Words and music for Feasting and Celebration
Northleach Parish Church Saturday May 18th, Tetbury Parish Church, Saturday June 8th 2013.
There is no such thing as a celebration without an accompaniment of appropriate music; births, marriages and deaths all demand the enrichment of music and the addition of music to any gathering turns it into a party.
In our next programme, Cantores rejoice at the wedding of Orpheus and Eurydice with Monteverdi.
We party on at the carnival with Adriano Banchieri, take dinner with Samuel Pepys and Henry Purcell and dance the night away to pipe and tabor or sophisticated jazz rhythms.
By way of variety, we introduce two popular pieces by the young Latvian composer Eric Esenvalds; what one of our number has described as “Rutter for grownups”.
They are sung to the accompaniment of ocarinas and tuned wine glasses!
Here is the complete programme:
Henry VIII – Pastime with good company
Weelkes – Come, sirrah Jack ho!
Bennet – All creatures now are merry minded
Weelkes – Strike it up tabor
Tomkins – O yes, has any found a lad?
Morley – Sing we and chant it
Banchieri – Festino
Monteverdi – The Wedding of Orpheus and Euridice (Orfeo)
Purcell – If music be the food of love
Purcell – In these delightful pleasant Groves
Purcell – If love’s a sweet passion
Esenvalds – Stars
Esenvalds – The Long Road
Moeran – Good wine
Kern/Blackwell – Smoke gets in your eyes
CHORAL MAGIC FROM RHEINBERGER, KODÁLY, TAVENER & PÄRT
For our spring 2013 concerts, Cantores brought together four composers with very individual views of religion, and whose spiritual convictions permeate their music.
Both our performances of Mystical Masterpieces, in Cirencester’s Parish Church of St John the Baptist on February 22 and in Highnam’s magnificent Church of the Holy Innocents on March 2 were a great success, and enthusiastically applauded by satisfyingly well-peopled naves.
As Roger Jones put it in his review of this March 2 2013 Highnam concert in the Gloucester Echo:
Cantores deserve congratulations both for the originality of their programming and faultless technique.
As a special treat, you can hear here a recording of the Cirencester performance of the exquisite, ethereal Hymn to the Mother of God by Britain’s Sir John Tavener, one of Prince Charles’s favourite composers.
And click here for Roger Jones’s Gloucestershire Echo review in full.
The main work in our Spring 2013 concert programme was the Mass in E flat opus 109 by Joseph Rheinberger, first performed at the Court Church in Munich in 1879 under the direction of the composer, at that time the royal Kapellmeister. Continue reading Mystical Masterpieces – Spring 2013
For our winter concerts in 2012, Cantores presented major sacred choral works by Bach, Palestrina, Wesley, Mendelssohn and Eric Whitacre where the composer is responding to dramatic events from the Psalms and The Testaments.
The two concerts – at Malmesbury Abbey on Nov 24, and in our homebase Church of St John the Baptist in Cirencester on Dec 1 - drew gratifyingly substantial audiences, despite torrential rain and local flooding around the Malmesbury event.
As ever, we are grateful to our regular reviewer Donald Hollins for the following assessment of the Cirencester concert which we all, as the singers, hugely enjoyed. And for more information from our Musical Director John Holloway on the background to the choice of music, please scroll down to the bottom of this page.
THIS was an interesting programme – something in the nature of a musical sandwich, in fact.
The programme opened and closed with JS Bach. The opening words Komm, Jesu, komm from the choir echoed thrillingly round the church. The writer longs for Christ’s peace, the bitter way having become unbearable. Nevertheless, there is almost a fervent sense of joyfulness at times interspersed with long sustained phrases with the sopranos prominent. Continue reading Motet – Winter 2012
THE MUSIC OF THE EUROPEAN RENAISSANCE AND EARLY BAROQUE – “A MAGICAL EVENING”
Cantores at Northleach, June 16 2012
For our 2012 summer concerts, Cantores teamed up with the early music ensemble The Six to perform a rich medley of choral and instrumental music from the Renaissance and Early Baroque period, delivering in the words of our regular reviewer Donald Hollins “a Magical Evening.”
The two concerts, at Northleach Parish Church on Saturday June 16 and at St Mary the Virgin in Tetbury on June 30, saw our 26-strong choir (eight sopranos and six each of the other voices) performing at our very best – assured, with the exquisite harmonies of up to 12 parts of the period, and (mostly!) perfectly tuned.
