FREE PUBLICITY! If you are involved in music-making, we are privileged to offer a free publicity service to our local community with concert previews and reviews with weekly columns in printed publications such as the Essex County Standard and Colchester Daily Gazette and a monthly page in Essex Life. We also offer regularly contributions to websites such as Colchester 101.
If you have a concert of classical music you would like previewed, contact Liz Leatherdale on 0800 999 6994.
Final draft of Classical Music Column for Essex County Standard and Colchester Daily Gazette, 26 May, 2017
Gut Feeling made its debut pub gig in Kirby-le-Soken’s Red Lion earlier this month with a concert of string quartet music that informally started the fourth Frinton Festival. This evening the first of the five Festival concerts takes place with free pre-concert wine tasting and free tickets for those fortunate enough to be aged 8 – 25 years. The Barbican Piano Trio, the resident artists, will be joined by viola player Adam Newman to perform piano quartets by Dvorak, Mozart and contemporary composers. This concert is on Friday 26 May at 7.30pm in St Mary’s Parish Church, Frinton.
Tomorrow evening the charming church of All Saints in Great Holland is the setting for string quintets by Mozart, Joseph Phibbs and Dvorak. On Sunday the Festival’s Choral Evensong service takes place at 6.30pm in St Mary’s Church, Frinton with the Festival Choir performing music by Mozart, Stanford and John Rutter.
The String Quartet Gut Feeling will be strumming its strings in a wide selection of music from Purcell and Tchaikovsky to Amy Winehouse at the closing concert on Bank Holiday Monday at 6.45pm in Frinton’s Tennis Club, Holland Road. To find out more about the other concerts in the Festival and ticket availability visit www.frintonfestival.com
Now in its 30th year, the Suffolk Villages Festival offers the chance to hear Early Music in rural East Anglia. On Bank Holiday Monday there is chance to hear three of J S Bach’s mature sacred choral masterpieces including the Easter Oratorio. As always, Peter Holman, will be directing soloists, Psalmody and the Essex Baroque Orchestra from the harpsichord. This concert takes place in St Mary’s Church, Hadleigh at 6pm with tickets from £14. For further information on this concert and to find out about future events including Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 telephone 01206 366603 or visit www.suffolkvillagesfestival.com.
Back to this weekend – at the Old House Barn in Great Horkesley, the Pimlott Foundation will be hosting a concert of Russian music with works by Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky and also Elena Firsova and her husband, Dimitri Smirnov. Daniela Bechly will be joined by fellow soprano Maacha Deubner and accompanied by Alissa Firsova to perform Elena and Dimitri’s song-cycles. Some of you may recall composer, pianist and conductor Alissa Firsova performing at the opening concert of the Roman River Festival in September 2015 or have her debut CD Russian Emigres. This concert is tomorrow at 5pm and tickets are £11 with free refreshments. For further information (01206 271291) or visit www.pimlottfoundation.org
Final draft of Classical Music Column for Essex County Standard and Colchester Daily Gazette, 19 May, 2017
Tomorrow evening there is a chance to enjoy some charming British music performed by members of the Colchester Symphony Orchestra under the strong and stable leadership of its conductor, Chris Phelps.
Gerald Finzi’s music is characteristically British and one of his best known and most widely performed instrumental works is his Clarinet Concerto with string accompaniment. Andrew Cory will be the soloist in this work which offers beautiful melodies and rapid virtuosic phrases with much imaginative string accompaniment. Andrew has been an integral and much-respected member of the woodwind section of the Colchester Symphony Orchestra for over 20 years.
The music of Elgar and Holst is also featured in tomorrow’s concert. Elgar’s Serenade remains among the most frequently performed string works with its most lovely lyrical Larghetto second movement. While The Planets is Holst’s most popular piece, tomorrow there is a chance to hear his St Paul’s Suite, written for the St Paul’s Girls School in London, where he was Director of Music. You can hear all this glorious British music tomorrow evening at 7.30pm in St Botolph’s Church, Colchester. Tickets are £14 on the door.
Philippa Barton is the leader of the Colchester Symphony Orchestra and also of the Essex Symphony Orchestra. On July 1, she will be the soloist in Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto accompanied by the ESO in Christ Church, Chelmsford (Further information 01245 601418). This violin concerto also forms part of the Ipswich Symphony Orchestra’s concert on June 24 with soloist Savitri Grier. More on this concert soon or telephone (01473 256461) www.ipswichsymphonyorchestra.org
Tonight at 7pm there is a Musical Soiree with Peter and Judith Clayton offering music from Classical to Modern on a variety of instruments. Friday 19th May in St Mary’s Church, Church Road, Little Bentley. Tickets: £10 on the door
In contrast, tomorrow evening there is an opportunity to hear music by Handel, Scott Joplin and Karl Jenkins performed by the Trianon Music Group singers and strings. This takes place at 7.30pm in Felixstowe at the Trinity Methodist Church, Hamilton Road. Tickets are £8 on the door in aid of the Save the Children Fund.
Next week I will feature music at the Frinton Festival and also Bach at the Suffolk Village Festival.
Final draft of Classical Music Column for Essex County Standard and Colchester Daily Gazette, 12 May, 2017
Chamber music is a form of classical music composed for a small group of instruments with one musician per part having a musical discussion. Traditionally written for a group that could fit into a palace chamber or a large room. This month there is a cornucopia of chamber concerts with performances including two of Schubert’s most popular chamber works “The Trout” and “Death and the Maiden”.
First up, this Sunday (May 14), “The Trout” will be performed by Kenneth Sillito (violin), Wendy Poulston (viola), Harriet Bennett (cello), Philip Simms (double bass) and Jonathan Rutherford (piano). This Piano Quintet in A got its name because the fourth movement is a set of variations on Schubert’s song called, funnily enough, The Trout. This concert takes place on Sunday 14 May at 3pm in St Andrew’s Church, Felixstowe. Tickets £12 from Stillwater Books & Music (01394 670633).
Schubert’s String Quartet No.14 in D minor, known as “Death and the Maiden” taking its name from his song of the same title which is about a terror-stricken maiden begging Death to pass her by. This work can be heard as part of the concert by the Albion String Quartet in All Saints’ Church, the oldest building in Wrabness, dating from 1100, on Sunday, 28 May at 4pm . Tickets from £12 (01255 886163 or 01255 880791).
Back to this Sunday when the chamber trio, the Kingfisher Ensemble (led by Beth Spendlove), presents Schubert’s Trio in B flat, Op 99 along with music by Bridge and Elgar. This is at Lion Walk United Reformed Church, Colchester at 2.45pm. Tickets: £12 on the door.
If chamber music doesn’t whet your musical appetite the Camerata Singers will be performing a wide variety of songs from sacred to spirituals and madrigals. The Chelmsford-based singers were founded in 1969 by colleagues at the Marconi Research Group in Great Baddow. This concert takes place on Saturday 13 May 7.30pm in St Mary the Virgin Church, Kelvedon. Free entry with a retiring collection.
Next week I will give more details of the English music being performed at the Colchester Symphony Orchestra’s concert on Saturday 20 May with the highlight being Finzi’s Clarinet Concerto performed by Andrew Cory. Tickets are £14 and can be purchased at the door or call 01206 271128
If you have a concert of classical music you would like previewed, contact Liz Leatherdale on 0800 999 6994. You can also read more about concerts and CDs at www.colchesterclassics.co.uk
Final draft of Classical Music Column for Essex County Standard and Colchester Daily Gazette, 5 May, 2017
It is not every day that a choral society celebrates an important anniversary with its founder still actively involved in the music-making. Tomorrow evening the Lexden Choral Society will be doing just that at its 25th Anniversary concert with many much-loved choral works and a few new ones too.
