Showing posts with label concerts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label concerts. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Concert for Ukraine

Sunday 17 July 2022, 4:30 pm 
Dunedin Town Hall 
presented by City Choir Dunedin

This Ukraine benefit concert was initiated by a number of concerned residents who wanted to respond to the unfolding humanitarian crisis. 

The Cellists of Otago, Café Operana and other artists, together with City Choir Dunedin and the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra, are donating their talent and time for the people of the Ukraine. 

Life in Ukraine is being turned upside down by war, leaving millions of people in need of urgent help, some without access to food, water and other essential supplies. Roads and bridges have been left impassable and the health system is crumbling as hospitals begin to run out of medicine, and electricity is cut off. 

Over six million Ukrainians have crossed the border to take refuge in neighbouring countries, with no knowledge of when, or if, they will return home. It is estimated a further eight million Ukrainians have been internally displaced. 

The New Zealand Red Cross will assist City Choir at the concert, collecting koha, donations and by selling merchandise and raffle tickets. Red Cross Otago will deposit all funds and forward 100% to the Red Cross in Ukraine. 

Free admission, koha appreciated.

Friday, November 12, 2021

Handel's Messiah - the greatest story ever sung

Handel's Messiah - the greatest story ever sung
Tuesday 7 December 2021, 7:30 pm
Dunedin Town Hall

Handel’s Messiah is heard around the world during the Christmas season, being greatly appreciated, admired and enjoyed. City Choir Dunedin, accompanied by the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra and conducted by David Burchell, is pleased to perform this oratorio. The acclaimed soloists are: Lois Johnston (soprano), Claire Barton (alto), Oliver Sewell (tenor), and Paul Whelan (bass).
Many concerts and other events had to be cancelled since COVID-19 restrictions came into force, leaving music-lovers yearning for live performances. But, Hallelujah!, the Dunedin public can embrace this opportunity to experience a world-class delivery of the dramatic and passionate Messiah.

We fully expect that this performance of Messiah on Tuesday 7 December in the Town Hall will be able to proceed, albeit with greatly reduced seating capacity as required for social distancing. 

General admission tickets are now on sale via Ticketmaster online and at the Regent box office. To avoid disappointment we urge the public to buy their tickets in advance. We hope to see you there!

Handel began composing Messiah on August 22, 1741, and completed it twenty-four days later. The scholar Clifford Bartlett writes, “But, however hasty the composition, the power of the musical imagination, the wealth of ideas, the depth of inspiration, and the sheer variety of invention continue to astonish.”

Messiah is unique among Handel's oratorios in its New Testament subject and reflective treatment. It has been described as a 'collection' taken from the Bible and the Prayer Book Psalter, and is a mixture of narrative and commentary. This freed Handel from some of the more restrictive opera conventions and permitted greater use of the chorus than is generally the case in his other oratorios. Messiah is Handel's most famous work and its ubiquity has outreached anything Handel could ever have envisaged.

Saturday, August 7, 2021

Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle

Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle.

Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle
presented by City Choir Dunedin
Saturday 2 October 2021, 7:30 pm
Knox Church, Dunedin.


Three great things were made in 1863: a choral masterpiece, City Choir Dunedin and a harmonium; three great things brought together in a single performance.

City Choir Dunedin is pleased to announce a performance of Gioachino Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle. From 1863 to today, this masterpiece of whimsy and joy is as fresh as ever. In style the work is essential Rossini: playful and decorative. The emphasis is on beautiful vocal melody and the composition is punctuated by extravagant gestures which at times verge on the comical.

The soloists for this delightful oratorio are Rebecca Ryan, Claire Barton, Jared Holt and Federico Freschi. David Burchell directs and conducts the performance.

The singers are accompanied by an unusual chamber-sized ensemble: two grand pianos played by John van Buskirk and Sandra Crawshaw, and Ron Newton on the harmonium. The brighter tone of the harmonium provides pseudo-orchestral colour and sustained harmonic support to the singers, in contrast to the often-brittle figuration in the piano parts.

Remarkably we are using a French harmonium made in Paris in 1863, the year in which Petite Messe Solennelle was composed. City Choir Dunedin was established in 1863, 158 years ago!

