Congratulations to everyone involved in last Saturday’s annual Colyer-Fergusson Cathedral Concert; to all the performers in the University Chorus and Symphony Orchestra, the stewards, those working behind the scenes, conductor Susan Wanless and soprano soloist, Rachel Nicholls.
Many thanks and congratulations to the members of the University Chamber Choir on delivering a fine Choral Evensong at Canterbury Cathedral yesterday.
The students travelled down the hill to participate in the centuries-old tradition of evensong, with a colourful set of Responses written by David Truslove, and the evocative anthem Blest are the Pure in Heart by composer James Webb, both of which rang beautifully in the lofty roof of the Quire.
And thank you to James, who had travelled down to Canterbury especially to hear the Choir perform his piece. It was a lovely opportunity for the students to participate in the daily life of the Cathedral and experience the nature of the service of Evensong.
We return to the Cathedral for the annual Colyer-Fergusson concert in the Nave on Saturday 30 March, and the University Cecilian Choir will be singing Choral Evensong on Tuesday 28 May.
Congratulations to all the performers involved in Saturday night’s annual Colyer-Fergusson Concert, which saw the Nave of Canterbury Cathedral resounding to the heroic strains of Beethoven, Haydn and the premiere of a new work by Matthew King.
The Chorus and Orchestra came together under the baton of Susan Wanless in Haydn’s dramatic ‘Nelson Mass,’ joined by several alumni, and the Orchestra (led by final-year Law student and Music Scholar, Lydia Cheng), delivered Beethoven’s mighty Eroica symphony with aplomb.
Composer Matthew King and family were present for the first performance of Matthew’s A Hero Passes, an orchestral tribute to his late father, James King OBE, with which the concert opened. Matthew attended rehearsals the night before and on the morning at the Cathedral.
Thanks to all the behind-the-scenes crew as well, on what is a particularly long day; here’s Your Loyal Correspondent and the Music Administrator clearly early on the day…There are still plenty of events to come over the next few weeks: see what’s next here.
A packed Canterbury Cathedral was the backdrop to Saturday’s performance by the University Chorus and Symphony Orchestra of Berlioz’s epic Symphonie fantastique and Beethoven’s rousing Mass in C.
The long day began bright and early with the crew arriving at the concert-hall to load two vans with all the equipment needed, and unfolded across the day with the arrival of additional percussion in the form of two tuned bells and an additional timp, plus not one but two harpists.
Soloists Sally Silver and Kiri Parker were joined by University alumni Andrew Macnair and Piran Legg for the Beethoven, which in a hushed ‘Agnus Dei’ brought the concert to a close.
The Orchestra and Chorus will be back in action next month on Sunday 3 April in a Sunday afternoon programme of music by Copland, Bernstein and Gershwin.
The mightiest orchestra the University Music department has ever assembled will gather next week, as the Chorus and Symphony Orchestra come together for a revolutionary tale of dreams, dances, hallucinations and desire in Canterbury Cathedral on Saturday 5 March.
Under the incisive baton of Susan Wanless, the Orchestra will perform one of the most exciting, revolutionary pieces in the repertoire, Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, a story of hopeless passion, unrequited love and hallucinogenic visions, with its famous ball scene, the March to the Scaffold and terrifying final bacchanalian revelry of sorcerers and witches. In the immortal words of conductor Leonard Bernstein – ‘Berlioz tells it like it is. You take a trip, you wind up screaming at your own funeral.’
The second half of the concert brings in the University Chorus for a performance of Beethoven’s Mass in C, with four outstanding soloists Sally Silver, Kiri Parker and University alumni Andrew Macnair and Piran Legg.
Susan Wanless is particularly excited at the prospect of unleashing Berlioz’s masterpiece in the Cathedral in the annual Colyer-Fergusson concert, always one of the highlights of the University year. ‘To present such spectacular pieces, complete with off-stage instruments and massive orchestral forces, will be thrilling for both the performers and audience alike!’
The Orchestra has been hard at work industriously rehearsing for next week’s epic performance, and the concert promises to be an occasion not to be missed: tickets and details online here. Prepare to be led on a whirlwind of love, death and dance next week…
About to finish her MA in Comparative Literature, her second postgraduate degree, having finished a Master of Education (English and Maths) in Berlin last year, Svenja Glass looks back on her involvement in music at Kent.
I was here first in 2012/13 as an Erasmus student from Free University Berlin (just like Max Mergenbaum, funnily enough, only I came via the English Department!). At that time, I studied English and Maths in Berlin, but on coming to Kent I just attended seminars in English Literature (and German Translation and Danish …). Then I went back to Berlin to finish my M.Ed. and decided to come back to Canterbury because I had enjoyed my year at the University of Kent so much – especially the music-making.
On the occasion of the valedictory concert in June we were given tags to write down our best memory related to music at the University of Kent – 50th anniversary of the university, 50 memories. It goes without saying that it is impossible to choose just one single memory, but it certainly offered a welcome opportunity to re-live what made 2014/15 so special for me.
I sang in the University Chorus, and I enjoyed every single rehearsal (did you know that Popocatépetl is a volcano in Mexico? Say the name eight times as fast as you can!). To quote Sue: “an hour of singing will do you a world of good,” and this is absolutely true, particularly in the face of several essay deadlines approaching at once (Dies Irae!). Performing Verdi’s Requiem in the Cathedral with around 180 other singers and the University Symphony Orchestra was, of course, epic!
Moreover, I took the chance to go to a variety of concerts (I think I never went to so many concerts), especially exploring some more modern music, which I would not normally have dared to attend. Walton’s Façade, performed by the CantiaQuorum ensemble in November and featuring some Canterbury-VIPs as readers is just one fantastic example.
Naturally, the best concerts were the ones in which my friends performed. The high standard of music-making at the university is simply amazing. And talking about friends, I met a lot of wonderful people from all possible subject areas – economics, biomedical science, you name it, and we had a perfectly marvellous time playing the piano together , for instance, or singing Christmas carols on campus and in town. After all, the best thing about Music at the University of Kent is spending your free (or not-quite-so-free-but-rather-busy) time with a lovely bunch of people who share a great passion for music.
Students from across the world come to the University of Kent, and this is certainly true of the thronging community which also takes part in the musical life of the University each year.
This year, Max Mergenbaum came to Kent to study Politics and International Relations for two terms as an exchange student at the Freie Universität in Berlin. Max played bassoon in the Symphony Orchestra and the Wind Ensemble, and had this to say as he departed these shores to return to Germany.
“Playing in the University of Kent Orchestra was both an honour and a pleasure for me. As a visiting exchange student from Germany, I received a lot of support from the start. Being able to play Verdi’s Requiem in the Canterbury Cathedral was definitely one of the highlights of my year abroad which I will never forget. It was amazing to play together with so many talented young musicians. Following the motto of the music department ‘Whatever you do, do music’ I can only recommend every student coming to Kent to join this fantastic orchestra!”
We wish Max well.
Because it does. Doesn't it ? Blogging about extra-curricular musical life at the University of Kent.