Lexden Choral Society was formed by Sarah Blake in 1992 from a few members of the Lexden Church Choir, augmented by a number of friends. Sarah is still actively involved and tomorrow evening John Chillingworth will conduct the choir accompanied by the Kingfisher Sinfonietta in a programme of music by Verdi, Jenkins, Handel, Tavener, Fauré, Borodin and Rutter. Tickets: £13 (01206 766906) Saturday May 6, 7.30pm in St Botolph’s Church, Colchester.
At the same venue on Sunday at 3pm Samantha Christopher (clarinet) will be accompanied by pianist Ian Ray and on Saturday 20 May the Colchester Symphony Orchestra returns with a concert including Finzi’s Clarinet Concerto with soloist Andrew Cory. Further information next week.
Back to this weekend and this Sunday there is an opportunity to hear Puccini’s one-act comic opera, Gianni Schicchi. As you may know, this opera includes one of Puccini’s best known and most popular aria, O mio Babbino Caro. This beautiful aria is often sung as a stand-alone piece and used commercially, such as in the opening to the film A Room With a View. Sunday’s production, sung in Italian with English surtitles, was first staged at the 2016 Summer Opera Course in Scheggino in Umbria just before the series of earthquakes in the area. Tickets are £8 in aid of the Italian Red Cross Earthquakes Appeal. Sunday 7 May at 5pm in Chelmsford Cathedral
If you are near Chelmsford Cathedral on 20 May, there is a performance of Handel’s most popular oratorio, Messiah, with James Davy, the Cathedral’s Organist and Master of the Choristers, conducting the Choirs of Chelmsford Cathedral, Canzona and soloists including Colin Baldy. Tickets from £10 (0333 666 3366)
The fourth annual Frinton Festival presents music performed in and around this charming small seaside town. Alongside the five festival concerts (26 – 29 May, 2017) there are special free events such as the string quartet, Gut Reaction playing at the Red Lion pub in Kirby-le-Soken on Sunday 7 May at 8pm.
If you have a concert of classical music you would like previewed, contact Liz Leatherdale on 0800 999 6994. You can also read more about concerts and CDs at www.colchesterclassics.co.uk
Final draft of Classical Music Column for Essex County Standard and Colchester Daily Gazette, 28 April, 2017
Tomorrow evening the Lexden Festival presents Live Looped Medieval and Renaissance with Lizzie Gutteridge’s Consort of 1. ‘Looping through Time’ introduces instruments from the 12th – 17th centuries including fiddles, bagpipes, recorders and percussion and, with the help of 21st century technology, peels back the layers of ancient music, providing a new listening experience. Lizzie is a member of Blondel, who performed at the festival in 2015, and has performed at The Globe, at Hampton Court and the Tower of London.
The following Saturday, May 6, pianist and composer Matyas Bacso presents ‘Hungarian Rhapsody’ including Gershwin’s popular Rhapsody in Blue plus music by Scott Joplin and Debussy along with some Hungarian Rhapsodies. Matyas was recently heard performing in Tubular Bells Live! at the Mercury Theatre. Both concerts take place at 7.30pm in St Leonard’s Church, Lexden Road, Colchester with tickets £10 each.
This weekend offers two Guitar Workshops and concerts both taking place at the Headgate Theatre, Colchester. On Sunday the English Guitar Quartet concert takes place at 5pm while on Bank Holiday Monday also at 5pm there is a concert by London’s Trinity College principal Guitar Tutor, Graham Anthony Devine. Tickets for the concerts are £12 each. Further details on the workshops please ring (01206) 366000.
The chamber choir the Kelvedon Singers conducted by Chris Phelps performs Durufle’s heavenly Requiem contrasting with Haydn’s dramatic Nelson Mass. This concert is dedicated to the memory of two former choristers, John Graves and Henry Maitland. St Andrew’s Church in Earls Colne at 6.30pm. Tickets: £12 on the door or £10 (including wine) in advance (01376 561719).
Over in Felixstowe there is an opportunity to Come and Sing Brahms’ German Requiem (sung in English) with soloists Sarah Gallop and Patrick McCarthy. This takes place at 3pm in St Andrew’s Church, Felixstowe – England’s first reinforced concrete church! Singers register on (01394) 670633 with tickets £12.
If you have a concert of classical music you would like previewed, contact Liz Leatherdale on 0800 999 6994. You can also read more about concerts and CDs at www.colchesterclassics.co.uk
Final draft of Classical Music Column for Essex County Standard and Colchester Daily Gazette, 21 April, 2017
In 1415, St George’s Day was declared a national feast day so it is rather lovely to see that in our region we are celebrating the Patron Saint of England with music.
On St George’s Day the early music group the Cavendish Consort perform English baroque music including Fairest Isle from Purcell’s King Arthur and cantatas by Handel’s contemporary, Pepusch. Gill Wilson is the soprano with the Consort and is often mentioned here as she is a very popular soloist with many choral societies. This concert takes place at 3pm in St Mary’s Church, Wivenhoe on Sunday. Admission is £6 on the door.
In keeping with the spirit of St George, also on Sunday there will be a Last Night of the Proms style finale with Rule Britannia, Land of Hope and Glory and There’ll Always Be an England at a concert with guest soprano Marilyn Hill Smith, a regular performer on BBC Radio 2’s Friday Night is Music Night, accompanied by the British Light Music Orchestra conducted by Ian McMillan. This takes place on Sunday at 4.30pm in St Peter’s Church in Sudbury. Tickets: £15 from Sudbury Library Tourist Information Centre (01787 881320)
Tomorrow afternoon the Essex Concert Band presents ‘Windows of the World’ taking the listener around the world musically starting with the patriotic Battle of Britain March, Vaughan Williams’ Sea Songs and The Pirates of Penzance. St. Mary’s Parish Church, Old Road, Frinton at 3pm. Tickets: £10 (01255 679164). The band will also be performing at St Luke’s Church in Tiptree on 6 May at 7.3opm.
Last year the indefatigable duo of Tasmin Little and Piers Lane opened the Roman River Festival with a recital at the Mercury Theatre. On Tuesday 25 April at 7.30pm they will be returning to The Apex in Bury St Edmunds for a recital of Brahms’ Violin Sonatas. Tickets: £16 (01284 758000)
Next week the Pimlott Foundation Family Choir is offering free evening workshops on both Tuesday and Thursday from 6.30 to 8.30pm at Old House, Old House Road, Great Horkesley CO64EQ. Further information (07814 506988).
Next weekend I will include details of the opening concert of the Lexden Arts Festival, with Lizzie Gutteridge ‘Looping through time’ and the closing concert entitled ‘Hungarian Rhapsody’ from popular pianist Matyas Bacso.
Final draft of Classical Music Column for Essex County Standard and Colchester Daily Gazette, 14 April, 2017
Clacton Choral Society, Stephen Smith (organ), Francesca Dulieu (flute) and Gilli Dulieu (conductor).
Saturday 8 April, 2017 in St James’ Church, Tower Road, Clacton
Clacton Choral Society conducted by Gilli Dulieu presented its Easter concert with music from J S Bach, Malcolm Williamson and Alan Bullard to a large and attentive audience on Saturday evening.
Extracts from J S Bach’s St John Passion were sung in English with soloists Daniel Joy, Peter Grevatt and Heather Attwell-Davis plus occasional beautiful accompaniment from flautist Francesca, daughter of the conductor. Throughout this wonderful work the choir were very attentive and responsive to Gilli’s sensitive direction especially during the bass Aria “My Lord and Saviour let me ask Thee” with chorale accompaniment from the choir.