The harmonium, also called a reed organ, is a free-reed keyboard instrument that has no pipes. Pitch is determined by the size of the reed while separate sets of reeds provide different tone colours. The quality of the sound is determined by the size and shape of the tone chamber surrounding each reed of a given set. The harmonium was a popular church and household instrument until the electronic organ drove it from the market after the 1930s.

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear a live performance of Petite Messe Solennelle; it is neither small, nor solemn!

Monday, April 5, 2021

Applaud! Women in Music

Applaud! Women in Music 

Saturday 29 May 7:30 pm                                            
Knox Church

We celebrate the contribution of women to choral music, as symbolised by St Cecilia, the patron saint of music. She was a noble lady of Rome around 230 AD who, despite her vow of virginity, was forced by her parents to marry a pagan nobleman named Valerian. During the wedding Cecilia sat apart singing to God in her heart. She was later declared the saint of musicians.

The programme includes works by Marianna Martines (Austria), Cécile Chaminade (France), Tamsin Jones (United Kingdom), Rosephanye Powell (America), and New Zealander Felicia Edgecombe. Also included is Benjamin Britten’s Hymn to St Cecilia.
The choir will be joined by soloists Olivia Pike (soprano), Tessa Romano (mezzo-soprano) and Benjamin Madden (tenor), all local Dunedin artists. Sandra Crawshaw, lauded for her excellence on the piano, will provide the accompaniment. Other musicians on flute, oboe, clarinet and organ will add to the riches of this production. David Burchell will provide musical direction and conduct the performance.

Highlights on the programme:

Marianna Martines (1744–1812), was a singer, pianist and composer of the classical period. Little known today, Marianna Martines was an acclaimed composer in her lifetime who influenced Mozart. Growing up, she took music lessons from a young, struggling composer who rented the attic of her family’s Vienna home. His name was Joseph Haydn. Already as a child she was good enough to perform before the imperial court. "Laudate Pueri Dominum" is a psalm by Mattei that Martines set to music. As befits the text, Marianna’s setting of Psalm 112 is a joyful, energetic work.

Benjamin Britten (1913–1976) composed "Hymn to St Cecilia", a work that is as easy to love as it is to admire. Throughout the hymn it is as if we are floating in the heavens, swooping down towards earth occasionally but then rising up again on the breeze – Britten’s music really is that wondrous and weightless. Small wonder that many Britten conductors count this hymn among their favourites of the composer’s works. The hymn was given its first (radio) performance in 1942.

Felicia Edgecombe (b. 1945), teacher, song-writer and musician, was born in Napier and educated at Tauranga Girls’ College, then later at Auckland University, studying English and Music for a BA degree. She has taught in secondary schools in Auckland and Wellington, serving as Head of Music at Queen Margaret College for many years. She is currently the musical director of the Capital Choir in Wellington. Extensively involved with choirs and church music, she has written many wide-ranging songs. "Shaky Places" is a set of 14 songs for mixed-voice choir, set to poems by various New Zealand poets. It is a collection of quintessential New Zealand experiences including the natural world, puzzles of identity and the Christchurch earthquakes. The individual songs range from powerful and profound to good humoured, witty and evocative.

Friday, January 1, 2021

2021 Concert Season

Celebrating 2021! 

Saturday 20 February 7:30 pm
Dunedin Town Hall

KENNETH YOUNG, conductor

This concert, presented by the DSO, will feature two of New Zealand’s acclaimed opera superstars, Simon O’Neill and Anna Leese, in a programme of highlights from: Bizet’s ‘Carmen’, Beethoven’s ‘Fidelio’, Mozart’s ‘Idomeneo’ and Verdi’s ‘Otello’. Simon O’Neill and Anna Leese will be joined by soprano Rhiannon Cooper from the University of Otago, City Choir Dunedin, and leading New Zealand conductor Kenneth Young.

