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Like to sing? New to the London choral scene? .... or just interested to see if you would like to be?

There's nothing quite like Barts Choir!

 

NEW TERM WELCOME! Rehearsals for our December concert start on Monday 12th September, 18.45 – 20.45 at City Temple

nearest stations – Chancery Lane & City Thameslink

 

There’s no audition or charge to experience our choir.

Come and meet us, sing for a couple of rehearsals and see if Barts is the choir you would like to join.

Plus a special invitation to the staff and members of the Barts Health NHS Trust

Under 26 and new to Barts - Enjoy our special 'Welcome rate'

The choir includes both experienced and novice singers. Choral skills are developed to performance standard during a professionally led 14 session rehearsal period. There are 3 concerts each year at prestigious venues, such as Royal Festival and Cadogan Halls. Belonging to Barts Choir gives you the chance to enjoy and gain familiarity with the words and music of significant choral pieces of music (see 'Concerts'- tab on this site)

Why join Barts Choir?

1. There is no audition and we welcome everyone, both novices and experienced singers

2. You don't need to be able to read music

3. We are one of the biggest amateur choirs in London so you'll find hundreds of potential new friends amongst us

4. We meet on Monday evenings (not much else happening then) so it's an uplifting way to start your week or complement your studies.

5. We rehearse in convenient venues in central London (usually City Temple, Holborn)

6. Rehearsals begin at 6.45pm, when many people have just finished work, college or uni.

7. Become a better singer through expert tuition from our two professional conductors – Ivor Setterfield and Hilary Campbell

8. Over the years you will learn dozens of different pieces of choral music, some well-known, others more rare

9. Enough rehearsal time each term to enable us to learn challenging works to performance standard

10. We sing in world-renowned venues like the Royal Festival Hall, The Royal Albert Hall, Cadogan Hall

11. The health benefits of group singing are well-documented. We feel better physically and mentally when we sing together.

12. Many of us go to the pub for a drink after rehearsals for a chance to socialise

We are friendly and welcoming and like to support new members.

If you would like to ask a question, then according to your singing range, please contact:

sopranovoicerep@bartschoir.com

altovoicerep@bartsvhoir.com

tenorvoicerep@bartschoir.com

bassvoicerep@bartschoir.com

Not sure which section is for you? 

enquiries@bartschoir.com

 There's nothing quite like Barts!

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Forthcoming Concerts

Seasonal Celebration with Charpentier, Finzi, Belioz and Vaughan Williams

Cadogan Hall
Start Time: 19:30

Title(s): Charpentier: Messe de Minuit pour Noël (1690) Berlioz: Shepherds’ farewell Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on Christmas Carols (1912) Finzi: In Terra Pax (1954) Selection of French and English Carols

Composer: Charpentier and others
Choir: Barts Main Choir
Orchestra: Trafalgar Symphonia
Conductor: Ivor Setterfield


Cadogan Hall, 1st & 2nd December 2016

Charpentier: Messe de Minuit pour Noël (1690)

Charpentier was particularly drawn to writing Christmas music, producing instrumental carols, Latin oratorios on Christmas themes, French pastorales and a Christmas mass - the delightful Messe de Minuit pour Noël. This piece dates from around 1690 and was probably composed for the great Jesuit church of St. Louis in Paris, where Charpentier held the important post of maître de musique.

 

The use of popular carols in church music had long been an accepted practice. In England carols were more often sung than played, but in France noëls figured prominently in the substantial French organ repertoire. The liturgy of Midnight Mass permitted the singing and playing of these Christmas folksongs, and by Charpentier’s time quite complex instrumental arrangements were commonplace. However, Charpentier’s idea of basing a whole mass on these songs was completely original. Altogether there are eleven noëls, most of which are dance-like in character, reflecting the carol’s secular origins. In addition to the carol melodies that he adapted to fit various parts of the mass text, Charpentier also composed new material, such as the slow sections ‘Et in terra pax’ at the beginning of the Gloria and ‘Et incarnatus est’ in the Credo. It says much for the composer’s craftsmanship that these quite different idioms are so seamlessly and convincingly blended together.

