Another year of extra-curricular music-making has come to a close with this year’s Summer Music Week. Taking place across eight days, the series of concerts ranged from the evocative Crypt of Canterbury Cathedral to a sun-drenched trip to the seaside and Deal Bandstand, two Scholars’ Lunchtime Concerts, the ceremony for this year’s Music Prize Winners (about which more shortly…) and more, all coming to a rousing finale with the closing Saturday gala.
Here are some of the images capturing this year’s series of events; as always, our enormous thanks to everyone who took part – students and staff at a particularly busy time in the academic year, alumni, and members of the local community – in a splendid festival. There’s always a wonderful community feeling to the week, as musicians come together for the last time, some for the final performance before graduating. To those who are leaving: ave atque vale; to those who are returning in September, see you then!
There’s no respite in the calendar of performing commitments; fresh from Saturday’s epic Colyer-Fergusson Concert, the University Chamber Choir returns to the Cathedral Crypt this coming Friday for an evocative programme, Then Comes The Day.
The title of the concert is taken from a line in the Hymn to the Virgin, ‘Darkest night / Then comes the day,’ which features in the concert, representing the triumph of optimism over despair in a programme that commemorates European countries involved in the First World War. Your Loyal Correspondent will be joined in conducting duties by fourth-year Music Scholar Emma Murton to fill the ancient and echoing spaces of the Cathedral Crypt with what promises to be a vividly expressive sequence of music.
From the Renaissance austerity of Tallis’ Nine Tunes for Archbishop Parker’s Psalter through to the contemporary colours of Jussi Chydenius, Friday’s concert travels through England, France, Germany, Italy and Finland, and will include Schutz’ glorious Jauchzet den Herren, earthy part-songs by Lassus, Stanford’s purple-hued The Blue Bird and works by Purcell, JC Bach and Elgar. Second-year Music Scholar Anne Engels will join the Choir, performing pieces for solo flute including Debussy’s lissom Syrinx.
The concert starts at 7.30pm; more details and tickets here.
To whet your appetites, here’s Stanford’s The Blue Bird, sung by the Choir of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge.
A dizzying profusion of events is unleashed over the coming months, as you can now see from our online events calendar.
The free Lunchtime Concert series includes a visit from British saxophonist Martin Speake, who brings his trio as part of his current UK tour, and from acclaimed sitar-player, Jonathan Mayer. There’s the annual Colyer-Fergusson Cathedral Concert with the University Chorus and Orchestra, this year commemorating the First World War with music by Elgar and Vaughan Williams, and the Chamber Choir returns to the Cathedral Crypt to sing a programme including Palestrina, Brahms, Whitacre and Paul Patterson.
Conductor Ian Swatman leads the Concert and Big Bands at the end of February in Ravel and Earth, Wind and Fire, and later teams up with the Big Band from St Edmund’s School in a charity gig in aid of the Pilgrim’s Hospice. There’s music down the hill, too, as the Lost Consort explores the music of Hildegard von Bingen in the Roman Undercroft of St Thomas’ Hospital, and the Chamber & Cecilian Choirs at St Peter’s Methodist with music by Hassler, Maskats and Chilcott.
Visitors to the concert-hall include Rachel Podger, who brings a recital of works for solo baroque violin, and later in May there’s a recital from pianist Malcolm Binns.
Plenty to enjoy over the coming months; see the calendar online here, or download the brochure (PDF) here. Meanwhile, the Lunchtime Concert series begins on Weds February 12 with music for two-pianos and four-hands by Poulenc, Ravel and Gavin Bryars with pianists Matthew King and your loyal correspondent, who is now off to practice…
Second-year International Business student Matthew Bamford reviews last week’s Crypt Concert.
The crypt of Canterbury Cathedral is an incredibly special and unique performance space. This intimate venue was host to the University of Kent Chamber Choir, conducted by Dan Harding and Steph Richardson.
The aim of the concert was to explore a whole day from the rise of the sun right the way through until midnight. Using a blend of sacred and secular pieces the programme consisted of madrigals, part-songs, motets and two pieces for solo piano.
From the first words of the plainsong Salve festa dies, I knew that I was in for a very enjoyable evening. This set the mood for the first section of the concert. Eric Barnum’s Dawn followed; the beginning of the piece using an incredibly simple harmonic structure. However at the end of the piece there was an interesting section where each of the sopranos sang an individual note of the scale. The composer’s idea here was to ‘create a golden light’. I think it is fair to say that this was most definitely captured.
My next highlight was the solo piano piece Un Sospiro. One of Liszt’z concert studies was expertly handled by second year music scholar Susan Li. The piece was received with rapturous applause after Li really brought out the richness of the piece.
As the day began to draw to a close, there was time for some playful madrigal singing before bed. Tutto lo di, a lively and fun piece written by Orlando di Lassus was intelligently sung by the choir. Despite the choir wanting to ‘play all day’, the long day did have to draw to a close with a beautiful rendition of this piece by Sullivan, conducted by Steph Richardson.
After twenty minutes in which to dwell on the first half, carrying a zebra print handbag (thanks Sophie!), the second half opened with the beautiful Sleep, Wayward Thoughts. The mood of the concert then headed to a more relaxed state as we heard In Stiller Nacht by Brahms. Sung in German, this piece focused on exploring the timelessness of night. This was captured well by the rhythmic sense of the choir and really was a very relaxing piece.
We were treated to another lovely piano solo, Chopin’s Nocturne in F Minor,’again received by the audience with excellent applause.
The concert ended with Eric Whitacre’s Sleep, which really is full of colour. This contemporary piece was delivered to an outstanding standard which left the audience wanted more (although I’m sure nobody was expecting the encore!).
We all thought it was over, until we had the pleasure of Harding’s arrangement of ‘Moondance’ by the legend that is Van Morrison. A completely contrasting piece to hear in the context of the rest of the programme, although everybody thoroughly enjoyed it and if like me, carried on singing it for the whole weekend.
Thank you to Dan Harding, Steph Richardson, Susan Li and The University Chamber Choir for a fantastic Friday evening; I’m looking forward to the next concert on March 30th.
Because it does. Doesn't it ? Blogging about extra-curricular musical life at the University of Kent.