Beethoven's Big Bash 

Wednesday 14 April 7:00 pm
Dunedin Town Hall

Hear a feast of Beethoven’s most popular music performed by Dunedin’s talented musicians. A highlight will be Beethoven’s famous ‘Ode to Joy’ as you have never heard it before! The DSO will be joined by musicians and choir singers of all ages and skills levels who love Beethoven and keen to be part of our glorious community play-in concert – Beethoven’s Big Bash. For this special event, community and student instrumentalists and singers will work together with their DSO and City Choir Dunedin counterparts to create a mass community orchestra and choir performing selected extracts from the final movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. These extracts have been specially arranged for players of different skill levels so that everyone can join in. Presented in collaboration with Dunedin Arts Festival.

Applaud! Women in Music 

Saturday 29 May 7:30 pm
Knox Church

SOLOISTS: Olivia Pike (soprano), Tessa Romano (mezzo-soprano), Benjamin Madden (tenor)
PIANIST: Sandra Crawshaw

City Choir Dunedin celebrates the contribution to music made by women, sometimes under very difficult circumstances. The programme includes Benjamin Britten’s Hymn to St Cecilia, the patron saint of music. Works by women composers range from the Romantic era – Marianna Martines – to contemporary songs by Rosephanye Powell and New Zealand’s own Felicia Edgecombe. Mrs Edgecombe’s song cycle Shaky Places was first performed in 2015, to wide appeal. 

Ode to Joy 

Saturday 12 June 7:30 pm
Dunedin Town Hall

Regarded as one of the supreme achievements in the history of Western music, Beethoven’s Ninth is one of the most performed symphonies around the world. Based on Schiller’s poem ‘Ode to Joy’, it finishes with a celebration of the unity and dignity of human kind, a theme as relevant today as it was in 1824 when Beethoven wrote the symphony. Marshalling the musicians will be conductor Kenneth Young who is one of New Zealand’s leading conductors and also the University of Otago’s 2021 Mozart Fellow. Dunedin audiences have the rare opportunity to hear New Zealanders, Simon O’Neill and Jonathan Lemalu, both of whom have prestigious international careers. Joining them for the special occasion are soprano Amanda Atlas and mezzo-soprano Katie Trigg, two of NZ’s rising stars joined by City Choir Dunedin.

Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle 

Saturday 2 October 7:30 pm
Knox Church


SOLOISTS: Rebecca Ryan (soprano), Claire Barton (alto), Jared Holt (tenor), Federico Freschi (bass)
MUSICIANS: John van Buskirk (piano), Sandra Crawshaw (piano), Ron Newton (harmonium)

Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868) referred to his Petite Messe Solennelle as the 'last mortal sin of my old age'. Written in 1863 for the Countess Louise Pillet-Will and first performed on 14 March 1864 at the consecration of the Countess' private chapel, the mass is one of Rossini's finest achievements and the outstanding work of his 'retirement'. This magnificent masterpiece of whimsy and joy is neither small, nor solemn!

Handel's Messiah 

Tuesday 7 December 7:30 pm
Dunedin Town Hall

SOLOISTS: Lois Johnston (soprano), Claire Barton (alto), Oliver Sewell (tenor), and Paul Whelan (bass)

Handel’s Messiah is heard around the world during the Christmas season, being greatly appreciated, admired and enjoyed. City Choir Dunedin with soloists and the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra, conducted by David Burchell, are pleased to again perform this dramatic and passionate work.

Christmas Carols @ Otago Museum

Sunday 19 December 2:00 pm
Otago Museum

MARK ANDERSON, assistant conductor

City Choir Dunedin presents an hour-long programme of Christmas music for the festive season. Come along to this free performance (koha appreciated) and be touched by the spirit of Christmas at this time of joy and reflection. 
Accompanists: Roland Storm and David Burchell

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Grief to Joy, Music for Easter

Grief to Joy, Music for Easter
Saturday 7 April 2018, 7:30 pm
Knox Church, 449 George Street, Dunedin

CLAIRE BARTON, mezzo-soprano
DSO ensemble

City Choir presented music to celebrate the hope and renewal that is the promise of Easter.

