Thursday 15 November 2012

New year at St Johns Smith Square

The January to March concert season at St Johns Smith Square has an attractive mix of events, with the opportunity to hear some unusual repertoire and a variety of fine ensembles both professional, student and voluntary and even sung services. There is Messiaen, Khachaturian, a celebration of Stephen Montague's birthday and even a Stanford premiere. If you so desire, you even can start off the New Year with a New Year's Day Concert from the Chartwell Ensemble with soprano Elin Manahan Thomas.

St. John's is still a consecrated church so that they do occasional services there. To celebrate Epiphany you can hear Cantandum singing Palestrina's Missa aeterni Christi munera, which is still one of my favourite Palestrina masses despite 20 years of singing it at services. The Revd Philip Welsh is the celebrant.

Khachaturian's Violin Concerto makes an appearance in a new guise as Flute Concerto with Michael Liu as soloist with Les Voix Nouvelles in January. The group come back in February again under their conductor Jean-Louis Gosselin with a programme which includes Messiaen's Et expecto resurrectionem mortuorum, Steve Reich's New York Counterpoint plus Stravinsky and Mozart. The orchestra was founded this year by conductor Jean-Louis Gosselin to 'promote works by living and 20th century composers as well as enabling young outstanding musicians from all four conservatoires in London to play some of the most challenging pieces in the symphonic repertoire.'

The Orchestra of St. Paul's bring a highly imaginative programme in February, with Moeran's Sinfonietta, Bridge's Vignettes de danse, Britten's Plymouth Town and the London premiere of Jeremy Dibble's orchestration of Stanford's Second Violin concerto with Rupert Marshall-Luck on violin; Ben Palmer conducts. Britten wrote his ballet score Plymouth Town in 1931 after his first year at the Royal College of Music. He sent it to the Camargo Society (forerunner of Sadlers Wells Ballet), but had no luck and never revisited the score which was only premiered in 2004. Jeremy Dibble's orchestration of Stanford's concerto was premiered at the University of Durham this year. Stanford left the piece in 1918 in a version for just violin and piano.

There is a day of happenings to celebrate the 70th birthday of composer Stephen Montague, with lunch time and evening recitals involving a variety of ensembles and musicians including Montague himself. In addition to his work as a composer and teacher Montague has been very active in promoting new music and helping young composers; he founded the Sonic Arts Network and has been chair and artistic director of the SPNM.

The London Bach Society continue their year of concerts celebrating Bach with a performance of the St Matthew Passion given by the Steinitz Bach Players and Consort of Voices with James Gilchrist as the Evangelist, directed by Anthony Robson. The audience will be encouraged to participate in the singing of three of the chorales - hurrah! And there is more Bach from Polyphony and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment with the St John Passion with an impressive line-up of soloists including Ian Bostridge, Neal Davis, Julia Doyle, Iestyn Davies, Nicholas Mulroy and Robert Davies.

As Easter approaches, Alistair Dixon and Chapelle du Roi return for their annual Tenebrae by Candlelight concert, with music by Victoria, Palestrina, Guenod, Lobo and Tallis.

The choir of Royal Holloway College and the English Cornett and Sackbutt Ensemble, under conductor Rupert Gough are giving a programme called English Exiles, with music by John Bull, Richard Dering and Peter Philips, all composers who ended up in exile on the continent. The best of modern brass will be on show at a Celebration of Brass Chamber Music in memory of Philip Jones. The concert will showcase student Brass Ensembles from an impressive range of UK colleges and conservatoires.

James Blair conducts the Young Musicians Symphony Orchestra in a programme which includes Royal Opera Jette Parker Young Artist soprano Susana Gaspar in Strauss's Four Last Songs.

The Salomon Orchestra, one of London's finest non-professional orchestras, is giving a typically challenging and interesting programme under conductor Adrian Brown with Prokofiev's Seventh Symphony, Rachmaninov's Isle of the Dead and Britten's Sinfonia da Requiem. Prokofiev's symphony was completed just a year before his death and so chimes in thematically with the other two works in the programme.

And if you feel like having a go yourself, then the Smith Square Community Orchestra is coming back with a day devoted to Schumann's symphonies, your chance to work with professional players seated amongst the sections.

Further information from the St. John's Smith Square website (though at the time of posting the concerts were not yet in the concert diary).

Elsewhere on this blog:

1 comment:

  1. Good blog... keep-up the good work... May I share an Interview with Maria Callas (imaginary) in


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