 

 

Very little of Charpentier’s music was published during his lifetime. In common with a number of his colleagues he suffered greatly from the stranglehold exerted on Parisian music by his illustrious but unscrupulous contemporary, Jean-Baptiste Lully. Only in the late twentieth century has Charpentier’s music seen a substantial revival, with a consequent re-assessment of his true place in French music.

Notes: John Bawden

 

Berlioz: Shepherds’ farewell

Hector Berlioz (1803-1869) was a French Romantic composer. He began and finished composition of the Symphonic Fantastique in 1830, a work that brought him fame and notoriety. His Requiem (Grande Messe des Morts) was written in 1837, followed by Roméo et Juliette in 1839.  

The Shepherds’ Farewell is a short piece at the beginning of L'Enfance du Christ.  It tells the story of the birth of Jesus and the journey of the Holy Family as they escape Bethlehem and head across Egypt to the city of Saïs. It is a serene and gentle composition, unlike many of the composer's more flamboyant works. It was first performed at the Salle Herz, in Paris on 10 December 1854, with Berlioz conducting.

The Shepherds’ Farewell is probably the oratorio’s best-known section, a glorious blend of warm woodwind sounds, sublime choral harmonies and sensitive orchestral accompaniment. Berlioz was certainly a passionate composer, with a love of writing very red-blooded, romantic music. He was also clearly capable of creating music with a sense of complete serenity, touching simplicity, and ethereal beauty.

 

The premiere performance of L’Enfance du Christ was met with euphoric appreciation by the Parisian audience. Subsequent performances across Europe received an equally rapturous response, much to the composer’s delight.

Notes: With our thanks to ClassicFM

Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on Christmas Carols (1912)

The English Folk Song Society was founded in 1898.  This inspired Vaughan Williams to travel through southern England, scouring counties such as Herefordshire, Norfolk, Essex, Sussex and Surrey (amongst others) in order to collect and write down for posterity as many English folk songs as he could find.

 

The outcome of these excursions was the publication of tunes in such places as the English Hymnal (1906) and, later, the Oxford Book of Carols (1928), but his lifelong fervour for Christmas and all its cultural manifestations was powerfully expressed in four works, the Fantasia on Christmas Carols (1912), the ballet On Christmas Night (1926) based on Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, the cantata Hodie (195354) and the nativity play The First Nowell (1958).

 

Fantasia on Christmas Carols is a charming and ebullient Christmas work. It is made up of four English carols: "The Truth Sent From Above," "Come All You Worthy Gentlemen," "On Christmas Night," and "There is a Fountain."  It is a short piece, scored for full orchestra, solo baritone, solo tenor, and chorus.

 

It begins with a gorgeous cello solo, after which the baritone joins in singing "The Truth Sent From Above." As more and more instruments are layered in, along with the chorus, the piece develops a luxurious and velvety smooth sound. With a joyful tempo, the chorus announces "Come All You Worthy Gentleman", followed by the tenor singing "We wish you a happy New Year". The piece ends with the chorus singing a stunning A Capella, "Both now and evermore. Amen."

 

 

Fantasia on Christmas Carols was first performed on the evening of September 12,1912, at the Hereford Cathedral as part of the Three Choirs Festival. 

Finzi: In Terra Pax (1954)

Selection of French and English Carols

Charpentier was particularly drawn to writing Christmas music, producing instrumental carols, Latin oratorios on Christmas themes, French pastorales and a Christmas mass - the delightful Messe de Minuit pour Noël. This piece dates from around 1690 and was probably composed for the great Jesuit church of St. Louis in Paris, where Charpentier held the important post of maître de musique.

 

The use of popular carols in church music had long been an accepted practice. In England carols were more often sung than played, but in France noëls figured prominently in the substantial French organ repertoire. The liturgy of Midnight Mass permitted the singing and playing of these Christmas folksongs, and by Charpentier’s time quite complex instrumental arrangements were commonplace. However, Charpentier’s idea of basing a whole mass on these songs was completely original. Altogether there are eleven noëls, most of which are dance-like in character, reflecting the carol’s secular origins. In addition to the carol melodies that he adapted to fit various parts of the mass text, Charpentier also composed new material, such as the slow sections ‘Et in terra pax’ at the beginning of the Gloria and ‘Et incarnatus est’ in the Credo. It says much for the composer’s craftsmanship that these quite different idioms are so seamlessly and convincingly blended together.

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