We welcomed the Main Street Singers from Los Altos, California, and their director and conductor, Mark Andrew Shaull. The Main Street Singers contributed a selection of choral music to the programme. Currently celebrating the ensemble's Thirty Third Anniversary Season, the Main Street Singers continues to perform a wide variety of works, ranging from Renaissance to Contemporary. The acclaimed group's accomplishments have been earmarked by consistently high caliber of repertoire, performed with expressive skill and musical nuance. 
Main Street Singers

City Choir Dunedin performed three works:

Bach's Erfreut euch, ihr Herzen (Rejoice, your hearts) is a cantata composed for the second day of Easter, and first performed in 1724. Bach structured the cantata in six movements, an exuberant choral opening, a set of recitative and aria for bass, another such set for alto and tenor, and a closing chorale taken from the medieval Easter hymn Christ ist erstanden. The music expresses moods of mourning and fear which should be overcome, but especially exhilarating joy. A string ensemble from the DSO will join the organ for this work.

Guiseppe Verdi's Stabat Mater (1896) is a 13th-century Catholic hymn to Mary, which portrays her anguish and suffering as Jesus Christ's mother during his crucifixion. Verdi used his operatic skills to set the drama of Christ's crucifixion, mirroring the words with the full chorus thundering anger at the crucifixion. The mood changes at the end where the high voices sing an ascending pattern in the sublime closing Paradisi gloria.

Lo, the full, final sacrifice is a festival anthem for choir and organ, composed by Gerald Finzi in 1946. The anthem's text memorializes the celebration of the Eucharist. Regarded as some of Finzi's finest music, the expressive lines, colourful accompaniment and dramatic choral writing make this a great favourite in the choral repertoire. The first chorus entry has been described as 'magical', and the closing eight-part Amen is one of the most remarkable and poignant pieces of choral writing of its period.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Christmas Oratorio in December

Christmas Oratorio

Friday 16 December 2016, 7:30 pm
Dunedin Town Hall

SOLOISTS  Lois Johnston (soprano), Claire Barton (mezzo-soprano), Iain Tetley (tenor), Robert Tucker (bass)

JS Bach: Christmas Oratorio

Bach’s Christmas Oratorio is a cycle of cantatas unified by the Christmas story and was first performed over six days (the first three days of Christmas, New Year’s Day, Sunday after New Year and the Feast of the Epiphany) in 1734/5. Like the St. Matthew Passion and St. John Passion, an Evangelist narrates this work.

From the splendid opening chorus of the first cantata, to the final chorale and trumpet fanfare the music takes the listener through a range of emotions from praise, joy and adoration to rage, fear and, finally, glory.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Theresienmesse & Magnificat in July

Theresienmesse & Magnificat

Sunday 3 July 3:00 pm
Dunedin Town Hall

Soloists: Rebecca Ryan (soprano), Claire Barton (mezzo-soprano), James Adams (tenor), Matthew Landreth (bass)

FJ Haydn: Theresienmesse
CPE Bach: Magnificat

Haydn's Theresienmesse was composed late in his life, after his final ‘London’ symphonies, and a year after he completed both The Creation and the Missa in Angustiis or ‘Nelson Mass’, and it possesses similar qualities of tunefulness, variety, rhythmic energy, contrapuntal skill and colourful orchestration. It is a joyful festive work, written to celebrate the name-day of the wife of his patron Prince Esterhazy, and to demonstrate the high status of the Prince’s court at a time when Haydn was at the peak of his fame and creative powers.

Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bachʼs Magnificat is an extended setting of the Hymn of Mary, which is an integral part of the service of Vespers in both the Roman Catholic and Lutheran church. Composed for a festal occasion, this is an exuberant and tuneful work, with extended virtuosic and dramatic arias for each of the four soloists. It was his first major choral work, and was clearly inspired by his father Johann Sebastian’s setting of the same text; Bach returned to the work towards the end of his life, enhancing the orchestration and performing it several times.

Tickets are now on sale!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Mozart Requiem in March

Saturday 28 March, 7:30 pm
Knox Church

Conductor: David Burchell
Soloists: Lois Johnston, Claire Barton, Matthew Wilson, Robert Tucker
City Choir Dunedin
Southern Sinfonia

Schubert’s Stabat Mater (D.383)

The Stabat Mater is an ancient Latin hymn which meditates on the suffering of Christ’s mother Mary at his crucifixion. Schubert’s setting, in German translation, is relatively little-known; it has never been performed by City Choir Dunedin, and as far as is known, it has never been performed in Dunedin.

