Saturday 21 March, 7.30pm
 

Spring concert 2020

Sue Graham Smith - Piano
Léon Charles - Organ and Piano
Paula Sides - Soprano
Joseph Doody - Tenor
Jake Muffett - Baritone

The familiar opening chords of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana make a magnificent introduction to a work which encompasses all of the glory and tragedy of human life. O Fortuna is addressed to the fickle goddess of Fortune, and though the sources of these texts go back to the Middle Ages, the sentiments they express, the feelings of love, of rejection and of corruption and beauty, still have resonance today. It is no surprise, given the power of Orff’s music, that Carmina Burana remains one of the most popular and exciting pieces in the world’s choral repertoire. The version performed at this concert is scored for two pianos and percussion and was authorised by Orff himself.

The programme also includes Pange Lingua by Zoltán Kodály, based on a medieval hymn written by Thomas Aquinas. This performance is dedicated to the memory of László Heltay, the founding Music Director of BFC and pupil of Kodály, who died in December 2019.

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Sunday 19 April, 3.00pm

Royal Albert Hall, London
Great Choral Classics

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Jac van Steen
conductor
Andres Presno tenor
City of London Choir
Brighton Festival Chorus

Don’t miss the majestic sounds of monumental music for massed choirs and orchestra, filling the magnificent surroundings of the Royal Albert Hall, in this spectacular celebration of timeless choral classics. Featuring the acclaimed City of London Choir, Brighton Festival Chorus and star tenor Andres Presno.

Enjoy thrilling highlights from: Verdi’s Requiem (Sanctus), Orff’s Carmina Burana (O Fortuna), Handel’s Messiah (Hallelujah Chorus), Mozart’s Requiem (Lacrymosa) and Wagner’s Tannhäuser (Pilgrim’s Chorus), as well as Parry’s I Was Glad and Jerusalem, Arne’s Rule Britannia!, Handel’s Zadok the Priest … and much more!

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Thursday 14 May, 7.30pm

A Sea Symphony by Vaughan Williams
The Dome, Brighton

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Katherine Broderick
soprano
James Rutherford bass-baritone
Michael Seal conductor

A Sea Symphony, written between 1903 and 1909, is Vaughan Williams's first and longest symphony. It was first performed at the Leeds Festival in 1910, with the composer conducting. The symphony's maturity belies the composer's relative youth when it was written (he was 30 when he first began sketching it). It is one of the first symphonies in which a choir is used throughout the work and is an integral part of the musical texture. A Sea Symphony helped set the stage for a new era of symphonic and choral music in Britain during the first half of the 20th century.

This concert is dedicated to Laszlo Heltay (1930–2019) who founded Brighton Festival Chorus in 1967 and was Music Director for the next 27 years. 

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Friday 22 May, 8.00pm

Sun Rings by Terry Riley
The Dome, Brighton

Kronos Quartet

Sun Rings incorporates music sounds harvested from space as NASA’s Voyager probes hurtled past Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Composer Terry Riley wove the chatterings, howlings and chirrupings into a truly groundbreaking work for string quartet and chorus in which his own hypnotic, multi-layered and brightly orchestrated soundworld takes on new dimensions and unearthly resonance.

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Saturday, 18 July

Summer concert

More details soon!

"Celebrating their fiftieth anniversary, and joined by the orchestra who helped set them on their path to sustained national acclaim in 1968, the Brighton Festival Chorus and the Royal Philharmonic prove themselves to be a world-class pairing delivering a spectacular, rousing finale to this year’s festival."
Walton - Belshazzar's Feast
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Richard Armstrong
BN1 magazine

"From the opening moments to the final breath this was a stirring musical experience, delicate at times and thunderously oppressive at others - the entire ensemble committed to the whole in a beautifully cohesive performance that never flagged and has us on the edge of our seats."
Britten - War Requiem
Britten Sinfonia
Orchestre de Picardie
Arie van Beek
Latest7 magazine

"Brighton Festival Chorus were on absolutely top form, again delicate when required but thunderously powerful too, once again proving them to be a choral ensemble of real quality."
Elgar - The Dream of Gerontius
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Edward Gardner
Latest7 magazine

"The Festival Chorus under James Morgan, singing without scores, managed huge sounds and whispered echoes with consummate skill. England may not think itself a Christian country, but the packed and rapturous audience in the Dome were responding to something spiritual beyond mortal understanding."
Elgar - The Dream of Gerontius
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Edward Gardner
The Argus

"The wall of sound that is Vaughan Williams’ monumental Sea Symphony provided a thrilling climax, with soloists Elin Pritchard (soprano) and Nicholas Lester (baritone) soaring magnificently over a very energised and responsive Brighton Festival Chorus."
Barry Wordsworth
Latest7 magazine

"The brilliantly executed Sea Symphony of Vaughan Williams ..."
"The magnificent swell of music in the Vaughan Williams piece meant most of the words merged into a seamless seascape of sound conjured between the excellent Brighton Festival Chorus and the expressive orchestra. The choir lapped gently one moment, then sent powerful waves crashing to shore."
Barry Wordsworth
The Argus

"Brighton Festival Chorus are always impressive but for this anniversary performance they pulled out all the stops. Bach’s complex score, peppered with contrapuntal lines and soaring solos is a tough ask and for their 500th anniversary they performed it without scores, a feat in itself. A feat however only worthwhile if you get it right – and this they did. Driven skillfully by conductor James Morgan and the Chamber Domaine this was a memorable afternoon of sublime music. It is in performances of this calibre that one sees why the Brighton Festival Chorus has such an impressive international reputation and for that I salute them."
J S Bach: St John Passion (Brighton Dome)
James Morgan
Latest7 magazine

"The evening's programme drew to a close with the intense neo-classicism of Stravinsky's short but intense Symphony of Psalms. In both sets of psalms, we were treated to the full glory of the Brighton Festival Chorus, swinging and even barking as required in the Bernstein; and bringing hushed dignity and poise to the Stravinsky. How appropriate that in this, the closing large-scale concert of this year's Brighton Festival, the laurels should belong to this excellent ensemble, whose reputation and renown, deservedly, continue to bring pride to the city."
Leonard Bernstein: Chichester Psalms (Brighton Dome)
Igor Stravinsky: Symphony of Psalms
John Wilson
The Argus