Summer is with us, and we want to invite you to our annual summer concert at All Saints Church in Odiham, Hampshire with strawberries and wine or soft drinks.
This programme is a little different to our usual larger works and has been especially chosen for a summer evening in a village church.
Chichester Psalms by Leonard Bernstein
Commissioned for the 1965 Chichester Festival and first performed in the UK on 31 July 1965. When the Dean of Chichester Cathedral wrote to Bernstein he added "Many of us would be very grateful if there was a hint of West Side Story about the music" You will need to judge for yourself if Bernstein took any notice of that request.
See below for our music director's special association with this UK premiere
Songs and Sonnets, music by George Shearing and words by William Shakespeare.
Shearing writes in his notes accompanying the score: "Some fifteen years ago, William Shakespeare and I brought forth a series of pieces for choir, jazz piano and bass entitled Music to Hear. Because the efforts of the Shakespeare/Shearing team seemed to be received with enthusiasm ....AND because we enjoyed working together so much, we thought we would give it another go. Mr Shakespeare dug around his trunk and came up with seven more songs with this collection entitled Songs and Sonnets... " We in the choir certainly think the Shakespeare/Shearing duo have produced a lovely set of songs.
Birthday Madrigals by John Rutter
As explained in Rutter's notes, This collection was written to celebrate the seventy-fifth birthday of the great jazz pianist George Shearing who was a personal friend of Rutter and a devotee of choral music, which explains the name. The texts come from the era of the Elizabethan madrigal, two of which are by Shakespeare, The style of the music is influenced by jazz but is fundamentally derived from the tradition of the English madrigal itself and its descendant, the part-song.
Clair de lune by Claude Debussy
Debussy began work on Clair de Lune (French for Moonlight) in 1890 when he was 28 but felt it did not suit his "modern" style, so it was not until 1905 that it was finally published as the 3rd movement of his Suite Bergamasque. It must be one of the most famous works of all time and ideal for a summer evening.
David Gibson (our Music Director) and his special link to the Chichester Psalms
BCS is privileged to learn this piece under the guidance of David because of the special insight he gained both from working with Bernstein and continuing to teach this work over a lifetime in music
This film from the BBC archives tells the story.