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2016 Concerts

Surrey Cantata



The three concerts in Surrey Cantata's eighth tour of North Brittany are a commemoration of Shakespeare (died 1616).

Part I of the programme comprises sacred music of his time - the Golden Age for such music - with anthems and motets by Weelkes, Parsons, Gibbons, Philips and Palestrina, alternating with movements from Byrd's Five-part Mass.

Part II consists of a variety of Shakespeare settings: the two fairy movements, for female voices, from Mendelssohn's music for A Midsummer Night's Dream, George Shearing's jazz-influenced Songs and Sonnets of William Shakespeare, and settings of songs from the plays by RJS Stevens and Vaughan Williams.

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Members of Surrey Cantata will be performing a selection of choral settings of Shakespeare from Thomas Morley to Vaughan Williams in the stunning crystal Grotto. This special performance, in recognition of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare, will take its audience through ten settings starting with Morley’s ‘It was a lover and his lass’ and ending with Vaughan Williams ‘O mistress mine’. A Choral Celebration of Shakespeare in the Grotto will be directed by Sebastian Forbes.

Performers
Susan Lee & Jane Searle (soprano)
Tessa Forbes (alto)
Andrew King (tenor)
Roger Miller (bass)
Introduced and Directed by Sebastian Forbes

Surrey Cantata




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Surrey Cantata

Following the success of their concert in March last year at St Peter’s Church, Old Woking, the choir returns this year, on Saturday 12th March, with Vaughan Williams Serenade to Music and Brahms Requiem. See the poster for further information.

2016 sees the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Vaughan Williams knew as much as any composer of his time about the great bard. His setting of a song from The Merchant of Venice was aptly described by the late Michael Kennedy as ‘… all sweetness and moonlight’. Vaughan Williams composed the work in 1938 in honour of the jubilee of Henry Wood, the conductor most associated with the history of the Proms.

Brahms’s A German Requiem was his first large-scale work and the first to gain him truly international recognition. It’s not a true Requiem, however. Rather, he wished to focus, not so much on the souls of the departed but comfort for the bereaved. To this end, he selected biblical texts with much care, and he presented the work in German (not only Luther’s translation). This makes for easier communication of the composer’s ideal to German audiences. Likewise, with an apt translation, it is equally fitting to perform the work here in English, as is the case in Surrey Cantata’s concert, provided care is taken to preserve the composer’s phrasing and articulation.

As befits a small choir in a modest-sized church, the accompaniments are suitably reduced, though no less effective than their orchestral originals: violin and piano for the Vaughan Williams, and piano duet (the composer’s own arrangement) for the Brahms.

Violinist Sally Dewey is well established in Surrey, as teacher and, for many years, leader of the Surrey Mozart players. Matthew Rickard is developing a successful career as a pianist and is also organist of St Peter’s Church. He formed a piano duet with David Harvey when they were postgraduate students at the Royal Academy of Music. Soprano Jane Searle and baritone Peter Terry are familiar names in Surrey concerts and have often performed with Sebastian Forbes.


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At the end of July, Surrey Cantata undertakes its regular, three-concert tour of North Brittany.
These tours have been highly successful in previous years, and the fine acoustics of churches in that region are a delight for both choir and audience.
This year’s themes include recognition of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, with the first part of the concert selecting music of his time, both English and continental, and the second half featuring 20th-century choral settings of Shakespeare.