By Mark Ellul (Bass)
The Requiem looms large in the life of choral singers. Some of the most performed and beloved pieces in the choral repertoire set the text of the Latin Missa pro Defunctis, Mass for the dead. I grew up singing these mysterious words in many guises, from the consolatory and deeply personal: Faure, Howells, to the declamatory and ostentatious: Mozart, Verdi. Quite apart from their ritualistic liturgical context, the text seems to cry in an essentially human and fragile voice: timeo – I am afraid, and libera me – free me, as well as the desire to see hope, lux aeterna, in desolation.
Continue reading Requiem
By Ian Stephens (Bass)
Bach’s St Matthew Passion is one of those absolute towering masterpieces of music – of any music, written anywhere and at any time. I’ve never sung the whole piece before – in fact I think I’d only previously sung the opening and closing choruses. I have to admit that I regarded it with some trepidation – the score is enormous, with 68 separate numbers, some of them subdivided into further sections. But our director Jonny Lo’s finely-paced rehearsals have put paid to any misgivings.
Continue reading Singing the St. Matthew Passion
By Philip Duffy (Tenor)
From time to time the choir engages a guest conductor, and for the Christmas concert, we’re being directed by Ewa Strusinska. She’s Polish of course, although no stranger to Manchester, as she has studied at the RNCM, directed the Hallé Youth Choir and been Assistant Conductor of the Hallé Orchestra.
Continue reading In Dulci Jubilo
By Jonathan Lo (Musical Director)
Chapel. Royal. Two words that independently conjure up all sorts of
instant assumptions – the religious, the pious, the pageantry, the monarchy….
Continue reading Music from the Chapel Royal
By Alice Capper
For those of us who performed at the BBC Proms last year it was a somewhat drastic change of scene, from barely more than a handful of sopranos and altos singing backup for Jarvis Cocker, to almost 200 singers belting Beethoven’s mighty “et vitam ventui saeculi” from the Missa Solemnis.
Continue reading Beethoven Missa Solemnis