A Ceremony of Cecilians

The newly-formed University Cecilian Choir met for the first time earlier today, and discovered plenty of opportunity for confusion during the warm-up – we discovered we have two Sophies, two Hannahs, and one Montana. You can see how this year is going to shape up…

Nearly all the Cecilian Choir!

This year, we’re working on developing Britten’s evergreen A Ceremony of Carols, for a performance next term, which falls during the centenary celebrations of Britten’s birth. Having a harpist Scholar (Emma) at the University, it seemed churlish not to do the Britten, really…

Rehearsing started with a look at ‘There is no rose,’ which builds from relatively simple triads in F major to a spectacular burst of A major at ‘Gloria in excelsis Deo,’ at which point the newly-formed Choir really let rip and sounded like they’d been together for six months already. A good sign! And with approximately another third of the Choir coming next week as well, the sound could be enormous…

In contrast, ‘This little Babe’ is a fiercely intense charge through E minor with plenty of opportunities to fall foul of some linguistic trickery – at one point, the altos ended up singing about ‘haystacks’ rather than ‘haystalks’ and the sopranos singing enthusiastically about ‘shepherd’s pie,’ which isn’t quite what the imagery entails…

We finished by looking at what is my favourite movement, ‘Spring,’ which captures the mood of the season with delicate finesse in the swoops of modal harmony in the accompaniment, a skirling rhythmic sense, and wonderfully simple phrases in the voices. We ran the movement from start to finish to close the rehearsal, and I was able to leave playing the voice-parts and instead play the accompaniment – a sign that this choir can pick things up very quickly indeed.

Seeing stars

Even though we were missing a few members, a very positive start; and, following the precedent set at the Chamber Choir rehearsal on Tuesday, there were biscuits at this rehearsal too. Next week ?

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