Saturday, January 3, 2015

Lent Term 2015

The term that is about to start is full of music events  - enough I think to keep us busy over the next twelve weeks!


The Schola will sing Mozart's Requiem at St John's Smith Square at 7.30 pm on Friday 30 January. This concert is being given in memory of MP Paul Goggins in support of The Cardinal Hume Centre. This video of a wonderful performance in 1991 (sung from memory by the choir although the conductor has a score!) contains at least one rather familiar face.

The Annual Music Competition will run throughout the term. With Dominic Doutney no longer in the School it might be a little more open than in previous years! The Final is at 6 pm on Wednesday 18 March, adjudicated by Ralph Allwood MBE.

Our work with Southbank Sinfonia this term will include a composing workshop and then a side-by-side performance of Mahler's Fourth Symphony. This will be the first time that the Vaughan's orchestral players have tacked Mahler, music of extraordinary scale and emotional range.

The concert is at 6 pm Thursday 12 February at St John's, Waterloo. We need to buy a tam tam for the performance - we already have the sleigh bells!

The Big Band Evening (Friday March 6) is devoted to Frank Sinatra and will see lots of our vocalists getting up and giving their personal tribute to Old Blue Eyes, who would have been 100 this year! (When is Elvis's centenary?).

The Schola are to sing in several wonderful settings this term, including twice for the Vigil Mass at Westminster Cathedral (6pm, January 24 - music by Palestrina,  and March 21 - music by Byrd). Wednesday 4 February promises to be busy with some of the younger boys singing with the Bach Choir in Carmina Burana in the Royal Festival Hall, whilst next door in the Queen Elizabeth Hall the older boys will sing in An Evening with Rick Wakeman of Yes fame.

Early in March (Monday 9 March, 5.30 pm) they travel to Cambridge to sing Evensong in Kings College Chapel.

A few days before (Monday 2 March, 1 pm) they give a concert, alongside our friends in Tiffin Boys Choir and Trinity Boys Choir, at the Royal Opera House,  Covent Garden.  Our three choirs have provided the boys for the Royal Opera productions for the past fifteen years or so and it will be lovely for them to sing together for the first time, in the amazing setting of the Paul Hamlyn Hall at the Opera House. 

Meanwhile, some of the boys will be preparing to sing the solo roles in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte and 26 trebles will have the chance to sing in the production of King Roger, a Polish opera  by Karol Szymanowski.

The main showcase for the instrumentalists will come on March 12 (7 pm) when the junior and senior pupils will perform in the Spring Concert, held again in the wonderful Wathen Hall in St Paul's School. Two works to be performed that evening are particularly exciting: Senior Strings are to play Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis whilst First Orchestra will perform the Symphonic Dances from West Side Story (an amazing performance below from Gustavo Dudamel and his Venezuelan Orchestra).

And throughout the term we will all be busy learning to sing Elgar's great masterpiece The Dream of Gerontius for the Centenary Concert, to be given at 7.30 pm on March 24 at St James's, Spanish Place. This extraordinary work, a setting of the Blessed John Henry Newman's poem, traces a souls journey after death. Elgar as he finished this quintessentially Catholic work, wrote on the score, 'This is the best of me; for the rest, I ate, and drank, and slept, loved and hated, like another: my life was as the vapour and is not; but this I saw and knew; this, if anything of mine, is worth your memory'. There was never any doubt that this would be the work that we would perform to mark the Vaughan's 100th year. I hope that you will be able to join us for the performance - and if you are a pupil, come and sing in it. It will stay with you for ever. 

(Though there is no balloon drop at the end I'm afraid.)


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