Schubert’s Stabat Mater was completed on 22 February 1816, a significant milestone in the composer’s maturation. In the period of 1815-1816, a time of serious introspection for Schubert, his songs first confronted death as subject matter. The “true” Schubert – with his mastery of orchestral colour and great gift for melody – is much apparent. A work of striking contrasts, the “Stabat Mater” begins with a portentously slow orchestral and choral movement that sets an appropriately tragic tone for the expected subject matter. Thereafter, every subsequent movement holds a musical or textural surprise and the generally upbeat movements towards the end portray a collective optimism that would seem to be at odds with their serious subject.

Mozart’s Requiem

The Requiem is a Mass for the dead, offered for the repose of the soul. Mozart’s setting, left unfinished at his death, was not the result of any known commission, in an age where composition without specific purpose was unusual. This circumstance sparked the romantic myth that it foreshadowed his own death; an idea which has enhanced its popularity, further fuelled and popularised by the film Amadeus. Many attempts have been made to complete the work; the version used by City Choir Dunedin in this concert was completed by Mozart’s pupil Süssmayr in 1791. Myths aside, its own merits ensure that Mozart’s Requiem continues to be one of the most frequently performed works in the classical choral repertoire.

Together these two works form an exquisite interpretation of the events which culminate in the Easter story. While the subject matter is tragic, both composers succeed in providing an uplifting experience ending in optimism and the peace of perfect consolation.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Mass of the Children, Saturday 26 July, Knox Church

City Choir Dunedin 
Columba Junior Madrigal Choir 
Southern Sinfonia ensemble 
Soloists: Cathy Sim, Calla Knudson-Hollebon, Clinton Fung, Peter Wigglesworth, James Burchell
Conductor: David Burchell 

Saturday 26 July 2014, 7:30 pm 

Knox Church 449 George Street, Dunedin 

This concert, conducted by David Burchell, celebrates works by the twentieth century composers John Rutter, Benjamin Britten and New Zealander David Hamilton. The Southern Sinfonia will accompany the Choir, Columba Junior Madrigal Choir will provide children’s voices and young voice students will be given the opportunity to perform in public with a massed choir and professional orchestra.

“Mass of the Children” is, unquestionably, John Rutter's most magnificent, powerful and emotional composition. Described as “absolutely breathtaking”, it is Rutter at his best. It has the added beautiful element of a children's chorus and the exquisite blending of children and adult voices in Rutter's wonderfully mesmerizing writing. Composed in 2003, two years after the tragic death of his young son, and thought to be Rutter’s way of paying tribute to his son, this work is full of promise. It is exciting and engaging. The soaring vocal lines of the combined choirs in the final movement are positively chilling!

Also on the programme are Benjamin Britten's “Rejoice in the Lamb”, or Festival Cantata, contemporary compositions by David Hamilton, “Dance-Song to the Creator” and "Three Spirituals". These works will combine to create a musical pallet which will be contemporary, dramatic and romantic.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Concert posters from the archives

Here's a selection of City of Dunedin Choir concert posters from as early as 1952 - enjoy!
(Click the poster below to launch the album.)

Concert Posters

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Magpie, Song and Dance

Photo: Paul Hogan
Magpie, Song & Dance concert on Saturday 26 May 2012, 7:30 pm at Knox Church.

We invite you to enjoy this performance!

The City of Dunedin Choir and the Dunedin Youth Orchestra, conducted by David Burchell, are pleased to present a concert of romantic music ranging from somewhat melancholy to excitingly vibrant moods and soaring melodies.

The programme will include Rossini's Thieving Magpie, Brahms' Song of Destiny, Borodin's Polovetsian Dances (from Prince Igor), Sibelius' Karelia Suite, and Mozart's Concerto in A for Clarinet with young soloist Nicole Batchelar, who is now in her third year of a B.Mus. focusing on conducting and composition.

