Tag Archives: Lost Consort

Back through time: the Lost Consort

One of the smallest ensembles this year, the eight-voice Lost Consort has been quietly working away on ancient repertoire over the past couple of terms in preparation for two unique performances.

The group has been focusing on plainsong, including the luminous Kyrie by Hildegard von Bingen, in a sequence of music combined with Renaissance polyphony by William Byrd, exploring the remarkable contrast that occurs when a piece of plainchant suddenly blossoms into a four-part motet.

Yesterday, the group (or most of them, anyway…) met to rehearse in the sonorous acoustics of Studio 3 Gallery, the University’s art gallery in the Jarman Building, where unfurling Ave maris stella and Victimae paschali laudes into the richly resonant space was a breathtaking experience; the pacing of these whorling lines needs different considerations when compared to the way we’ve been pacing them in rehearsals in the concert-hall. And Byrd’s Ave Verum Corpus bloomed into a hugely expressive, lachrymaic ode in Studio 3, taking on both an emotional grandeur and contrastingly a greater sense of intimacy (six voices raised in such an echoing space) at the same time.

We’re preparing the sequence to perform amidst a sonic backdrop of a forest soundscape – and no, not just to play on Byrd/bird song… – which we were experimenting with yesterday, which created a wonderful sense of space, and which we are performing on Tuesday 3 April at 1.10pm; the change from musical colours to the natural sounds of birdsong leads the listener to a completely different place. And later, in June, the group will present the programme in the historic Undercroft of the 12-century Eastbridge Pilgrim’s Hospital in the heart of Canterbury as part of Summer Music Week.

If yesterday’s rehearsal was anything to go by, the two events promise to be revelatory; come and experience time-out-of-time for yourself on Tuesday 3 April…

Wolcum, Yule! Lost Consort opens seasonal musical calendar

The seasonal musical calendar was opened last Friday, as the University Lost Consort brought the ancient undercroft of the Pilgrim’s Hospital in Canterbury alive to the sound of Benjamin Britten.

The audience filled the historic space to bursting for a performance of Britten’s Ceremony of Carols, in which the choir was joined by harpist and fourth-year student, Emma Murton, conducted by Dan Harding. First-year alto Ruth Webster captured the mournful air of the dissonant ‘That Yongë Childe,’ whilst third-year soprano, Gabriella Grandi, lulled the listener in ‘Balulalow.’ After the opening plainchant, ‘Hodie Christus natus est,’ had died away, the choir launched into a vibrant ‘Wolcum Yole!’ and moved through the lyrical ‘There is no rose’ through to the fierce ‘This Little Babe;’ the challenging ‘In Freezing Winter Night’ rose and fell in the hushed confines of the packed undercroft, before the evergreen ‘Spring Carol’ and the animated ‘Deo Gracias’ led into the reprise of the plainchant, and the piece dissolved amidst the ancient stone.

Credit to Emma for deftly delivering a tricky harp-part, and to the whole ensemble for a spirited and enthusiastic way in which to begin the Music department’s musical Christmas.

Photos © Matt Wilson / University of Kent

Busy week ahead…

Two events coming up next week;

Strange and Ancient Instruments
Strange and Ancient Instruments

Wednesday 3 December sees the last of this term’s Lunchtime Concerts from the Society of Strange and Ancient Instruments, in an exploration of Renaissance, Baroque and traditional Norwegian music – 1.10pm, admission is free with a retiring donation. Here’s fiddle-player & singer with the group, Benedicte Maurseth, in interview:

And on Friday 5 December, the Lost Consort launches our musical celebrations for the festive season with a candle-lit performance of Britten’s enchanting Ceremony of Carols for upper-voices and harp, with harpist Emma Murton, conducted by Your Loyal Correspondent, in the historic setting of the undercroft of the ancient Pilgrim’s Hospital in Canterbury. Admission is free, with a retiring collection in aid of the Hospital.

Lost Consort Britten WS

Details about both these events online here.

The daffodils are smiling at the dove; Summer Music Week starts this weekend

University Music will truly be finding an element of fun in every job that must be done from this Sunday onwards, when Summer Music Week bursts into life both on and off campus between 8 – 15 June.

The annual musical adieu to the academic year starts this Sunday, and will present a heady pot pourri of events featuring many of the University musicians and ensembles, culminating in the climactic Music for a Summer’s Day on Sunday 15th June.

Summer Music headerThe week opens with the University Big Band under the baton of the ever-youthful Ian Swatman on the Deal Bandstand, in a charity performance in support of Porchlight, which this year celebrates its fortieth anniversary. The week then includes lunchtime concerts, a recital by University Music Scholars, the Dance Orchestra (recent winners of Keynestock 2014!), the Big Band Gala, a choral concert at St Peter’s Anglican Church, the Music Theatre Society, capped off with the Sunday concert in which the Chorus, Symphony Orchestra, Concert Band and Chamber Choir will come together in the Colyer-Fergusson Hall for a final farewell, followed by cream teas on the Registry lawn.

Music ranges from Big Band swing to scenes from Mozart opera, Glenn Miller, music for strings, and the medieval serenity of works Hildegard von Bingen, whilst  the final Sunday includes a choral medley from Mary Poppins and rousing works by Sullivan and Elgar.

There is a wonderful ethos throughout all the musical ensembles that take place within the University, a true celebration of the coming together of staff, students and members of the local community to take part in the vibrant musical life on the campus. Summer Music Week affords a small but tremendously energetic glimpse of some of the music-making that takes place throughout the whole year, and will be a fittingly festive finale to a memorable year.

The full line-up of events can be found online here, and brochures can be found in the Colyer-Fergusson Building and the Gulbenkian Theatre. Come and help us celebrate music at Kent!

Lost Consort makes its debut performance

The department’s newest (or oldest, depending on how you look at it) ensemble, the Lost Consort, made its debut yesterday in a lunchtime concert in the evocative Roman Undercroft of St Thomas’ Hospital, Canterbury.

Formed by Your Loyal Correspondent back in November in order to explore the music of Hildegard von Bingen, the group gave its first performance to a packed audience, with a programme including an evocative setting of the Kyrie and the luminous Columba Aspexit.

After the concert, the Choir moved out onto the high street in order to sing to one of the members of the audience who was unable to come into the Undercroft because of their wheelchair. Members of the public drew to a standstill to listen to a twelfth-century flashmob bringing medieval music to the ancient stones of the city.

Welcome to the newest, oldest, departmental ensemble; expect to hear more from the Lost Consort in the future.

This year’s love: new brochure now online

A dizzying profusion of events is unleashed over the coming months, as you can now see from our online events calendar.

CF_Cathedral_2014The 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.

bigband_ruby_dec2013Visitors 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…

Furley Page logo
Sponsors of the Lunchtime Concert series

The end is nearly in sight…

The University Chorus and Symphony Orchestra brought their term to a rousing conclusion on Saturday night in the Colyer-Fergusson hall.


But the music doesn’t end there; this Wednesday, there’s a seasonal ‘Watch This Space‘ on the foyer-stage, with festive contributions from the Chamber and Cecilian Choirs, the Lost Consort, Tutti Flutties, The Canterberries and the Dance Band starting at 1.10pm; then there’s live jazz from 2-3pm.

Then at 5.15pm, the University Big Band invites us to Swing-along-a-Santa, including communal carols with the Brass Ensemble. Sadly, all the tickets for the event have now gone – it promises to be a packed and festival finale to the term.