News
Keeping you updated with the latest news
 

2017

1 June 2017
Viva Venice! Choir on Tour
2 April 2017
Monteverdi Vespers Success!
4 February 2017
Long Lines in Lichfield

2016

11 December 2016
Santa Claus came to Town!
28 November 2016
Poulenc Gloria with the RPO
22 October 2016
Recording #4 - a Feast of Faure
3 October 2016
Good Greve - Awards and Socialising
10 July 2016
Rossini Rave Reviews
23 May 2016
Pagliacci, Plants and Parties
4 April 2016
924 years Not Out!
20 March 2016
Viva Verdi! Stunning Success
5 March 2016
Forty for Gloria in Brum
28 February 2016
Big Singing Success with John Rutter!
4 January 2016
Tickets at a New Home

2015

2014

 

Viva Venice! Choir on Tour

On our Flight from Luton
 
Travelling to St Mark's by Private Boat

Over five days last week more than seventy members of the choir visited Venice to sing a Mass at St Mark’s Basilica for Ascension Day, and also spent a day in Padua giving a concert performance in the sumptuous acoustic of the tenth-century church of St Nicolò. At both events they sang four unaccompanied motets - two by British/Irish composers, and two by Venetian-school composers.

Getting ready for the Marriage of the Sea
 
Breakfast at the Hotel

In the concert in Padua the choir additionally performed Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem, a work the choir has recently recorded, and will launch in a concert performance on Saturday 8 July. The first motet - God is gone up by Arthur Hutchings (1906-89) was a relatively simple affair for the choir (even in the elevated key of C major), but the second O Rex gloriæ by Andrea Gabrieli (1532-85) was in a polyphonic style not often encountered by the large choral society, and stretched us into five parts. The third motet - Cœlos ascendit hodie by Sir Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924) was already known to the choir from their performance of it at the Mass at the Vatican in 2011, and so the double-choir eight-part writing was not a particular challenge. The same couldn’t be said of the final motet - Buccinate in Neomenia tuba by Giovanni Croce (1557-1609) where the double-choir, eight-part writing was much more challenging, especially in its quick syncopations and polyrhythms. Nevertheless, even in the huge acoustics of St Mark’s Basilica the dancing sound world came across. We were delighted to receive a round of applause from the congregation as we concluded our participation in the Mass, and Canons Camilotto and Barlese praised the choir for their singing, and invited us back to sing again.

After our Concert in Padua
 
Before Mass at St Mark's

Gabriel Fauré’s (1877-1962) Requiem was far less of a challenge, though the large number of singers in the choir meant that we had to stand at the back of the church of St Nicolò in order to balance with the organ (situated in a gallery at the back of the church) and to allow sightlines with our wonderful organist Alvise Pellegrini, who lives and works in the UK (and regularly accompanies the choir at Olney where our MD is also Director of Music), but who hails from Padua, and was able to secure the opportunity to sing in this fine church. Alison Barnes and Michael Waterfield sang the soprano and baritone solos with style and aplomb, and we received generous and hearty applause from the audience.

Our Communial Meal
 
After Mass at St Mark's

As well as our musical performances, there was plenty of “tourist time” for us; our hotel was in Mestre - a 15 minute journey by Bus or Tram from Venice - and supplied us with superb breakfasts and a communal first evening meal upon our arrival. Some of us even caught a glimpse of the special Marriage of the Sea ceremony which took place on Ascension when the Mayor of Venice has for two-hundred years (and the Doge of Venice for eight-hundred years before that) has symbolically cast a ring, consecrated by the Patriarch of Venice, into the sea, and with the words "Desponsamus te, mare, in signum veri perpetuique domini" ("We wed thee, sea, as a sign of true and everlasting domination") declared Venice and the sea to be indissolubly one.

The Doge's Palace
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