The second half of the concert began with The Procession of Palms, a work by Malcolm Williamson, a former Master of the Queen’s Music. To be honest I wasn’t sure what to expect from this composer as he wrote in a bewildering array of styles but I was pleasantly surprised by the melodious choral writing, coupled with imaginative and contrasting organ accompaniment expertly executed by Stephen Smith. The choir skilfully portrayed the meaning of the work from the start of the procession through to the final Hosanna and the work’s sudden ending.
This successful Easter-themed concert ended with Alan Bullard’s Wondrous Cross, which is interspersed with hymns for choir and audience, such as There is a Green Hill far away. The choir and three soloists sympathetically responded to the text based on the Seven Last Words attributed to Jesus on the Cross with empathy and pleasing phrasing. The work and concert ended with the choir and audience singing the hymn When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.
The large choir of some 60 members were visually and musically focused on Gilli’s direction and clearly enjoyed the music, maybe more so in the second half than the first.
In complete contrast with Saturday’s music, the choirs start rehearsing later this month for the concert versions of Gilbert & Sullivan’s Trial by Jury on 1 July 2017 also in St James’ Church.
If you have a concert of classical music you would like previewed, or reviewed, contact Liz Leatherdale on 0800 999 6994. You can also read more about concerts and CDs at www.colchesterclassics.co.uk
Liz Leatherdale, Colchester Classics
Final draft of Classical Music Column for Essex County Standard and Colchester Daily Gazette, 7 April ,2017.
Alan Bullard, the established British composer based in Colchester, recently told me that he originally wrote his Easter work, Wondrous Cross for the choir of Lion Walk Church in Colchester. This month Clacton Choral Society conducted by Gilli Dulieu will perform this piece described as a meditation based on the traditional ‘Seven Last Words’ of Jesus Christ. The music presents itself in a similar way to John Stainer’s popular The Crucifixion, with congregational hymns interspersed between the solo and choral numbers, culminating in ‘When I survey the Wondrous Cross’.
Clacton Choral Society will also perform extracts in English from J S Bach’s St John Passion. Bach’s oratorio is often sung in English in the UK and an Essex-based CD recording label has just released a new recording of this wonderful work performed by the Crouch End Festival Chorus. Colchester Classics is delighted to offer the audience at Clacton Choral Society recordings of both this new CD and also Alan’s Wondrous Cross. This concert takes place on Saturday 8 April in St James Church, Tower Road, Clacton-on-sea at 7.30pm. Tickets: £8 including programme on the door (01255 221511)
Last month Colin Baldy was one of the soloists in Colchester Choral Society’s performance of Bach’s St John Passion sung in German. This month he will be conducting a performance of this work with the Choir of St Mary’s Church, Maldon. The choir will perform this work in German but with five of the chorales (hymns) sung in English by both the choir and listeners. St Mary’s Church, Church Street, Maldon. Friday, 14 April at 7.30pm. Free entry with retiring collection
On 8 April Ipswich Bach Choir, with a team of excellent soloists including Colchester-based Gill Wilson, present a rare opportunity to hear Handel’s superb oratorio Samson. The most famous number is the soprano aria Let the Bright Seraphim (to be sung by Gill Wilson) but conductor Patrick McCarthy assures me that the rest of the work is packed with equally fine choruses and arias. The performance is at 7pm at St John the Baptist Church, Felixstowe. Tickets: £12 (01394 271538).
Final draft of Classical Music Column for Essex County Standard and Colchester Daily Gazette, 31 March,2017.
John Rutter’s Magnificat is a seven-movement choral work based on the Latin text and interspersed with “Of a Rose, a Lovely Rose”. This popular work with elements of Latin American rhythms will be performed along with Faure’s divine Requiem by the Stour Choral Society accompanied by pianist Stephen Smith under Duncan Archard. April 1, 7.30pm in the attractive setting of East Bergholt Church CO7 6TA. Ticket: £10 (01255 886260).
This year the Chelmsford Singers celebrates their 90th season with concerts in Tiptree, Chelmsford Cathedral and at the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium. The first concert is an evening of beautiful unaccompanied British music including Vaughan Williams’ Five English Folk Songs and Holst’s Six Choral Folksongs. It takes place on Saturday 1 April at 7.30pm in Tiptree’s 19th century St Luke’s Church. Tickets: £10 visit www.chelmsfordsingers.co.uk or telephone 01245 352133.
Over in Maldon its Choral Society will be performing Dvorak’s Stabat Mater, which was written as a reaction to the composer’s daughter’s death. The choir will be accompanied by organist Ben Comeau and conducted by Dr Gillian Ward Russell. Tickets: £12 in advance (01621 856503. Saturday, April 1, 7.30pm at All Saints Church, Maldon
The same day in Dovercourt at the Central Church, Harwich & Dovercourt Choral Society will be performing another fine choral work by Dvorak – his Mass in D, performed with organ as he originally intended. Choral favourites complete the programme. The concert is at 7pm, further details from 01255 504174.
Colin Nicholson will be conducting the St Botolph’s Music Society in A Mozart Concert including Piano Concerto No.14, with soloist Philip Smith, and Mass in C, K220. Tickets: £12 (01206 823662). St Botolph’s Church, Colches
On to Sunday afternoon when the Kingfisher Ensemble return to Lion Walk United Reformed Church in Colchester for a recital of music by Grieg, Beethoven and Saint-Saens. The concert begins at 2.45pm and tickets are £12 on the door.
Last but not least tomorrow Neil D’arcy Jones announces tour dates and venues for his first-ever vocal recital including Rossini’s Largo al factotum and Vaughan Williams’ The Vagabond. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Final draft of Classical Music Column for Essex County Standard and Colchester Daily Gazette, 24 March,2017
The next few weekends are jam-packed with choral concerts such as Tiptree Choral Society singing Mendelssohn’s Elijah in English– a work for large-scale chorus, soloists including numbers for an octet and women’s trio. The work depicts events in the life of the Biblical prophet Elijah and was composed in the spirit of Mendelssohn’s baroque predecessors Bach and Handel, composers he so admired. Saturday 25 March at St Luke’s Church, Church Road, Tiptree. Tickets: £10 on the door. Sudbury Choral Society will also be performing Elijah on April 9 in St Peter’s Church, Sudbury.
Back to tomorrow evening when the Halstead & District Choral Society conducted by Philip Prior presents its Spring concert including Vivaldi’s Gloria with its distinctive rhythms and joyful choral writing, especially for the altos in ‘Domine Fili unigenite’. This concert takes place in St Peter ad Vincula, Coggeshall at 7.30pm. Tickets: £10 on the door (01787 478459). Philip is Director of Music at the same church and organises popular organ recitals with a big screen showing the player’s hands and feet in action. The next concert is on Saturday 8 April when Robert Poyser, Director of Music at Beverley Minster, performs music by Reubke, John Ireland and Lefebure-Wely. Tickets: £7.50 (07811 469105).
All Saints’ Church is the oldest building in Wrabness, dating from 1100, and this Sunday afternoon at 4pm it will be the charming setting for a concert of music by Schumann, Thomas Ades and Beethoven performed by the Castalian String Quartet. Tickets £12 (01255 886163)
On Sunday at 6pm the young clarinettist William Knight will be the soloist in Weber’s Second Clarinet Concerto accompanied by the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra. This concert starts with the popular overture to Rossini’s opera The Barber of Seville. St Peter’s Church, Market Hill, Sudbury. Tickets: £12 on the door.
