Wednesday 29 June 2011

Mozart's glory at The Barbican

Le Cercle de l'Harmonie performed Mozart's Vesperae solennes
de confessore and Mass in C minor at The Barbican
After visiting The Geffrye Museum of the Home in the afternoon which is one of London's hidden gems including a wonderful herb garden I made my way to the Barbican Centre for the Le Cercle de l'Harmonie concert.

Jeremie Rhorer was conductor for the Le Cercle de l'Harmonie orchestra while Joel Suhubiette conducted the Les Elements chamber choir. Soloists for the evening were Sally Matthews - soprano, Ann Hallenberg - mezzo-soprano, Rainer Trost - tenor and Nahuel Di Pierro - bass-baritone.

With a programme of Mozart's Vesperae solennes de confessore and Mass in C minor this was always going to be a glorious night. The opening piece was composed in 1780 and was Mozart's last church music for Salzburg. In 1781 he switched to Vienna and due to a promise to his father that he would visit Salzberg and perform a Mass of thanksgiving he composed Mass in C minor in 1782.

I had a wonderful evening at the Barbican Centre including a wonderful meal. Barbican Hall is an amazing venue to experience classical music with it's brilliant acoustics. Blessed is he who cometh in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

Sunday 26 June 2011

The glory of the Norwich Singers!

Norwich Singers put on a wonderful concert at St. Peter Mancroft Church, Norwich on Saturday evening that featured an invited orchestra and a number of splendid soloists. Soprano - Jayne May-Sysum, Alto - Ruth Peel, Tenor - William Falconer, Bass - Brent Palmer, Musical Director - Howard Rooke and Organist - Jim Laird.

The Norwich Singers were formed in 1954 and rehearse at St. Anne's Church on Colman Road, Norwich. Their programme for this performance was Magnificat - Buxtehude, Requiem - Durufle and Mass in D minor (Nelson Mass) - Haydn. We were also treated to organ solos of Sinfonia from Cantata 29 - Bach arr Dupre and Variations on Amazing Grace - Dedard from Jim Laird.

The manuscript for Magnificat did not originally bear the name of any composer. At a later date Buxtehude's name was added. My soul doth magnify the Lord and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

Jim Laird's organ solos were very entertaining especially the variations on Amazing Grace. We all applauded loudly with smiles on our faces. It was then on to Maurice Durufle's Requiem which incorporates Gregorian chant. May the chorus of angels receive you and with Lazarus once poor may you have eternal rest.

After an interval apple juice I was looking forward to Haydn's Nelson Mass. This work was first performed in 1798. When Nelson and Lady Hamilton passed through Austria in 1800 several concerts were arranged in their honour. The works performed included the Nelson Mass and soon afterwards the Mass became known under its present title.

The choir and the soloists all showed great enthusiasm and put on a brilliant performance. Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest. Overall this was a very enjoyable night at a historic venue with a splendid orchestra and choir with wonderful soloists.

Elena Kiseleva piano recital

Elena Kiseleva piano recital at
St. Peter Mancroft Church
On Saturday I attended the next in the Mancroft Music Summer Recitals 2011 series at St. Peter Mancroft Church, Norwich. This time featuring one of the stars of this year's Norfolk and Norwich Festival, pianist Elena Kiseleva who after completing her studies at the Central Special Music School of the Moscow Conservatory moved to London in 2004.

The programme for the recital was Sonata in C minor K 457 - Mozart, Novelletten Op.21 No.8 (F sharp minor) - Schumann, From 12 Lieder von Franz Schubert S.558 No.2 Auf dem Wasser zu Singen - Liszt and Rigoletto Paraphrase de Concert S.434 (A transcription of the quartet from Act 3 of Verdi's Rigoletto) - Liszt.

Elena gave a wonderful performance that delighted everyone in attendance. Since the start of the Mancroft Music Recitals programme they have always wanted to put on a piano recital and due to a kind benefactor it was made possible.

Sunday 19 June 2011

Strictly Gershwin full of Ballet and Jazz!

Strictly Gershwin bringing glamour to the
Royal Albert Hall
On Saturday afternoon I attended the English National Ballet performance of Strictly Gershwin at the Royal Albert Hall. It may have been a day of sunshine and showers in London but inside this magical iconic building we were taken on a journey to the world of glamour created by George and Ira Gershwin.

