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.
Our new concert series launches in exactly two weeks, and we’re delighted to be welcoming back Fara, who bring part of their 2018 tour to Colyer-Fergusson Hall on Friday 9 February at 7.30pm.
Bringing together four young musicans at the leading-edge of the Scottish folk music scene, the ensemble has been a previous winner of the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award, and will bring its mixture of original songs and traditional Orkney tunes to the concert-hall.
Tickets and details here: prepare to be transported to the Isle of Orkney…
Our new What’s Onseries of events from February to June has gone live this morning, with full details of all the events coming at you over the next six months.
Our annual visits to Canterbury Cathedral sees Minerva Voices in the Crypt next month in Vivaldi’s Gloria, whilst the Chorus and Orchestra come together in Beethoven’s Mass in C and the Symphonie fantastique by Berlioz in March. The first of two concerts from the Cecilian Choir and Sinfonia will recreate the era of Louis XIV in a lunchtime concert celebrating the music of Lully in February, and at the end of March they bring two dramatic choral works by Vivaldi to St Peter’s Methodist Church in Canterbury. You’re also invited to leap aboard the Musical Express! with the Concert and Big Bands later in March, with a steam-driven programme including music by Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington and Philip Sparke.
The Lunchtime Concert series continues, with music from Total Brass and the Native Oyster Band, and our resident ensemble, CantiaQuorum, brings Wynton Marsalis’ Fiddler’s Tale to the concert-hall on 19 February – the American theme continues in April with a concert by the Chorus and Orchestra including Gershwin’s popular Rhapsody in Blue with pianist Helen Crayford. And the #EarBoxseries exploring links between music and visual art returns to Studio 3 Gallery in two events – choral music from Minerva Voices and a concert by the Flute Choir. The Music Theatre Society takes the stage with some furry friends in a combination of puppetry and show-tunes, and there’s even some musical wizardry as part of ‘A Wonderful Week of Words’ in an informal lunchtime concert featuring music from Harry Potter and other magical pieces. There’s also a brief look ahead to come of the events taking place as part of Summer Music Week in June.
We’re also pleased to welcome many external concerts and events to Colyer-Fergusson over the coming months, including pianists Malcom Binns and Imogen Cooper, the Aurora Orchestra, and many local ensembles; see all that’s to come in our online calendar here, or download a copy of the new brochure here (pdf). Or view the department events at a glance on our digital fridge-door of post-It Notes here.
From the infinite mystery of the opening bars to the dramatically hushed close, Saturday’s performance of Verdi’s Requiem by the University Chorus and Symphony Orchestra for this year’s Colyer-Fergusson Cathedral Concert was full of high drama.
Standing in as a last-minute replacement for the billed soprano soloist, Rachel Nicholls took time out from her current ENO run of Die Meistersingers to step up alongside mezzo Carolyn Dobbins, tenor Gerard Schneider and bass Simon Thorpe, and together all four singers delivered Verdi’s demanding solo parts with consummate skill. Under the baton of Susan Wanless, the Chorus and Orchestra both rose to the occasion superbly. From the off-stage trumpets ranged high above in the organ-loft to the bass-drum positioned down the side-aisle, the combined forces filled the majestic Cathedral with Verdi’s profound meditation on death and redemption, rich in operatic detail crammed into oratorio form.
It’s a long day that starts at 9am with the heroic crew who pitched up on campus to load two vans with all the equipment to take down to the Cathedral, and ends with that same equipment delivered back to campus at 10.30pm, with rehearsal and performance in between. It was lovely to see many alumni come back to sing in the Chorus, with the concert a major highlight of the University’s 50th anniversary celebrations throughout this year.
(Much excitement was caused by the arrival of the 66-inch bass drum from Bell Percussion, which was mobbed by many people eager to be photographed with the monster-drum, you’d have thought it was a Hollywood Celebrity…)
Very many thanks to everyone involved; a triumphant conclusion to all the hard work put it by students, staff, alumni and members of the local community, who came together in the splendour of Canterbury Cathedral for a memorable performance.
A big week this week, as we continue our preparations ahead of the annual Colyer-Fergusson Cathedral Concert on Saturday, for which the combined might of the University Chorus and Symphony Orchestra will come together in Verdi’s Requiem.
Here’s the Chorus in fine form yesterday afternoon, rehearsing old-skool style in Grimond, where for many years the Chorus used to meet each Monday night. Although we don’t recall its ever having been quite so green before…
Yesterday’s all-day rehearsal is followed by rehearsals tonight, Thursday and on Saturday morning. It all culminates on Saturday evening; how much tremor there shall be…
Our resident professional ensemble, CantiaQuorum, returns to Colyer-Fergusson in two weeks time with a programme of music based around your living-room.
Lurking at the heart of a fascinating programme that include Bach’s sumptuous Concerto for Two Violins in D minor and Telemann’s Tafelmusik Suite in D is Cage’s Living Room Music, written for an unspecified quartet that plays any object or architectural feature which can readily be found in a living-room. The second movement sees the performers turn to speech, using parts of ‘The World Is Round’ by Gertrude Stein, whilst the contrasting outer movements see household objects transformed into funky percussion – less ‘Uptown Funk’ than ‘At Home Funk.’
The concert also includes Bach’s wonderful Concerto for Two Violins; I’ll leave you with the achingly-beautiful second movement, performed here live at the Proms by Rachel Podger and Andrew Manze.
The termly concert by the University Chorus and Orchestra last night saw three musical alumni returning to the Colyer-Fergusson Hall.
Soprano Caroline Kennedy, tenor Andrew Macnair and bass Piran Legg came back to Kent for a performance of Mozart’s Vespers, joined also by mezzo Bethan Langford. whilst the Orchestra furnished the remainder of the programme with Mozart’s overture to The Magic Flute and Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony.
Under the baton of Sue Wanless, the Orchestra delivered a sprightly and rousing reading of the Beethoven, in particular with an agile second movement that deftly steered clear of the more usual funereal tempi often heard in performance. The concert also saw second-year violinist Chantelle Yau making her debut as orchestral leader.
The next time Chorus and Orchestra perform, it’ll be in the august surroundings of Canterbury Cathedral for Verdi’s Requiem as part of the University’s fiftieth-anniversary celebrations. And That Famous Bass Drum Bit..
Next week is the penultimate week of term, and the events are starting to come thick and fast;
Weds 10 Dec, 1.10pm; the Musical Theatre Society presents a lunchtime of carol-singing on the foyer-stage – admission is free
Thurs 11 Dec, Studio 3 Gallery, Jarman Building, 1pm; the Cecilian Choir presents a festive lunchtime of carols amidst the current exhibition in Studio 3 Gallery over in the School of Arts’ Jarman Building, followed by refreshments; the event is free, details on Facebook here
Saturday 13 Dec, 7.30pm; the University Chorus and Orchestra will be joined by musical alumni in the end of term concert featuring music by Mozart and Beethoven.
And there’s more to come the following week as well; see everything that’s to come on our What’s On page here.
Because it does. Doesn't it ? Blogging about extra-curricular musical life at the University of Kent.