Final draft of Classical Music Column for Essex County Standard and Colchester Daily Gazette, 17 March,2017
Next weekend conductor Chris Phelps will be wielding his baton at the Colchester Symphony Orchestra in Mozart’s Symphony No.39, Beethoven’s ‘ Pastoral’ Symphony No.6 and Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto with Ipswich born John Jermy. This concert takes place on Saturday 25 March at 7.30pm in St Botolph’s Church, Colchester. Tickets: £14 (01206 271128).
Jermy is a regular concerto soloist with local orchestras and returns to Colchester with the Seckford Brass Ensemble on 1 August performing with Ian Ray at the Moot Hall organ as part of the Town Hall Lunchtime Summer concert series.
Chris will also be conducting the Hadleigh Choral Society accompanied by the Colchester Symphony in Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis on April 1 in St Mary’s Church, Hadleigh, and the Kelvedon Singers on April 30 at St Andrew’s Church, Earls Colne, in a concert celebrating the lives of two of its choristers, John Graves and Henry Maitland.
Sunday 19 March sees a further concert with music from both the Elizabethan era and French music for the The Sun King. This concert is at 5pm in the recently refurbished Barn at Old House, Great Horkesley CO6 4EQ. Tickets are £11 including refreshments (01206 271291).
At 4pm on Sunday Kammer Philharmonie Europa will be performing at St Mary’s Church in East Bergholt as part of the Stour Valley Arts Music concert series. For ticket availability and more information please telephone 01206 298426.
Last but by no means least, world-famous harpsichordist Trevor Pinnock makes a welcome return to the Suffolk Village Festival as part of his 70th birthday celebrations. He is joined by his long-term recital partner Jonathan Manson in a programme that brings together some of the greatest Baroque music for viola da gamba and harpsichord. This concert is 6pm in St Peter’s Church, Sudbury. Tickets from £12 (01206 366603).
Final draft of Classical Music Column for Essex County Standard and Colchester Daily Gazette, 10 March,2017
Music-making in March has most certainly sprung into action. Here are just a few of the concerts this month.
J S Bach’s St John Passion tells the Biblical story of Jesus’ Ccrucifixion and was first performed on Good Friday in 1724. Rather than expecting the congregation, or, audience to sit back and take in the music, Bach included a number of hymn-like chorales so all could participate in the worship.
If you like your Bach oratorio sung in its original language, this month Colin Baldy will be the bass soloist with the Colchester Choral Society in the St John Passion sung in German accompanied by the John Jenkins Consort with Peter Holman (continuo) conducted by Ian Ray. Saturday 18 March 2017 in St Botolph’s Church, Colchester (www.colchesterchoralsociety.co.uk)
Next month Colin Baldy will be conducting St Mary’s Church Choir in a performance of the same work in German but this time with five chorales sung in English by the choir with the congregation invited to sing too. This takes place on Good Friday, 14 April at 7.30pm with free entry at St Mary’s Church, Church Street, Maldon CM9 5 JG
More details of another live performance of St John’s Passion and also a long-awaited new recording of this wonderful Bach oratorio sung in English coming soon!
Sunday 19 March offers several musical treats including the Colchester Chamber Choir at St Peter ad Vincula Church, Coggeshall with a programme of 16th and 17th century choral masterpieces including Palestrina and Monteverdi, interwoven with modern jazz improvisations from the internationally-acclaimed jazz guitarist Chris Allard. Tickets: £16, under 30s £10 and the concert starts at 7pm www.colchesterchamberchoir.org.
Earlier that same day, Anglia Singers under Chris Green will be performing Handel’s much-loved oratorio, Messiah at Our Lady Queen of Peach Church, Braintree at 4pm. Tickets: £8 (01245 350988)
Final draft of Classical Music Column for Essex County Standard and Colchester Daily Gazette, 3 March,2017
Last weekend the Colchester Bach Choir presented An Evening of Mozart in St Botolph’s Church in aid of the Colchester Mayor’s Charities, raising £1,000. Later this month the Mayor, Julie Young, will be hosting a St Patrick’s Day concert. The Children of Lir, an Irish fairytale Cantata by world renowned Irish film composer Patrick Cassidy, will be performed by The Blessington Millennium choir from County Wicklow accompanied by Charles Pearson on the Moot Hall organ on 17 March at 7.30pm in the Colchester Town Hall. Tickets are £10.00 (01206 282206).
By the way, Patrick Cassidy has composed some beautiful music including the enchanting Vide Cor Meum (See my Heart) first heard during the outdoor opera scene in the film Hannibal.
One of the excellent soloists at An Evening of Mozart was the soprano Gill Wilson. Gill can also be heard next Wednesday at 1pm at her recital accompanied by pianist Ian Ray in Lion walk United Reformed Church, Colchester. The following weekend Gill and also Roderic Knott will be the soloists with Witham Choral and the Colchester Philharmonic in the Last Night of the Proms concert full of favourites such as the Henry Wood Sea Songs Fantasia, opera choruses, Land of Hope and Glory and much more. This concert is on Saturday 11 March at 7.30 pm in the Witham Town Hall. Tickets £12 (0345 017 8717)
Back to this weekend, and as mentioned last Friday, the Essex Symphony Orchestra will be performing music by Schumann and Tchaikovsky tomorrow evening at 7.30pm in Christ Church, London Road, Chelmsford. Tickets: £15 (01245 601418)
The Ipswich Symphony Orchestra continues to show its versatility with its annual Family Concert called ‘Classical Creatures’ with music describing Bumble Bees, Whales and Dinosaurs. Sunday 5th March at 2.30p.m. at Ipswich Corn Exchange. Tickets: £7 – £10 from www.ipswichcornexchange.com
Final draft of Classical Music Column for Essex County Standard and Colchester Daily Gazette, 24 February 2017
Next month the Essex Symphony Orchestra under Tom Hammond presents a concert including one of my favourite French horn works, Schumann’s virtuosic Concerto for Four Horns, his Konzertstück. This wonderful work is rarely heard live because it’s so hard to find four players who will take on its extreme challenges. But the work isn’t just musical fireworks for the four horns as there is much charming music to enjoy in equal measure. Schumann is framed in the concert by Tchaikovsky’s Marche Slave and Symphony No.4. Saturday, 4 March at 7.30pm in Christ Church, London Road, Chelmsford. Tickets: £15 (01245 601418)
This weekend the Vanburgh Quartet returns to the Stour Valley Arts and Music concert series. Its international career was launched in 1988 when it won the Yehudi Menuhin London String Quartet Competition. On Sunday 26 February the quartet will be performing String Quartets by Beethoven, Borodin and Shostakovich. This concert takes place in St Mary’s Church, East Bergholt at 4pm Tickets are £14 (01206 298426) www.svam.org.uk
Tomorrow evening Patrick McCarthy’s Colchester Bach Choir and Orchestra present An Evening of Mozart in aid of the Colchester’s Mayor’s Charities. One of the many highlights of this concert will be the beautiful solo soprano aria Laudate Dominum from Mozart’s Solemn Vespers to be sung by choir member Gill Wilson. The concert takes place in St Botolph’s Church, Colchester, starts at 7.30 pm and tickets are available from Red Lion Books or by contacting the Mayor’s office on 01206 282206, email email@example.com or at the door.
On Wednesday 8 March at 1pm Gill Wilson presents a solo recital accompanied by pianist Ian Ray as part of the Lion Walk United Reformed Church, Colchester lunchtime recitals. Free entry with retiring collection.
Final draft of Classical Music Column for Essex County Standard and Colchester Daily Gazette, 17 February 2017
If you are taking GCSE Music, later in the month there is chance to hear a live performance of one of the set works with the compliments of the Kingfisher Sinfonietta.