Her performance instrument is the clarinet, which she has been playing for over ten years. In 2011 Nicole started teaching clarinet at Saturday Morning Music Classes, where she also assists with conducting the Junior Symphonia, with Aart Brusse. In the same year she had an opportunity to conduct her own composition, The Quake, with the Dunedin Youth Orchestra.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Half a dozen soloists

We are getting really excited now about the next City of Dunedin Choir concert -  
Beauty of Baroque 
Rehearsals started last Tuesday and straight away we made a huge dent in the Handel Utrecht Te Deum. Sounding so powerful - what a big sound! Handel certainly knew how to compose a good tune. We also took a wee bite from the Bach Magnificat - how grand!

The soloists have now all been signed up for this concert - a wonderful line-up:

Pepe Becker (soprano)
Grace Park (soprano)
Amanda Cole (mezzo-soprano)
Christopher John Clifford (countertenor)
Stephen Chambers (tenor)
Julien van Mellaerts (bass)               Read more about his concert and mark the date in your diary!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Monumental Mass from Bach

J.S. Bach
The Mass in B minor (BWV 232) is a musical setting of the complete Latin Mass by Johann Sebastian Bach. The work was one of Bach's last, although much of it was made of music that Bach had composed earlier. Bach assembled the Mass in its present form in 1749, just before his death in 1750.

It was unusual for composers working in the Lutheran tradition to compose a Missa tota (complete mass) and Bach's motivations remain a matter of scholarly debate. The Mass was most probably never performed in totality during Bach's lifetime, and the work largely disappeared in the 18th century. Several performances in the early 19th century, however, sparked a revival both of the piece and the larger rediscovery of Bach's music. Today, it is widely hailed as a monumental work of the late Baroque and is frequently performed.

Bach did not give the work a title; instead, in the score four parts of the Latin Mass are each given their own title page - "Kyrie", "Gloria", "Symbolum Nicaenum" (the profession of faith or Credo), and "Sanctus, Hosanna, Benedictus, Agnus Dei" - and simply bundled together. Indeed, the different sections call for different numbers and arrangements of performers, giving rise to the theory that Bach did not ever expect the two-hour-long work to be performed in its entirety. On the other hand, the parts in the manuscript are numbered from 1 to 4, and Bach's usual closing formula (S.D.G = Soli Deo Gloria) is only found at the end of the Dona Nobis Pacem.

The Mass in B minor is widely regarded as one of the supreme achievements of classical music. In the booklet to the recording of "The 'Great Mass' in B minor" by Philippe Herreweghe and Collegium Vocale Gent (released from Harmonia Mundi, HML5901614.15, 1999) Alberto Basso summarizes the work as follows:

"The Mass in B minor is the consecration of a whole life: started in 1733 for 'diplomatic' reasons, it was finished in the very last years of Bach's life, when he had already gone blind. This monumental work is a synthesis of every stylistic and technical contribution the Cantor of Leipzig made to music. But it is also the most astounding spiritual encounter between the worlds of Catholic glorification and the Lutheran cult of the cross.".

Source: Wikipedia

City of Dunedin Choir will be performing this monumental mass on 16 April 2011 - mark this date in your diary and keep an eye on our Concerts page for details as these unfold.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Programme for Faure Concert

Here is the programme (in order) of the works that the City of Dunedin Choir will perform on Sunday 13 June 2010, 3:00 pm in St Paul's Cathedral.
(There will be no interval.)

Laudate Dominum – Marcel Dupré (1886 – 1971)

Calme des nuits – Camille Saint-Saëns (1835 – 1921)
Les fleurs et les arbres – Camille Saint-Saëns

Madrigal – Gabriel Fauré (1845 – 1924)

Ave Maria – Camille Saint-Saëns
Maria, Mater gratiae – Gabriel Fauré
Tantum ergo – Gabriel Fauré

Quatre petites prières de Saint François s’Assise – Francis Poulenc (1899 – 1963)
   i Salut, Dame Sainte
   ii Tout puissant, très saint
   iii Seigneur, je vous en prie
   iv O mes très chers frères

Cantique de Jean Racine – Gabriel Fauré

Variations sur un thème de Clement Jannequin – Jehan Alain (1911 – 1940)
David Burchell – Organ

Requiem – Gabriel Fauré
   i Introit and Kyrie
   ii Offertorium
   iii Sanctus
   iv Pie Jesu
   v Agnus Dei
   vi Libera me
   vii In paradisum

Tickets are on sale now - please visit the City of Dunedin Choir website for further information. Don't miss this lovely concert - see you there!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Frances Hodgkins the musical ...