Derek Deane's Strictly Gershwin mixes ballet, jazz, modern and tap dancing to provide us with a very spectacular show that enchanted us all. My highlight was Rhapsody in Blue which combined this musical kaleidoscope of America with classical ballet that summed up the whole spirit of the show.

This was bringing ballet to the masses with happiness and celebration.  Act I was Gershwin on Broadway with Overture, I've Got A Crush On You, The Man I Love, Fascinatin' Rhythm, Shall We Dance, Someone To Watch Over Me, 'S Wonderful, Gershwin-terlude and An American in Paris.

Act II was just as delightful bringing us Gershwin in Hollywood with Rhapsody In Blue, Embraceable You, Lady Be Good, Summertime, But Not For Me, Who Cares?, Strike Up The Band, It Ain't Necessarily So, A Foggy Day and I Got Rhythm. This was all performed on the large Royal Albert Hall stage that had us all applauding in great appreciation.

I had a wonderful experience at the Royal Albert Hall and very much enjoyed the show. I was tap dancing in the rain all the way back to South Kensington Underground Station.

Sunday 12 June 2011

Julian Haggett Summer Recital

St. Peter Mancroft Church,
On Saturday I attended the latest Mancroft Music Summer Recital at St. Peter Mancroft Church, Norwich. This time it was Organist Julian Haggett who gave us a wonderful performance which delighted everyone who attended.

Julian Haggett is the Organist at St. Peter Mancroft Church, Norwich who has given recitals at Cathedrals and other venues around the country as well as across Europe. He is very familiar with the organ at this historic Norwich church.

The programme for the recital was Kyrie I: Plainchant, en Taille, Kyrie II: Fugue on the Juex d'Anches, Kyrie III: Recit de Cromorne, Kyrie IV: Dialogue on the Trompette et Cromorne, Kyrie V: Plainchant (Messe pour les Paroisses) - Couperin, Prelude & Fugue in C BWV 547 - Bach, Apparition de I'Eglise Eternelle, Sortie (Le vent de I'Esprit) (Messe de la Pentecote) - Messiaen and Litanies - Alain.

This was an enjoyable way to spend some time on a Summer afternoon in the Fine City of Norwich. There are two more Summer Recitals coming up at St. Peter Mancroft Church. 25th June - Elena Kiseleva - piano and 2nd July - Iain Quinn - organ.

Monday 6 June 2011

Sunday afternoon at Norwich Assembly House

The Assembly House, Norwich venue for the
Ensemble Millefleurs concert
On Sunday afternoon I attended the UEA School of Music concert at The Assembly House, Norwich. This performance was from the Ensemble Millefleurs with Erika Arul as Conductor and Kumaran Arul as Pianist Soloist.

The programme consisted of Concerto Grosso Opus 6 No.2 - Handel, Appalachian Spring - Copland and Piano Concerto No.5 Opus 73 "Emperor" - Beethoven.

This was a delightful way to spend a Sunday afternoon at this historic Norwich building with a programme of wonderful music. Starting with Handel's Opus 6, No.2 that was performed in the style of the early twentieth century.

We were then treated to Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring that evokes the spirit of the American pioneers. A Spring celebration of a bride and her marriage to a farmer starting a new life in their Pennsylvania farmhouse.

The highlight of the concert was Beethoven's Piano Concerto No.5 Opus 73 "Emperor" which was composed in 1809 after the composer had survived Napoleon's bombardment of Vienna. As with the Handel performance this was performed with inspiration from the earliest recordings of this work.

At the end of the concert there was a retiring collecting for Come Singing! This is a singing group in Norfolk for people of all ages living with dementia.

Saturday 4 June 2011

The healing powers of the Herb Garden

Norwich Cathedral Herb Garden looking
splendid in the Summer sunshine
From classical Latin texts we are blessed from the knowledge they gave monks of physiology and botany that lead to the wonderful Herb Garden at Norwich Cathedral. Keep your eyes open as you walk down Cathedral Close and experience this place of great beauty.

From the culinary delights of sage to ground ivy for brewing and as a diuretic. The antiseptic qualities of lavender to reducing fever with feverfew. This is truly a place to feel at peace. In the grounds of Emmaus House take time to sit in the garden and relax.

From the history of the Infirmary Garden of the Benedictine Monastery to the present day the healing powers of this physic garden can be felt. Set out as a knot garden for the pleasure of all, the Herb Garden at Norwich Cathedral is a place for reflection and delight.