J S Bach wrote six concertos, which were later named the Brandenburg Concertos. Each concerto offers virtuoso writing for various instrumental groups and the fifth concerto, one of the current works for GCSE Music, is for flute, violin, harpsichord accompanied by strings. On Sunday 26 February Nigel Clayton follows in the footsteps of the celebrated pianist Murray Perahia and will be performing the demanding harpsichord part from the piano. While music purists may insist on harpsichords and other period instruments, no Bach lover is likely to have any trouble enjoying Nigel’s performance. This concert also includes Mozart’s delightful Piano Concerto No.12 and Elgar’s Serenade for Strings. It takes place at 2.45pm on Sunday 26 February in Lion Walk Church, Colchester. Those studying for their GCSE will have free admission to this concert (if accompanied by a parent). Tickets are £12 for those not studying GCSE (even if you are accompanied by a parent!) For further details on this offer please visit www.kingfishersinfonietta.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Last year, the international pianist Noriko Ogawa performed Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto to a packed St Botolph’s Church. On Saturday 18 February at 7pm Noriko is back in Colchester playing Grieg’s much-loved Piano Concerto (yes, the same work that Eric Morecambe played all the right notes but in the wrong order in the classic comedy sketch from the 1971 Morecambe & Wise Christmas Special.) Obviously, Noriko’s performance will be as the composer intended. This concert also includes Schumann’s Piano Concerto with pianist Philip Smith. Tickets: £15 (01206 577905) Please note this concert starts at 7pm.
Final draft of Classical Music Column for Essex County Standard and Colchester Daily Gazette, 10 February 2017
If one of your New Years’ resolutions was to listen to more music in 2017 what could be better than hearing music from arguably the most gifted musician in the history of classical music?
On 25 February the Colchester Bach Choir will be presenting An Evening of Mozart to include his famous ‘Coronation’ Mass. This is one of Mozart’s lighter Mass settings, where he wasn’t fearful of his own death and is a wonderful example of choral writing and includes a soprano solo in the ‘Agnus Dei’. The other major choral work will be Mozart’s Vesperae solennes de Confessore including the well-known soprano solo Laudate Dominum with soloist Gill Wilson.
In addition to the choral works, another highlight will be the delightful Flute Concerto in D with Mary Blanchard as soloist accompanied by the Colchester Bach Orchestra . Mary is well known as principal flautist with many local orchestras and a teacher of both flute and piano at many local schools.
This concert is the 23rd annual concert Colchester Bach Choir has presented for successive Colchester Mayors and their charities, raising many thousands of pounds over the years, so those who attend will be supporting the Mayor’s worthy causes as well as enjoying an evening of Mozart’s marvellous music. The concert starts at 7.30 p.m. and tickets are available from Red Lion Books or by contacting the Mayor’s office on 01206 282206, email email@example.com
A few years’ ago Carol Taylor performed Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto at a concert with the choir in aid of the Mayor’s charities. Next Wednesday at 1pm at the Cramphorn Theatre in Chelmsford, Carol will be performing various chamber music works with her colleagues in the “Sun Trio”. Further information (01245 606505)
Final draft of Classical Music Column for Essex County Standard and Colchester Daily Gazette, 3 February 2017
Last year octogenarian Colin Nicholson celebrated the Golden Jubilee of his founding, with his wife Gill, of the St Botolph’s Music Society in Colchester. This month Colin will be conducting the Society’s orchestra in its Gala Concert with a trio of concertos. International pianist Noriko Ogawa performs Grieg’s Piano Concerto – one of the most-loved piano works of all time (some of you may recall the classic Morecambe & Wise sketch with Eric attempting to perform this concerto while endlessly annoying conductor Andre Previn). Back to 2017: in the same concert, soloist Philip Smith will perform Schumann’s Piano Concerto and the solo violin part in Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole will be played by Sian Philipps. I understand that Noriko Ogawa will be signing CDs at this concert. Saturday 18 February at 7pm in St Botolph’s Church, Colchester. Tickets: £15 (01206 577905)
The following Saturday at the same venue, situated next to the ruins of the Norman priory, An Evening of Mozart will be presented by the Colchester Bach Choir and Orchestra at the annual concert in aid of the Mayor of Colchester’s Charities. More on that concert next week or telephone 01206 546202.
Next Tuesday Colin Nicholson will be joining Ian Ray for Two’s Company in the second concert in the series of three lunchtime Organ Recitals given on the magnificent Moot Hall. A variety of organ duos will be performed at 1pm on Tuesday 7 February at the Colchester Town Hall . Free entry with a retiring collection.
On Sunday at 2.45pm the Kingfisher Ensemble returns to Lion Walk United Reformed Church in Colchester performing Piano Quartets by Schumann and Beethoven. Tickets: £12 and available on the door.
As mentioned last week, the University of Essex Choir tomorrow evening presents its annual concert in the University’s Ivor Crewe Lecture Theatre. More details here (www.universityofessexchoir.org)
Final draft of Classical Music Column for Essex County Standard and Colchester Daily Gazette, 27 January 2017.
Last January the University of Essex Choir under the direction of Richard Cooke performed Mozart’s Requiem and other works to a packed audience at the Ivor Crewe Lecture Hall in the university. Early next month, the choir will be back at the same venue with an intriguing selection of pieces.
The choir’s next concert does not feature one major choral work but instead Richard has chosen a wide selection of music. I understand that the choir has been thoroughly enjoying rehearsing Holst’s hauntingly beautiful Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda (group 3), for female voices only, and Britten’s The Ballad of Little Musgrave and Lady Barnard, for the male voices. The concert also includes works for the whole choir in Brahms’ 4 Quartets (Op 92), contrasting with Folksong arrangements by Percy Grainger such as I’m Seventeen Come Sunday and music by the sadly neglected 20th century Swedish composer, Stenhammar. The choir will be accompanied by pianists Richard Pearce and Jonathan Beatty who will also perform music by Brahms, Debussy and Grieg. This concert takes place on Saturday 4 February at 7pm. Tickets: £22 (www.universityofessexchoir.org) By the way, a short walk from the Ivor Crewe Lecture Hall, Wivenhoe House Hotel is offering pre- or post-concert dining (01206 863666).
On Wednesday 1 February at 1pm the The Marenzio Singers will be performing at the first lunchtime concert in 2017 at Lion Walk United Reformed Church in Colchester. The Marenzio Singers are a five-part vocal ensemble and specialise in music from the 16th and 17th centuries plus music from more modern times. Free entry with a retiring collection.
Final draft of Classical Music Column for Essex County Standard and Colchester Daily Gazette, 20 January 2017.
The film The Lady in the Van, featuring Dame Maggie Smith as Miss Shepherd, is about a woman who parked her van in Alan Bennett’s London driveway for 15 years. During the film, Bennett learns that Miss Shepherd is really Margaret Fairchild, a gifted pianist who had performed at a BBC Prom concert. In the film pianist Clare Hammond plays the younger version of Fairchild and performs works by Chopin heard at the original concert.
Last November, Clare Hammond was on BBC Radio 3 performing at a lunchtime concert series as part of the 2016 Belfast International Arts Festival.
This Sunday Clare will be giving a concert of music by Beethoven, Faure and Stravinsky at the Stour Valley Arts & Music Winter Concert series at 4pm in Constable Hall, Gandish Road, East Bergholt CO7 6TP. Tickets: £14 (01206 298426).
Jeffery Wilson teaches at the Colchester Institute and is a senior Trinity College, London, examiner but next Monday Jeffery will be performing with the Braintree-based saxophone quartet, Saxology, in an eclectic programme of music including a new arrangement of the Canon from Gradu ad Parnassum by Muzio Clementi in celebration of the composer’s 265th Birthday. This concert takes place at the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds (01284 769505).