Well for my money it was a jolly good concert.

I had seen a 'creature' wandering around the auditorium during the dress rehearsal, she looked as though she was on day release from the local funny farm. Being VERY slow on the uptake it did not occur to me that the large floral print dress, red high heel shoes, bright blue tights and fruit-laden hat were part of the performance: of course, it was Rima Te Wiata, as Frances Hodgkins. All was made clear during the second-half as she read a script based on Frances's letters ostensibly to her mother, which was interspersed with orchestral pieces from the pen of Anthony Ritchie.

Our part in the first part of the first half went off without a hitch, we altos came in on the 'Peace ho' bit and saw Marc smiling when he brought in Deborah on the 'Come ho' bit - there'd been some amusement from him during rehearsals - something to do with his Americanised interpretation of Shakespeare. Never mind, I guess you had to be there.

We enjoyed ourselves, and according to my supprtive chums in the audience they did too.

I am now a complete fan of Ralph Vaughan Williams after two concerts in a row featuring his work.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Southern Stars

Deborah Wai Kapohe.Hot on the heels of the Proms concert, with only three weeks to rehearse, we are ready for the Southern Stars concert! I think the little bit of pressure was a good thing - everyone must have done their homework because you know what? We've been sounding really good during the last two rehearsals. Yes, there was some polishing to do, but on the whole you could see David was happy. Marc Taddei was quite pleased too when he heard us on Tuesday this week.

So come along one and all and get your friends to come too - this concert, presented by the Southern Sinfonia, is going to be a smash hit!

Southern Stars - Celebrating the Life, Times and Works of Frances Hodgkins
Saturday 21 March 2009 8:00pm, Dunedin Town Hall
(As part of the Dunedin Heritage Festival)

Featuring Rima Te Wiata and Deborah Wai Kapohe, with Marc Taddei, Conductor, and City of Dunedin Choir

* Anthony Ritchie: A Portrait of Frances Hodgkins (World Premiere, commissioned by Southern Sinfonia)

* A presentation of Frances Hodgkins's life by Rima Te Wiata (script by Catherine Chidgey), and arias and choruses from countries where Frances Hodgkins lived and performed, by Deborah Wai Kapohe and the City of Dunedin Choir.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Concert on 22 November: Christmas Oratorio

Stained glass window.Don't miss the performance of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio on Saturday 22 November, at 7:30pm in the Dunedin Town Hall.

Conductor: David Burchell
* Nicola Edgecombe (soprano)
* Kate Spence (mezzo soprano)
* John Murray (tenor)
* Chris Bruerton (bass)

supported by the Southern Sinfonia

Unlike his Passion settings and the oratorios of his contemporary, Handel, Bach conceived the Christmas Oratorio as a set of six cantatas to be performed on separate days over the Twelve Days of Christmas, beginning on Christmas Day and ending on Epiphany (January 6).

As with his Passion settings, the Evangelist (tenor soloist) carries the narrative, using familiar Gospel texts. The other soloists perform dramatic roles, such as the Angel and Herod, and also sing arias which reflect on the significance of the story.
The chorus contributes the parts of 'the heavenly host', the shepherds and the Wise Men, as well as chorales and extended choruses which are the corner stones of the cantatas.

A little bit of history...

Our archives show that we have performed this work only twice before. Looking at the dates it seems there is a performance roughly once in every generation, so be sure not to miss this opportunity!

12 November 1968, at John McGlashan Chapel, with Judith Galloway (soprano), Ruth Harman (alto), Ross Mayhew (tenor), Maurice Taylor (bass), with the Dunedin Civic Orchestra and conductor Peter Platt.

3 December 1985, in the Dunedin Town Hall with Ainslie Bannister (soprano), Rosemary Turnbull (alto), Anthony Benfell (tenor), Roger Wilson (bass), Vivienne McLean (harpsichord), with the Dunedin Sinfonia and conducted by Ray White.

Don't miss this wonderful music! Tickets are on sale now at Ticketek at the Regent in Dunedin, or online.

