Keeping you updated with the latest news


13 June 2024
2023/24 season finishes at Christ Church


28 June 2023
A Rousing end to the 2022/23 Season with Viva Italia!
9 June 2023
Cathedral Visits - Summer 2023
12 May 2023
Simon Toyne appointed as our new Musical Director
20 March 2023
Dame Ethel Smyth Mass in D - A resounding success!
13 February 2023
The Ethel Smyth full score has arrived











An Angel, a Nun, and a Red Priest

7 September 2020

Our Home Choir, begun last term - firstly on Google Meet with a veritable smorgasbord of repertoire, then following in June and July with our Herbert Howells project - recommences tonight with our Autumn Term project - An Angel, a Nun, and a Red Priest.

An Angel, a Nun, and a Red Priest

After last term’s exploration of the English sound in pastoral, romantic, and at times simply fun, music by Herbert Howells, this term we will focus on something completely different - the music of Arcangelo Corelli (our Angel), Isabella Leonarda (our Nun), and Antonio Vivaldi (our Red Priest). Once again, we are delighted to work on this project alongside our Musical Director’s other choirs in Huntingdon, Royal Leamington Spa, and Wellingborough, and once again we are hugely grateful to him for all his efforts (not least a mammoth day of driving to deliver nearly 400 copies of all the music to drop off points for each of the four choirs).

Vivaldi’s Gloria is perhaps the best-known work in our set, and we are delighted that the editor of the edition we are using (New Novello Choral Edition), Dr Jasmin Cameron, is coming to talk to us later in the term (via Zoom) about editing Vivaldi’s score for publication, and especially about the enormous similarities (putting it mildly) between the last movement of Vivaldi’s Gloria, and the last movement of Ruggieri’s Gloria!

Dr Jasmin Cameron's edition of Gloria

The next well-known work is Corelli’s Christmas Concerto, which has been arranged by the English composer Dr Richard Shephard MBE, adding choral and solo parts following the story of the Birth of Jesus from Luke’s Gospel, and concluding with the final lilting pastorella set to Angels from the realms of glory. We are delighted to be singing this arrangement, which enables us to encounter Corelli’s compositional style (he wrote no choral music), and also encounter Dr Shepherd’s expertise at choral writing (something known to Northamptontonian choral aficionados, through his St Matthew’s Mass, commissioned for the Choir of St Matthew’s Church in 1989. He has been on the staff at York Minster for many years, including a long tenure as Headmaster of the former Minster School, and his tireless work for the Minster has been commemorated in a gargoyle (see picture!).

Dr Richard Shephard at York Minster

Our third and final piece is being sung for the first time by the choir, and as we sing it in our first rehearsal tonight, we do so just one day after the four hundredth anniversary of the composer’s birth in 1620. Isabella Leonarda is one of many Italian nuns who composed music for their convent in the seventeenth-century, and her Magnificat for chorus, strings, and organ, is a superb work. We are delighted that Prof. Candace Smith, who is a North American conductor and musicologist, who lives in Bologna, will come to talk to us in a separate Zoom session about her researches into the music of Italian convents in the seventeenth-century, and the work of her choir, Cappella Artemesia, who have recorded no fewer than nine discs of music by Italian nuns, including Leonarda.

Isabella Leonarda (1620-1704)

In combining a setting of the Christmas story (Corelli/Shephard), the Gloria (Vivaldi), and the Magnificat (Leonarda), we have devised a one-hour long programme which might be suitable for performance at Christmas, if we are able to do so. If we are not, then it is nevertheless incredibly enjoyable music. In addition to the two session already mentioned (with Dr Jasmin Cameron and Prof. Candace Smith), we are also taking a Zoom visit to a luthier in Cremona, for a guided tour of the art of violin making, and some insight into how the great stringed-instrument makers of the time (and region) contributed to the flourishing of composition at this time - think Amati, Guaneri, and … of course … Stradivari.