Next month sees the world premiere of Jeffery Wilson’s Clarinet Concerto ‘The Fallen’, dedicated to and performed by HM Band the Welsh Guards. Visit for more information www.jefferywilson.co.uk
Jeffery Wilson has a national and international reputation as a composer, performer and educator, equally at home in classical, contemporary & jazz music.
Final draft of Classical Music Column for Essex County Standard and Colchester Daily Gazette, 13 January 2017.
Get your New Year off to a flying start with a concert of popular Viennese classics given by the Colchester Symphony Orchestra conducted by Chris Phelps. Come and enjoy dance favourites including Strauss’ Blue Danube Waltz, Thunder and Lightning Polka, the Radetsky March (with audience participation) and Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite.
The Viennese waltz is demanding for both musicians and dancers so were interspersed with short polkas and marches just to give the dancers a welcome break and catch their breath. (Those who have followed BBC One’s ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ will appreciate that the Viennese waltz is quite fast!) Leader of the CSO, Philippa Barton, will be the soloist in Monti’s toe-tapping ‘Czardas’ dance – which you are bound to recognise. Tickets are £14 (01206 271128). Saturday 14 January at 7:30pm in St Botolph’s Church, Colchester.
Many choirs and orchestras start each term with an open rehearsal where you can join in and try out your chosen group. Just when you thought the Messiah season was over the Anglia Singers, Choir of Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford, will be holding an open rehearsal on Saturday 14 January of this much-loved oratorio by Handel in readiness for its concert later in the year in Braintree. Further details are available from Martin Fee (01376 330315).
This month the Bergen Philharmonic makes its Saffron Hall debut with its new maestro Edward Gardner. The programme includes Elgar’s iconic ‘Cello Concerto, performed by the young ‘cellist Leonard Elschenbroich, Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite No.1, evoking the landscape of Scandinavia and Bartok’s fiery orchestral showcase, Concerto for Orchestra. This concert is on Sunday 15 January at 3pm with tickets starting from £18. Box Office 0845 548 7650
Liz Leatherdale, Colchester Classics, 0800 999 6994 www.colchesterclassics.co.uk
Final draft of Classical Music Column for Essex County Standard and Colchester Daily Gazette, 6 January 2017.
If one of your New Year resolutions was to join a choir, Clacton Choral Society has a taster session on Saturday 7 January afternoon where singers with some choral experience would be welcome. Following the choir’s highly successful concert in December accompanied by the Kingfisher Sinfonietta, its conductor Gilli Dulieu will whet your musical appetite for the choir’s next concert on 8 April with music by Alan Bullard (Wondrous Cross), Malcolm Williamson (Procession of Palms) and excerpts from J S Bach’s St John Passion. To reserve your place for tomorrow’s event at Christ Church URC, Carnarvon Road, Clacton, telephone 01255 424568
This Sunday afternoon, the Kingfisher Ensemble presents its first concert of 2017 at Lion Walk Church, Colchester with a charming programme of music by Grieg, Mendelssohn and Schumann. Tickets are £12 and available on the door
Across the border there is a chance to hear music used in films and on TV, such as the themes from Lovejoy and Black Beauty (by Suffolk-based composer Denis King) and also Richard Addinsell’s Warsaw Concerto from the film Dangerous Moonlight. Chris Green conducts the Trianon Choir and Symphony Orchestra at the Ipswich Corn Exchange at 7.30pm (01394 283170)
Next Thursday, Chris Green will be in Colchester starting a new series of Music Appreciation Lectures: Music and the British Landscape for the Workers’ Educational Association (WEA) based at the Castle Methodist Church. (01223 417320)
Colchester-based musicians will also be with the Essex Chamber Orchestra this weekend for an intensive weekend course ending with a concert including Reinecke’s Flute Concerto with soloist Hazel Arnill and Schubert’s Symphony No.3 at 7pm on Sunday 8 January in Ingatestone & Fryerning Community Centre, High Street, Ingatestone. Tickets £10 on the door.
Updated 7 December 2016
A Festive Evening of Classical Christmas Delights with the Tanzanite Piano Trio is one of the three Christmas-themed concerts this week taking place in St Botolph’s Church, Colchester. This trio of young musicians, Megan Hill, violin, Matthew Strover, ‘cello and pianist Emma Nash, takes its name from its members’ shared beautiful birthstone of Tanzanite. Tickets are £10 for this concert on Thursday December 15 at 7.30pm.
Saturday evening in the same venue at 7.3opm the St Botolph’s Music Society choir and orchestra present Music for Advent and Christmas with Susan Piggott (soprano) and organists Stephen Cheek and Colin Nicholson. Tickets: £12 (01206 823662).
Sandwiched between the above two concerts at St Botolph’s Church is A Christmas Celebration in Words and Music when Colchester’s MP Will Quince could bring the house down raising funds for various Rotary Charities other musicians performing include Sally Leung and her Colchester Military Children’s Choir. This takes place at 3pm on Sunday afternoon with tickets £5 (children £2.50) and all profits going to various Rotary Charities. (01206 572 783).
Last Saturday, Chris Phelps was conducting the Puffin Ensemble in St Botolph’s and this Sunday evening at 6.30pm he will be directing the Kelvedon Singers’ Christmas concert including seasonal songs plus music by Monteverdi, Mozart and Mendelssohn. Tickets: £12 on the door at All Saints Church, Fordham.
In St Peter’s Church, Colchester The Pimlott Foundation choir and orchestra presents the 19th century oratorio, L’Enfance du Christ (The Childhood of Christ) by Hector Berlioz. The best-known section from this large-scale choral work is The Shepherds’ Farewell, with its distinctive oboe part throughout and sublime choral harmonies.
Updated 1 December
If you are looking forward to hearing Christmas music and singing some favourite carols, you will not be disappointed with the small selection highlighted here.
‘Christmas is Coming’ is the title of the recital on the magnificent Moot Hall organ with soprano soloist Lindsay Gowers accompanied by organist Ian Ray in an all-English programme of songs and organ music. Tuesday 6 December, 1-2pm in the Moot Hall, Colchester Town Hall. Admission is free with a retiring collection.
The following Sunday, Ian Ray will be back in the Moot Hall directing the Colchester Choral Society, a children’s semi-chorus singing from the gallery, a brass quintet, organist Dr Gillian Ward Russell and compere Terence Craig Waller in ‘Here Comes Christmas’. December 11 at 4pm. Tickets £8 including refreshments in the Mayor’s Parlour
‘A Symphonic Christmas’ with The Choir of St Mary’s, Maldon, accompanied by the Lewisham Concert Band, performs John Rutter’s Gloria, Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride and Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite. Tickets: £12. (01621 856503). Saturday, 3 December at 7.30pm, St Mary’s Church, Maldon.
There are two more opportunities to hear Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on Christmas Carols and Handel’s Messiah (Part 1). The Clacton Choral Society accompanied by the Kingfisher Sinfonietta in St James Church, Clacton tomorrow at 7.30pm (tickets: £10 01255 221511) or the following Saturday with the Ipswich Bach Choir and Ipswich Chamber Orchestra at The Ipswich School, Ivry Street, Ipswich. . Tickets: (01394 271538).
