Christ Church. The Lord’s Prayer is a haunting setting of this text. To close off this bracket we sang The Lord Is My Shepherd by Berkeley. This featured our fantastic treble soloist, Jonny Laxton, who gave a great performance. Michael Heighway then played his Buxtehude before we sang our final bracket of Britten’s Te Deum in C, Goodall’s Veni Sancte Spiritus and Walton’s Jubilate, which was an exciting way to finish the concert. The audience gave us another standing ovation and it was nice to speak to some of them afterwards.

Tomorrow’s a travel day with a seven-hour bus journey to look forward to…However, the sights and sounds of Washington DC await us, which I know everyone is excited about.

 

 

 

 

(Michael Heighway)

St Albans – Davidson

St Albans Episcopal Church, 302 Caldwell Lane, Davidson NC 28036

Tel: 704 892 0173 Email: saintalbans@gostalbans.org

Performance Wednesday 30th March at 7.30pm

Tonight’s programme juxtaposes some of the finest sacred choral works of the sixteenth and twentieth centuries. The season of Lent has inspired a wealth of music throughout history, and two pieces are included here: Lassus’s setting of Psalm 130 and Allegri’s famous setting of Psalm 51, the Miserere.  The first half of the programme is completed with music by two English composers of the same period, John Taverner, the first director of Music at Christ Church and Robert Parsons. After the interval, by way of contrast,  we explore the richness of English choral music of the twentieth century, starting with the current Master of the Queen’s Music, Peter Maxwell Davies, and his great contemporary John Tavener. The final group includes Britten’s masterly setting of the Te Deum, a contemporary piece by Howard Goodall, and finally, a rousing setting of the Jubilate by William Walton, another famous Christ Church alumnus.

De Profundis – Orlande de Lassus (1532 1594)

Short Organ Piece

Kyrie Le Roy – John Taverner (1490 – 1545)

Ave Maria – Robert Parsons (1530 – 1570)

Short Organ Piece

Miserere – Gregorio Allegri (1582 – 1552)

Interval

Jesus autem hodie – P Maxwell Davies (b 1934)

Song of Simeon: Lors’ Prayer – John Tavener (b 1944)

The Lord is my shepherd – Lennox Berkeley (1903 – 1989)

Organ Piece

Te Deum in C – Benjamin Britten (1913 – 1976)

I am not I – Howard Goodall (b 1958)

Jubilate – William Walton (1902 – 1983)

Bringing Christ Church – Oxford and Musical Magic to You!

If you live in America or Canada, and you are like me an Alumnus of Christ Church or of any college at Oxford, you can’t easily take a day trip down to Oxford to see the place or spend and evening with old friends. You can’t take your spouse or children there easily either. Oxford fades away. As I get older, I feel more cut off from this special time in my life. I feel sad that I have not been able to share this place and experience with those closest to me. As I get older I want to get that feeling again and I want to share it with people that are important to me.

If you are one of the 65 million people in America that either sing in a choir today, or have sung in a choir, you can’t easily get personal exposure to one of the great English Male Choirs. Yes of course you can hear their music or see them on video but how often can you hear them in person? Or even better, how often can you go behind the scenes and be with them as they practice? Or even better how often can you meet them and talk with them about what it is like to be a professional musician aged 9? What would it be like for you to be part of such a musical experience not only to be present for a performance but to get involved directly?

This then is the context for our tour.

We will do our best to bring your experience of Christ Church, or Oxford itself, to you so that you can  have a moment when you are taken back there. When you might be able to offer a glimpse to those you love and care for of the essence of the spirit of that place.

We will do our best to bring a full choral and musical experience to those of you that love choral music. In each place we perform, we will have an open rehearsal designed to enable you to have the maximum exposure and contact behind the scenes. And of course we bring one of the world’s great choirs who will be singing some of the finest choral music ever written. Here are a few of our programs – Here HereHere

If you live in North Carolina, Washington DC, New York, Boston or Toronto – we are going to bring all of this to you in late March and early April.

Before we arrive Tom King, our brilliant web master, videographer and I will do our best to introduce the choir to you. We will post videos of all the participants – the boys, the men singers, organists, the place, the music, the history – we plan to bring as much of the humanity of this great body to you. As I write these words the irony of what I say leaps out. For here is a choir that is 500 years old, formed at the time of Henry VIII, using Social Media to help you find out more about us.

I have myself many stories about my own love of this kind of music. I too was a Boy Chorister – not at Christ Church I regret. But Tom was a chorister. There is something about singing in a choir that is life enhancing. So that we can tell these stories to each other and learn more about how to attend and how to help persuade your friends to join you – Tom and I have set up a FaceBook Group here as well.

Welcome to this special world that is the Christ Church Choir. Tom and I look forward to getting to know you.