Symfunny No. 2
We have just taken part in Symfunny No. 2, a second charity concert presented by Parkinson's UK. The aim of the event, which took place in the Royal Albert Hall, was to raise awareness of Parkinson's, the progressive neurological condition, and to raise money to continue the research to try to find a cure for the disease.
Hosting the evening was stand-up comedian and star of the West End's Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Jason Manford. Guest performers included Katie Melua, Pete Townshend, Aled Jones, Josh Widdicombe, Agnes Brown (from Mrs. Brown's Boys), and Jack Dee with BBC Radio 4's I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue team.
The evening was nearly sold out and, judging by the audience reaction, was a big success. You can read a review in the Evening Standard.
Brighton Festival Closing Concert
We are delighted to be performing John Adams' great choral masterpiece, Harmonium, once again. We last performed it it the 2009 Festival.
John Adams (born 1947) is an American composer of classical music and opera, with strong roots in minimalism. Harmonium was his first major orchestral commission (from the San Francisco Symphony) and the first time he had written for choir. It was first performed in 1981, and turned out to be his breakthrough piece.
The first movement is a setting of the poem "Negative Love" by the 17th century English poet, John Donne. The second movement is a setting of the poem "Because I Could not Stop for Death" by Emily Dickinson, the 19th century American poet. The third movement is a setting of another of Dickinson's poems, "Wild Nights - Wild Nights!".
Dame Vera Lynn
Dame Vera Lynn, known as the Forces' sweetheart for entertaining the troops during World War Two, has just celebrated her one hundredth birthday. To mark the occasion, a new album of some of her best-known songs has been released by Decca Records. The tracks feature her original vocals, but with guest singers and new orchestral and choral backing. Brighton Festival Chorus was delighted to have been invited to record backing vocals for some of the tracks.
The album is called Vera Lynn 100. Read about it on the BBC website.
We wish Dame Vera a very happy birthday!
Last September we completed the first phase of a recording session for SOMM Records, who specialise in English music. We spent two days in the Colosseum in Watford with Barry Wordsworth and the BBC Concert Orchestra, recording a number of less well-known pieces by Elgar.
In March we completed a second session in Watford, where we recorded Elgar's "From the Bavarian Highlands" as phase 2 of the same package. The recording should be available later this year.
We in the Chorus are immensely proud of one of our altos, Jessica Curry.
Not content with winning a BAFTA last year for the music she composed for the award-winning video game, ‘Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture’, Jess now has her very own show on Classic FM. Dedicated to symphonic video game music, the 6 week series forms part of Classic FM’s 25th anniversary celebrations, and airs on Saturday evenings from 9pm-10pm, starting April 22.
You can read more about the show on the Classic FM website.
2018 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of Brighton Festival Chorus, and we are hatching plans for concerts, commissions and special performances to mark this event. The plans are still in the early stages at the moment, so there isn't much we can tell you yet, but - watch this space!
2018 is also the centenary of the end of the First World War, and there are plans for us to mark this occasion - again, still in the very early stages.