Two concerts with little or no reference to seasonal music are also available this weekend. The Puffin Ensemble, Colchester Symphony Orchestra’s principal wind players, performs music by Strauss, Dvorak and Hummel in St Botolph’s Church, Colchester, tomorrow at 7.30pm. Tickets: £14 (01206 271128). Then on Sunday afternoon the Kingfisher Sinfonietta returns to Lion Walk Church in Colchester with music by Vivaldi, Mozart and Frank Bridge. Tickets: £12. Sunday 4 December 2016 at 2.45pmUpdated 22 November 2016
Updated 24 November
Over the last 70 years, Tiptree Choral Society has performed in various venues but its ‘home’ is always the 19th century local church, St Luke’s. Tomorrow evening at 7.30pm it presents a celebrated, much-loved and often performed oratorio, Handel’s Messiah, accompanied by organist Jonathan Eyre and conducted, as always, by Malcolm Boulter. Tickets: £10 on the door
Pianist Alisdair Hogarth will be heading back to his hometown to perform Shostakovich’s popular Second Piano Concerto and Gershwin’s jazz–infused Rhapsody in Blue accompanied by the Essex Symphony Orchestra. Since making his concerto debut aged 15 with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Alisdair has studied music, regularly performs and founded The Prince Consort, focusing on piano-accompanied song. This concert takes place tomorrow at 7.30pm in Christ Church, New London Road in Chelmsford. Tickets: £12.
International pianist Steven Osborne will be soloist tomorrow evening in Brahms’ Piano Concerto No.1 accompanied by the Ipswich Symphony Orchestra. The programme also includes Mendelssohn’s popular Hebrides Overture (Fingal’s Cave) depicting the sights and sounds of Scotland. This concert is at the Ipswich Corn Exchange tomorrow evening at 7.30pm. Tickets are from £12 (01473 433100).
If you are looking for something more musically intimate, pop to the Headgate Theatre on Sunday afternoon to hear guitarist Andrey Lebedev, winner of the Julian Bream Trust prize in 2014. This concert begins at 5pm and includes a delightful mix of music from John Dowland, Villa Lobos and Leo Brouwer. From 2pm Andrey will be giving a Classical Guitar Workshop. Telephone 01206 366000 for more information.
Updated 8 Nov
On Sunday afternoon Colin Nicholson will be celebrating the Golden Jubilee of the St Botolph’s Music Society (which he founded in 1966) with a special concert including much of the music heard at the society’s inaugural concert such as solo organ music, again performed by Colin, and choral and orchestral works, conducted by Colin or Jonathan Abbott. Sunday 13 November 2016 at 3.30pm. Free entry with a retiring collection (01206 823662).
Next weekend at St Botolph’s Colchester Choral Society accompanied by the Colchester Sinfonia conducted by Ian Ray performs music by two great British 20th century composers, Sir Michael Tippett and Ralph Vaughan Williams.
Tippett’s secular oratorio A Child of our Time effectively uses a traditional three-part format based on Handel’s Messiah, is structured in the manner of Bach’s Passions and uniquely and effectively presents American spirituals in a similar musical role to that of the chorales in Bach’s Passions. Vaughan Williams’ beautiful Fantasia on Christmas Carols for baritone soloist, choir and orchestra is based on four English carols, interspersed by brief orchestral quotations from other carols. Saturday November 19, 2016 at 7.30pm, St Botolph’s Church, Colchester. Tickets: £15 (01206 572783)
At the same venue tomorrow evening the Lexden Choral Society accompanied by the Kingfisher Ensemble presents Brahms’ German Requiem followed by music associated with the Last Night of the Proms including audience participation. Saturday November 12, 2016 at 7.30pm, St Botolph’s Church, Colchester.Tickets: £13 (01206 766906)
Last but not least, international pianist Noriko Ogawa presents ‘Jamie’s Concerts’ in aid of the National Autistic Society (NAS). Music will include works by Satie, Debussy and Clara and Robert Schumann. Sunday 20 November at 3.30pm, St Botolph’s Church, Colchester. Free entry with a retiring collection in aid of NAS (01206 823662).
Updated 2 Nov
Last month, Welsh composer Karl Jenkins was in the news with his latest large-scale choral work ‘Cantata Memoria’ commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Aberfan Disaster. This month music from one of his most popular previous choral works, The Armed Man, will be performed by Witham Choral along with Mendelssohn’s Hear My Prayer, which includes the well-known and much-loved O for the Wings of a Dove. The choir will be accompanied by Antony Mortimer, Stephen Evans (piano and organ), Paul Lockyer (cello) conducted by Patrick McCarthy. Saturday 12 November, 7.30pm at Witham United Reformed Church, Newland Street, Witham. Tickets: £10 (01376 513713)
Mozart’s Requiem and the UK premiere of James Davy’s work Perugia Pie Jesu will be performed by The Choir of St Mary’s Maldon conducted by Colin Baldy at a concert in aid of the victims of the Italian earthquake. Last August the choir, Colin and James were in Scheggino, nearby to Norcia, when the earthquake struck. Two days afterwards, James had completed his choral composition and the choir gave its premiere performance in Scheggino. Saturday 12 November 7.30pm at St Mary’s Church, Maldon. Tickets: £12 (01621 858503).
James Davy will be conducting The Chelmsford Singers in Music for Remembrance with poignant music by Vaughan Williams, Morten Lauridsen and Arvo Pärt. Saturday 12 November, 7.30pm at Christ Church United Reformed Church, London Road, Chelmsford. For further info telephone (01245 352133).
On Remembrance Sunday the Colchester Chamber Choir conducted by Roderick Earle, present ‘In Paradisum’ including Duruflé’s Requiem and music by Charpentier, Poulenc and Messiaen. Sunday 13 November at 7pm, St Edmundsbury Cathedral, Bury St Edmunds. For tickets and coach travel information www.colchesterchamberchoir.org
Updated 24 October
Early next month the Colchester Early Music Festival offers the chance over five concerts to hear the unique sound worlds created by Wind Instruments from Medieval Times.
T he first concert, entitled “Revel and Melody: the music of medieval England from the Conquest to the Wars of the Roses” presents music for dancing plus songs of love, war and devotion performed by Trouvere with Richard De Winter (vocals). Sunday 6 November, 2.30pm, St Andrew’s Church, Church Lane, Marks Tey. Tickets: £8 (01206 212466).
With the BBCs initiatives of Ten Pieces as her inspiration, Dr Gillian Ward Russell, has devised a programme offering the thrilling sounds of the organ through ten short pieces from J S Bach to Bovet. Tuesday November 1 at 1pm, Moot Hall, Town Hall, Colchester. Free entry with a retiring collection.
Cellist Anup Kumar Biswas presents a concert raising funds for the Mathieson Music Trust and School in India which provides education for poor children with a particular focus on music. Biswas will be joined by pianist Yoshiko Endo in music by Bach, Beethoven and Schubert. Sunday November 6 at 3.30pm, Old House Barn, Old House Road, Great Horkesley. Further details (01206 618944).
Back to this weekend when Nigel Clayton will be the soloist in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.2 accompanied by the Kingfisher Sinfonietta under Elgar Howarth. Sunday’s concert also includes Schumann’s Symphony No.1 ‘Spring’ and his overture to Genoveva. Sunday 30 October 2016 at 2.45pm. Lion Walk United Reformed Church, Colchester. Tickets: £12.
Updated 21 October
Beethoven’s five piano concertos, written between 1795 and 1809 have been favourites over the last two hundred years. Colchester audiences have recently been treated to performances of the Fourth Concerto with international pianist John Lill accompanied by the Colchester Symphony Orchestra, the ‘Emperor’ (No.5) with soloist Philip Smith and the St Botolph’s Music Society and now this weekend there is another opportunity to hear a further Beethoven Piano Concerto.
