Saturday 2 February 2013

JAM in Scotland

Judith Bingham
Judith Bingham
In February, JAM (John Armitage Memorial) is returning to Scotland with concerts in St Andrews, Edinburgh and Glasgow, visiting Glasgow for the first time. There are two programmes, one for strings done in collaboration with Red Note, one of Scotland's leading contemporary programmes, and a choral programme which combines choirs from St. Andrew's, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. The concerts will commemorate Judith Bingham's 60th birthday last year, Britten's centenary, the 20th anniversary of Kenneth Leighton's death as well as performing contemporary works by Rory Boyle, Julian Philips and Phillip Cooke.

The strings from the Red Note Ensemble will be joined by soprano Claire Seaton, counter-tenor Andrew Radley and organist Thomas Wilkinson, conductor Michael Bawtree, for a repeat of JAM's July 2012 concert at the City of London Festival when they celebrated Judith Bingham's 60th birthday with her organ concerto Jacob's Ladder and the premiere of The Hythe which JAM commissioned (see my review on this blog), plus Pergolesi's Stabat Mater. Exactly the same programme is being performed in Glasgow (19 Feburary 2013 at St Mary's Cathedral) and Edinburgh (20 February 2013 at Greyfriars Kirk). The programme, without The Hythe, is also being performed in St Andrews on 17 February 2013 but this time with the St. Andrews New Music Ensemble.

(Bingham's The Hythe has already had quite a lively existence, in addition to JAM's premiere in London they performed it in Hyde and it was also featured in the Music@Malling Festival last year.)

JAM has performed a number of Bingham's works and this loyalty to composers, giving them multiple opportunities, is a feature of the JAM brand. This is reflected in choral concerts in Scotland which include two previous JAM commissions and a new commission from a previous JAM composer. Rory Boyle's Tallis's Light and Julian Philips Body of Water will both be receiving performances, with Boyle's work being commissioned by JAM originally in 2011 and Philips in 2012. Julian Philips work is based on the experiences of a JAM trustee in swimming the Hellespont.  Phillip Cooke submitted a work to JAM's 2011 call for works, this was performed in Scotland in October 2011. As a follow up, Cooke has been commissioned to write The Hazel Wood especially for this tour.

The choral programme is completed by Benjamin Britten's brilliant Rejoice in the Lamb (written in 1943, setting words taken from Christopher Smart's Jubilate Agno and a delight for cat lovers everywhere), plus Kenneth Leighton's Drop, drop still tears (a setting of words by Phineas Fletcher, taken from Crucifixus pro nobis) and Paen (for organ solo). The performers will be Aberdeen University Chamber Choir, Edinburgh University Chamber Choir and the University of St. Andrews Chapel Choir, some 75 singers in total. They will be joined by tenor Andrew Dickinson, organist Thomas Wilkinson and brass players from the Red Note Ensemble, with conductor Michael Bawtree. The dates are as follows, 14 February 2013 - St. Andrews, 15 February 2013 - Edinburgh, 16 February 2013 - Aberdeen.

Further information and tickets from JAM's website. You can also read my interview on this blog with JAM's Ed Armitage.

Elsewhere on this blog:

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