The University’s Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies MEMS Festival takes place next month, a two-day event highlighting new research, round-table discussions, exhibitions, talks and performances celebrating developments in the field.
A special preview day on Thursday 16 June at Eastbridge Hospital, Illuminating the Past, will explore the making and meaning of Gothic colour, as part of which Minerva Voices will be singing in the ancient Pilgrim’s Hospital during a day of interactive workshops and talks.
Ahead of the day, Your Loyal Correspondent reflects on the idea of colour in music, and reflects on the immediacy of performing ancient music in historic spaces, where song meets stone, over on the event webpage here.
The Choir will sing music from the period, including a skirling Kyrie by Hildegard von Bingen. Find out more about the festival here.
Next week, Minerva Voices presents a summer evening performance set amidst the historic grounds of Canterbury’s eleventh-century castle, on Tuesday 24 May.
The castle is amongst Britain’s most ancient, begun around 1070 to replace a motte-and-bailey construction built as one of several fortifications protecting the Roman road from Dover to London. The keep and surrounding walls are all that remain, and the site surfaces like a blunt reminder of Canterbury’s military history.
As the sun sets, the ancient flint and sandstone walls of the surviving keep will ring to the upper-voice chamber choir’s colourful programme, which includes medieval plainsong, a contemporary Norwegian folksong, Veljo Tormis’ filigree Spring Sketches, Bob Chilcott’s scintillating Song of the Stars, and pieces by Mozart, Holst and Gounod. The concert will conclude with a dramatic Norwegian telling of the Song of Roland, for which the choir will be joined by percussionist Cory Adams.
Admission is free; the concert starts at 7.30pm, and is with the kind permission of Canterbury City Council. Please note that there is no seating at the site, so you might like to bring a blanket or folding-chair; the performance will last approximately fifty minutes. Join Minerva Voices as the sun sets over the historic site for a musical odyssey across the centuries.
The #EarBox series in which music speaks to visual art – and vice-versa – returns next week to Studio 3 Gallery on Weds 18 May with a short musical ‘happening,’ centred on Alvin Lucier’s otherworldly Unamuno, in which four semitones are articulated in a changing sequence; this focused pitch-collection, which is presented in twenty-four different patterns, creates an intense yet beautiful soundworld, which promises to be something remarkable, with singers spaced around the gallery’s sonorous acoustic
The short programme juxtaposes ancient and modern music, opening with twelfth-century plainsong and Cornysh’s meditation on love and fidelity, Ah Robin, and finishing with a dramatic re-telling of the Song of Roland, an epic poem written sometime between 1040 and 1115, based on the Battle of Roncevaux in 778, featuring Cory Adams on percussion. Staying with the Norwegian theme, Lillebjørn Nilsen’s haunting, lilting contemporary piece, Danse, ikke gråte nå (Dance, do not cry now), has echoes of old folk-song, with drone harmonies beneath a skirling melody.
The backdrop to the event will be a new exhibition of works by Philip Hughes devoted to the strange landscape of Dungeness, including paintings, prints and photographs, as well as a special garden installation made in collaboration with the ceramist, Psiche Hughes (more details here).
Admission to the event is free, and the performance will last twenty minutes. Join Minerva Voices to hear Lucier’s unique piece amidst the new exhibition in Studio 3 Gallery .
A bright and blustery day yesterday saw Minerva Voices, the University’s upper-voice chamber choir, pay a special visit to the Kimberley Residential Care Home in Herne Bay, in order to take music to the residents.
A care home for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia, the Kimberley Care Home was treated to a programme of choral music from the choir, and afterwards there was tea and biscuits – and cake! The event formed one of the many recreational activities the centre provides for its residents, and was thoroughly enjoyed by both the listeners and the choir alike.
Thanks to Sarah and the team at the home for their hospitality; it was a pleasure to come and sing!
Children and adults alike were treated to a lunchtime concert of magical musical mayhem this afternoon, as the Music department joined in the ‘Wonderful Week of Words’ celebration of literature with the University Hogwarts Society.
The University Concert Band, Minerva Voices, Flute Choir and third-year flautist Anne Engels came together to the delight of an audience comprised of visiting school-children, here for the literary festival, staff, students and visitors to music including a medley of music from Harry Potter, Double Trouble, and selections from the Goblet of Fire.
Terrific fun, thanks to everyone involved; wingardium leviosa!
Vivaldi’s enduringly popular Gloria forms the centrepiece of the annual Crypt Concert at Canterbury Cathedral next week, in a performance for upper-voices by Minerva Voices.
Fresh from its concert at Studio 3 Gallery last week, the University’s auditioned upper-voices chamber choir will bring the Crypt to shimmering life on Friday 26 February with Vivaldi’s masterpiece, in a programme that also explores repertoire from the medieval to the present day. The first half of the concert will include works by Hildegard von Bingen, Mozart and Brahms, as well as Veljo Tormis’ filigree Spring Sketches and Bob Chilcott’s radiantly colourful Song of the Stars. It’s a terrific opportunity to hear Vivaldi’s radiant, celebratory Gloria in an upper-voices edition which may well have been familiar to audiences during Vivaldi’s lifetime, written as it was for the young voices of the Ospedale della Pietà in Venice.
The Cathedral Crypt is a wonderfully evocative venue in which to perform, and the Choir is eagerly anticipating the opportunity to fill the sonorous space with such a richly-hued programme; join us on a voyage charting choral music across the centuries and Vivaldi’s crowning glory, in the magical surroundings of the Cathedral Crypt next Friday at 7.30pm. More details online here.
Congratulations to Minerva Voices on the choir’s performance this lunchtime in Studio 3 Gallery.
An appreciative audience (which continued to grow after the concert had started!) was treated to some well-crafted, nuanced performing and some genuinely spine-tingling moments.
Pictured here, in both rehearsal and performance, are the choir with assistant conductor, Joe Prescott, working amidst the gallery’s latest exhibition, After the Break.
If you missed them, then the choir will be back in action in two weeks time, on Friday 26 February, when it gives its annual performance in Canterbury Cathedral Crypt in a programme which includes Vivaldi’s bright and shining Gloria.
A brace of lunchtime concerts to enliven your working day next week; on Wednesday (10th Feb), the award-winning quintet, Total Brass, comes to Colyer-Fergusson Hall at 1.10pm; and then on Friday (12th Feb), Minerva Voices – the new upper-voices chamber choir – explores the dialogue between choral music and art in the new exhibition at Studio 3 Gallery over in the Jarman building as the #EarBox series returns.