Nigel Clayton, accompanied by the Kingfisher Sinfonietta, will be the soloist in the Piano Concerto known as No.2, since it was the second to be published, but was actually the first of the five to be written. Sunday’s concert will also include Schumann’s Symphony No.1 ‘Spring’ and a rarely heard overture. Like Beethoven before him, Schumann only wrote one opera, and his overture to Genoveva completes the concert programme conducted by Elgar Howarth. Sunday 30 October 2016 at 2.45pm. Lion Walk United Reformed Church. Tickets: £12 at the door
Next month the Kingfisher Sinfonietta will be back in Colchester accompanying the Lexden Choral Society on Saturday 12 November in St Botolph’s Church and the following afternoon the leader of the Sinfonietta, Beth Spendlove, will be performing a programme of Gluck, Beethoven and Brahms accompanied by pianist Nigel Clayton in Lion Walk United Reformed Church.
Back to this weekend, the main and training orchestras of the Colne Valley Youth Orchestra under Nigel Hildreth will be presenting an evening in memory of its Treasurer and supporter, Mike Boddy. Saturday 22 October at 7.30pm. Free entry with a retiring collection. St James the Great, East Hill, Colchester.
Updated 11 October
One of Germany’s most visited landmarks, the Dom Cathedral in Cologne, has four choirs based at its location. One of its choirs, the only one that performs unaccompanied, will be singing in Colchester next week. This is the only chance of hearing this choir in Essex during its 12 date concert tour of the UK.
The choir regularly perform at its Medieval Cathedral, a renowned monument of German Catholicism and Gothic architecture, but on Friday 21 October at 1.15pm the forty singers present choral works from Josquin de Pres to Poulenc at St James the Less & St Helen Church, Priory Street, Colchester. Free entry with a retiring collection for Aid to the Church in Need.
Over at the other St James Church there will be a joint concert of the main and training orchestras of the Colne Valley Youth Orchestra under Nigel Hildreth. The evening will include Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King, Hungarian Dances by Brahms and music from Pirates of the Caribbean. This concert pays tribute to the late Mike Boddy, Treasurer and enthusiastic supporter of the orchestra for 15 years. Any past members who remember Mike are invited to perform at this concert. For more information about the concert or information for past members, email firstname.lastname@example.org Saturday 22 October at 7.30pm. Free entry with a retiring collection. St James the Great, East Hill, Colchester.
Finally, over in Harwich, its Festival presents an afternoon in conversation with the internationally acclaimed composer Diana Burrell. Called ‘Dots and Sticks’, the event will see Diana, former Artistic Director of the Harwich Festival, talking about her life as a composer. Tickets: £6 (07425 145022) www.harwichfestival.co.uk Wednesday 19 October at 3.30pm in Oxleys, High Street, Dovercourt.
On the first Sunday in October the Kingfisher Ensemble led by Beth Spendlove makes a welcome return to Lion Walk Church in Colchester with a programme of music by Borodin, Kodaly and Frank Bridge. This concert starts at 2.45pm and tickets are £12 on the door. (Some of this programme will also be repeated on Monday at the lunchtime concert in the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds). On the last Sunday in October, the Kingfisher Sinfonietta also led by Beth Spendlove, return to Lion Walk Church in a programme including Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.2 with soloist Nigel Clayton.
Last month in St Botolph’s Church, the Colchester Symphony Orchestra opened its 2016/17 season with international soloist John Lill performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.4. Tomorrow evening at the same venue there is an opportunity to hear another Beethoven Piano Concerto when Philip Smith will be the soloist in the ‘Emperor’ accompanied by St Botolph’s Music Society Orchestra. This rogramme also includes Schubert’s Overture ‘Rosamunde’ and Dvorak’s Symphony No.8. S Tickets: £12 (01206 823662).
Over in East Bergholt the 65th season of the Stour Valley Arts & Music series begins on Sunday at 4pm with the Calder Quartet from America performing chamber music including Debussy’s only String Quartet (a work that takes me back to my A Level music class when it was one of the set works!) St Mary’s Church, The Street, East Bergholt CO7 6TA. (01206 298426) www.svam.org.uk
Also on Sunday at 4pm, The Solem String Quartet, formerly in residence at Snape Maltings, Aldeburgh, offers a programme of music by Bartok, Mendelssohn and Haydn at Wrabness’ 12th century Church. Tickets £12: 01255 886163
And finally on Sunday clarinettists Anthony Bailey and Felicity Vine, accompanied by Ian Ray, present a concert of music by Beethoven, Horovitz and Baermann in St Osyth Church. Sunday October 9 at 6pm. Tickets: £8 including refreshments.
Updated 14 September 2016
Last weekend, the Colchester Symphony Orchestra opened its 2016/2017 season with international soloist John Lill performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.4. The packed audience at St Botolph’s Church were clearly spell-bound and enchanted by Lill’s fresh reading of this concerto. The orchestra’s next concert will be on December 3 (01206 271128)
Next month there is a chance to hear another Beethoven piano concerto in the glorious setting of St Botolph’s Church. Philip Smith will be the soloist in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.5 ‘Emperor’ accompanied by the St Botolph’s Music Society Orchestra under Colin Nicholson. October 8, 7.30pm.Tickets: £12 (01206 8323662).
Back to this weekend and tomorrow Colchester musicians will be performing in Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast, Te Deum by Dvorak and Elgar’s Variations on an Original Theme, ‘Enigma’. Trianon Music Group will be conducted by Chris Green. September 17 at Snape Maltings Concert Hall. Tickets: (01728 687110) or the Trianon Ticketline (01394 283170).
Chris Green’s next lecture series in Colchester begins on 22 September featuring opera plots with their themes of love, deception, drama and mystery from Poppea to Sweeney Todd and from Julius Caesar to Tosca. Chris will be in West Mersea with a course entitled Musical Postcards starting on Tuesday 20 September. WEA (Workers’ Educational Association) (0800 328 1060).
On Sunday afternoon, the Colne Valley Youth Training Orchestra is holding an open rehearsal at the Sixth Form College, North Hill, Colchester offering an opportunity for young orchestral players to try out the orchestra. In the morning the main orchestra will be rehearsing for its performance at the Roman River Festival Finale Concert on October 2. Further details on Colne Valley Youth Orchestra, contact Nigel Hildreth email@example.com .
This week Neil D’arcy-Jones has a feature on the Roman River Festival and next week I will highlight more concerts from our fine local festival.
Updated 6 September
The 17th annual Roman River Music Festival for Colchester and surrounding villages begins next Friday and continues its ambitious programming with a range of international highly acclaimed musicians in now trademark unique venues, ranging from the comfort of the recently-refurbished Mercury Studio to the former bus depot on Queen Street. There really is something for everyone at our local festival which to be honest rivals many others. (07759 934860) www.romanrivermusic.org.uk
Back to this weekend and tomorrow afternoon at 3pm, there is a chance to hear the winner of the Paris Grand Prize Virtuoso International Music Competition 2015. Young violinist Laure Chan performs Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Paganini, Ravel and Ysaÿe with Dimitris Daskalakis, piano. St Mary’s Parish Church, Frinton. Tickets: £10 including refreshments (01255 679164).
Tomorrow evening, John Lill makes a welcome return to our town to perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.4 with the highly-regarded Colchester Symphony Orchestra. The concert also includes Bruckner’s Symphony No.4. 7.30pm in St Botolph’s Church, Colchester. Tickets: £14 (01206 271128)
The last time I heard Tim Carey, he was performing Shostakovich’s Second Piano Concerto with the Colchester Symphony Orchestra. This Sunday he will be celebrating his 60th birthday by playing Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto with the Essex Chamber Orchestra. Tim is a true Essex boy, educated at King Edward VI Grammar School and still based in Chelmsford. Sunday, September 11 at 7pm in Anglo-European School, Ingatestone. Tickets £10 on the door.
The world’s greatest Classical Music festival, the BBC Proms, draws to a close tomorrow evening with the Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Flórez as the star soloist. Many of the concerts are available on the BBC iplayer for you to dip into the music and soak up the atmosphere.