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.
You know that something rather special is going on when you find yourself having to put out additional seating before a concert to cope with the level of audience which is turning up. Such was the situation yesterday at just before five o’clock, when the storage cupboard was being pillaged for further seating, to accommodate the surprisingly large (yet very welcome!) turn-out for Scenes from Mozart, featuring some of the University Music Scholars accompanied by your loyal correspondent.
An enthusiastic crowd was treated to a selection of moments from three of Mozart’s operas – Clemenza di Tito, Cosi fan tutte and The Marriage of Figaro. With no expense spared on lavish production values, the minimalist approach to staging involved replacing a bed and a chaise-longue with chairs, a cupboard door become – wait for it – a lady’s fan, and Cherubino’s dramatic jumping out of the window involved…well, let’s just say you had to be there…
Ranging from the intimacy of Deh vieni through the high emotions of Dove sono to the feverish drama of Come out, Susana, the programme took in a snapshot of operatic gems, and demonstrated not only Mozart’s wonderful facility for writing the state of the characters and the tone of the moment into the fabric of the music, but the versatility of the singers too.
Well done to everyone that took part. Day Three of Summer Music Week continues today with a Lunchtime Recital from some of the University Music Scholars in the concert-hall at 1.10pm.
Several of the University’s singing Music Scholars had the opportunity to learn from one of the country’s leading singers last week, in a masterclass with Dame Anne Evans.
Dame Anne put several singers through their paces, in arias by Mozart and Handel and a piece by Cole Porter, sharing tricks of the trade in front of the audience in the Colyer-Fergusson Hall; as she said, later that evening when appearing In Conversation, ”If you can sing Mozart, you can sing anything.”
Later on, she talked about her career on the national and international stage, looking in particular at her performances at Bayreuth under the baton of Daniel Barenboim, taking the audience from her first professional engagements through the various stages of her career, accompanied by some extremely rare recordings and footage of her in the role of Brunnhilde in scenes from Götterdämmerung.
When asked what her secret was to preparing herself before performances of the epic Wagnerian role, she answered candidly: ”A large bowl of pasta two hours before the performance, and bananas in the interval.” Asked about advice for young singers starting out: ”Start with Mozart,” and ”In auditions, always sing pieces that you are really comfortable with.”
Performers, in order: Kathryn Cox, Philippa Hardimann, Olivia Potter, Vicky Newell, Paris Noble, Marina Ivanova and Steph Richardson, accompanied by Deputy Director of Music, Dan Harding:
Next week sees the opening concert in this term’s Lunchtime Concert series, a celebration of the music of Mozart with the Camerata, the Sirocco Ensemble, and pianists Sharon Yam and Susan Li.
The Sirocco Ensemble has been busy rehearsing Mozart’s Serenade no.12 in C minor, while the Camerata is preparing the ‘Andantino’ from the Concerto for Flute and Harp. Last night, the two soloists, Music Scholars Emma Murton and Kathryn Redgers, were warming up in the Hall beforehand…
Also in the concert is a work for piano duet, the Adagio and Allegro in F minor, which will be played by Sharon and Susan, who also played a Mozart duet in the Scholars concert last term. This time, however, they’ll be playing on the Steinway…!
The concert starts at 1.10pm, and admission is free; come along and enjoy a feast of Mozart’s music; details online here.
Next week, Weds 7 November, sees the first lunchtime concert given by some of this year’s Music Scholars, accompanied by Yours Truly as we try out the new concert-hall.
From Mozart to Sonny Rollins, several of the Scholars will be giving an informal lunchtime concert in the brand-new Colyer-Fergusson hall, in a programme that includes Mozart’s sublime aria, ‘L’amerò sarò costante’ from Il Re Pastore, Monti’s string-showpiece, Czardas, music for piano duet (also by Mozart) and for solo marimba, ‘Think of Me’ from Phantom of the Opera, and two tunes, Tenor Madness and Doxy by Sonny Rollins from a jazz trio.
Admission is free, and the concert lasts from 1.10-1.50pm; more details online here or on the event’s Facebook page here.
Come along to hear the new hall in action, and to hear some of the stars of the University music scene.
And to whet your appetites, here’s the aria by Mozart sung with delicate grace by Kathleen Battle.
With less than thirty-six hours to go before the Chorus and Orchestra storm the Cathedral (musically, that is) for the annual Colyer-Fergusson Concert, all systems are powering ahead.
Final rehearsals this week, including tonight, before rehearsing in situ tomorrow, when the Chorus are reminded of the literal heights to which they can ascend on the tiered choral seating, and the Orchestra remember just how close they will be sitting to the audience. With a battery of percussion required for the Stravinsky ‘Firebird Suite,’ there’ll be an even bigger orchestra than usual.
Combined with the mighty Meistersingers Overture by Wagner and Mozart’s sublime Requiem, it promises to be a titanic occasion: see you there!
Because it does. Doesn't it ? Blogging about extra-curricular musical life at the University of Kent.