Continue reading Sackbuts and Cornetts – June 2012
Cantores sing Cloths of Heaven, Cirencester March 10, 2012
ENGLAND’S 20th CENTURY MUSICAL RENAISSANCE
We spread our cloths under your feet – ‘but tread softly because you tread on our dreams…’
For our 2012 Spring concert season, Cantores were thrilled to perform some of the most inspiring works from England’s magnificent 20th century musical renaissance, what’s more doing so in the splendour of two of the country’s most beautiful Parish Churches – the Church of the Holy Innocents in Highnam, just outside Gloucester and St John the Baptist in Cirencester.
See the end of this post for a full programme. We’re most grateful to our stalwart reviewer Donald Hollins for one of the most heart-warming formal accolades Cantores has received in some time, reflecting our own huge enjoyment in performing this most challenging but also rewarding of concerts. Continue reading The Cloths of Heaven – March 2012
Cantores concluded our 20th anniversary year with one of the most inspiring and well-attended concerts we’ve ever performed, with six exquisite and beautiful new English songs by our Musical Director John Holloway, set to poems (click here for the texts) by the early 20th century poet John Drinkwater.
The songs were the highlight of a programme opening with Vaughan Williams’ famous ‘Serenade to Music’, and concluding with Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s exquisite 17th century popular-melody-based ‘Midnight Mass for Christmas Eve’.
As an additional a capella item, we also performed the beautiful Faire is the Heaven by William Harris.
We’re grateful to stalwart Cotswolds reviewer Donald Hollins for the following thoughts about the concert, after which please enjoy John’s own pre-concert musings on how he came to write these songs – and also the picture on the right of our Cantores-sponsored Christmas tree in the Parish Church, complete with celebratory balloons. Continue reading Celebration – new Cotswold songs by John Holloway, marking 20 years of Cantores
Cantores celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and (after a wonderful choir dinner at Cirencester’s Royal Agricultural College with several former members and musical directors past), we began our musical reminiscence on July 2 with a magnificent concert of songs both sacred and secular in Cirencester Parish Church.
The acoustics of the church, with its new flat floor and spectacularly restored Father Willis organ, spoke beautifully to the choir’s strengths, and it was perhaps one of the best performances we’ve given in our two decades since Cantores’ first 1991 concert in Tetbury.
There was contemporary humour and mystical contemplation, and a particularly vivacious (and in the event reassuringly coordinated) performance of Bob Chilcott’s ‘The Making of the Drum’, a work inspired by African sounds and rhythms and highlighting a number of percussion instruments from drum to sticks and sandblocks.
We performed largely the same programme to an enthusiastic audience on Friday July 22 at Holy Trinity Church in the beautiful Dorset coastal villag of West Lulworth, as highlight of their last Coast and Country Festival.
Our present musical director John Holloway summarised the thinking behind our 2011 summer’s programme: Continue reading Gems – Celebrating 20 Years of Cantores
Our performances of Handel’s Dixit Dominus at St Mary’s Parish Church in Tetbury on Saturday Feb 26 and on March 12 at Northleach’s Church of St Peter and St Paul were a triumph. We’re grateful to Donald Hollins for the following review of the Tetbury concert, and see towards the end of this post for the full programme notes.
TETBURY’S lovely and elegant church, with its ranks of box pews, provided a gracious setting for this talented choir’s concert.
It opened with Monteverdi’s Beatus Vir with its arresting and oft repeated chorus from the sopranos. A setting of Psalm 112 this motet has a haunting quality. Like all this composer’s work it is dramatic and imaginative in the way it employs voices and instruments with striking harmonies and is altogether a compelling work. The Fantasia in F minor for a Mechanical Organ was written by Mozart in his last year and that organ must have been primitive compared with the fine instrument at Tetbury on which John Wright gave an impressive performance. It was fascinating to listen to the complex fugue.
Continue reading Dixit Dominus
For our two end-of-year concerts in 2010, in Cheltentham’s All Saints Church on November 13 and in Cirencester’s magnificent Parish Church with its new organ on December 4, we chose three examples.
Since the dawn of the Christian era, composers have set the Ordinary of the Mass, those five sections of the liturgy which are unchanging at each celebration, with music of the very greatest inspiration. We have chosen three examples from different traditions, each designed for liturgical performance, but highly contrasted and reflecting the artistic preoccupations of their time and place.
Continue reading Missa
Cantores performed two concerts of delightful and varied English Pastoral music and words on Friday 2nd July 2010 at St Peter’s Church, Rendcomb College, following a well-received first outing of this fabulous music at St John the Baptist Burford on Saturday 19th June. As one concert-comer wrote afterwards:
“A superb concert. I loved the mixture of poems & music. I found the music a most interesting concoction with several most amusing themes. I enjoyed your wide selections of well expressed poems. I bet that there was a lot of hard work in putting the concert together, but also must have been great fun. The quality of the work is fantastic.”
Our conductor John Holloway writes:
Continue reading English Pastoral