Visit and join our Concert Watch e-list.

After the concert, please feel free to leave your comments here. Tell us what you thought of the performance, we'd love to hear from you!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Punch Cartoon

'Stop! Stop! Stop! There's somebody at the back there not concentrating.'
Artist: Pont (Graham Laidler)
Published: 9 October 1935

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Renaissance Choral Extravaganza - Review

I attended a combined choral concert on Saturday night.

Southern Consort and St Paul's Cathedral Choir joined forced to put on a Renaissance Choral Extravaganza. Yay! The choirs also invited friends along to make up numbers, some of whom were from City of Dunedin Choir.

It was great fun, and an excellent concert. Some of my favourite composers were featured (Palestrina, Gabrieli), and some of the pieces were quite well-known to me - in particular Pitoni's Cantate Domino, which one of my old choirs used to sing as a "Landspeed Record" at the pub (our record stands at about 25 seconds start to finish).

The highlight of the evening was, of course, Tallis' Spem in Alium. This forty part motet was composed about 500 years ago as a beer bet - sort of like the Book of Job, except the victims are choristers, and the heckler is Tallis instead of the guy with the pointy tail.

The piece is actually performed pretty regularly despite the fact that it is a bugger to stage, organise and conduct, let alone actually sing. I've sung it in a choir of about 80, and that was pretty hard with two people per part (more or less), but Saturday's performance had just under 50 singers listed in the programme, which means that most of the choristers were holding their own part with no backup. That's tough, unless you're used to doing it, and even then it's tough with something like Spem.

I'll start by saying they did really well, and the piece sounded as it was supposed to. You may think I'm being a harsh critic, but for the piece to sound correct is actually no small achievement.

Spem was tuneful, the main entries appeared on cue, and poor David was so busy waving his arms about I think he deserves a week off to recover! I was reminded of Henry The Octopus more than once :-) If you think singing your own part by yourself is hard, try following a score with 40 voice parts, and cueing 8 choirs to come in on time! Augh! David, I bow in your tentacly presence.

The beauty of Spem, which is completely lost on recordings of course, is the fact that the sound swells and falls, and moves around the room. Forget your stereophonic headphones, baby, this is the real deal. It's a total mindblow, and great fun as you watch the expressions on the choristers, as they are either completely drawn in concentration, uplifted in choral orgasm, or frozen in WTF-where-on-earth-am-I-I-hope-Mum-doesn't-notice-I'm-completely-lost panic.

All in all, the choristers performed admirably. Highlights of the concert - apart from Spem - were the Gabrieli Gloria (all choristers), the Pitoni Cantate Domino (Southern Consort - although I think they should have tried for a Landspeed Record!), When David Heard (St Paul's Choir) and the Monteverdi Laudate Dominum (all choristers). In between choral works, the organ was used to great effect, and all of it was good - I can't think of a standout.

Combining Choirs

I come from the Intervarsity Choral Tradition, so I'm a bit biased, but I do think that combining choirs is a wonderful thing to do, and should be done more. In the case of this concert, it enabled two smaller choirs to tackle some rather challenging works, and in most cases it can cut costs and increase audience numbers - benefits at both ends when making ends meet is increasingly difficult for choirs to achieve.

I really enjoyed being in the audience for a change. Usually I'm up on stage, and it was nice to be able to sit, relax, and appreciate other people's work!

Everyone involved did themselves proud, and the concert was a great success. I pity anyone who missed it - I don't know when Spem will be performed next in Dunedin, but it may be a while.

Credit where Credit is Due

Finally, I'm going to give a big thankyou to a person whose hard work is seldom noticed or appreciated, but who I know is reading this review - a close friend and the godfather of my kids, Philip Legge. Philip put the part scores for Spem In Alium together on the Choral Public Domain Library. It was sheer coincidence that Michael (my husband) noticed the Spem part scores the choir were using were Philip's own.

Philip puts in a massive amount of hours of work on the CPDL as a volunteer, and it is because of the labours of people like him, who work because of their sheer love of music, that choristers and audience alike can enjoy performances such as the one we appreciated on Saturday night.

Philip is a great and incredibly talented bloke. Thanks Philip - we loves yous!