Music for Everyone (est. 1983) is committed to making a difference to people’s lives through the creativity and enjoyment of music. We support people to discover and develop their musical interest, abilities and aspirations at all levels. Music for Everyone is an open, welcoming and collaborative organisation. We build a sense of community and belonging through the high quality musical experiences we provide for participants, audiences and our staff. We aspire to enhance the inclusivity of our programme by building partnerships with likeminded organisations, so we can reach more people through our work.

cropped-logo_darkblue_green-copy.jpgOur roving reporter interviewed Angela about Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, which the Nottingham Festival Chorus will be performing in the Albert Hall, Saturday 6th February, 2016.

Here is the introduction, more to follow, including some very helpful guidance about learning the work at home, in the sectional rehearsal, and during the course.

HD: When did you first sing in a performance of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis?

AK: Well it was in 1978, I think March, with the Nottingham Harmonic Society conducted by Andrew Burnham, in the old Albert Hall Institute. Nearly thirty years ago.

HD: Or nearly forty years ago?

AK: You’re right. How time flies!

HD: Tell us a little about that experience.

AK: It was the first time I’d heard the work, I didn’t even know it existed really, and I thought it was fantastic, quite hard. Some bits are really easy and then other bits are absolute killers – fugues, because they’re so quick. There are still about 8 bars I’ve never known anybody sing properly. If you’re an alto, like me, you get to a certain page and you hear, “Can’t sing that bit.” [Laughs] But… with lots of slow practising…!

 writing Angela's instruction into the score

writing Angela’s instructions into a score

As you can see on my copy [from when I sang it], it has instructions written all over it, and beats in the bar for all the syncopated stuff. Fortunately, lots of it is doubled up in the orchestra.

HD: Do you have a favourite movement?

AK: Well the Credo and the Gloria are just wonderful, then from where the Praeludium starts and leads into the Benedictus, it has a divine violin solo, the basses sing a few notes and a quartet of soloists comes in, followed by the choir. A land of repose in all the excitement that’s going on. [Laughs again]

HD: What led you to choose this work for the Nottingham Festival Chorus?

AK: Well I thought it was about time we did something we could really get our teeth into, and I thought that no one else had done it for years, as far as I can remember. Or did the Bach Soc? Anyway, it will be a wonderful experience.

To be continued…

 

We’re stuffing…

cropped-logo_darkblue_green-copy.jpgroast-clipart-4ibK6dxbT

not the turkey, but brown envelopes!

 

 

The staff in the office are stuffing them (as they call this process) with everything we singers will need for the Nottingham Festival Chorus (NFC) Missa Solemnis course at the end of January, 2016.

Beethoven’s work is one of the most astonishing and demanding choral pieces. What better way can there be to pass the long, dark, winter evenings than to learn the music? Not for NFC, weekly rehearsals. No. We practise alone initially, with the help of a CD and rehearsal tracks, or perhaps with a group of friends, and all in anticipation of the course and giving a fine concert on the 6th of February

Attending the sectional rehearsal helps with the learning process. For tenors and basses, that’s Thursday 7th Jan, and for sopranos and altos, Friday 8th Jan, both 7.30pm at Nottingham Trent University, Clifton Campus.  The course itself, at Bluecoat Academy, Aspley Lane, will focus on the tricky bits (there are quite a few of them) and polishing each movement to performance standard.

The Missa ISMNM201895444_2Solemnis is rarely performed due to its challenges. Come and be part of a fantastic opportunity and (what we are sure will be) an amazing concert. Invite your choral friends who live elsewhere, sing in other choirs etc to join you in enrolling for the course and concert.

If this particular course sounds a little advanced, worry not. Music for Everyone offers exciting music-making opportunities for all abilities of singers (and instrumentalists), so there’s plenty for everyone – four Daytime Voices choirs, the Workers Choir, the musicals and summer NFC courses, Summer School, choral workshops, etc, etc, etc.

Coming soon from the Artistic Director: Angela Kay’s Guide to Stuffing a Turkey. Oh, that was meant to read: Angela Kay’s Guide to Singing the Missa Solemnis.

cropped-logo_darkblue_green-copy.jpgLook what we’ve found! Free courses!

During the MfE Summer School, Angela Kay and Alex Patterson led some Back to Basics sessions about the meaning and purpose of all those squiggles on a page of music. FutureLearn is registering interest in a free Open University course, From Notation to Performance. The course will enable you to build on your Summer School learning or, if you weren’t there, your understanding and appreciation of music.  P1110282

All FutureLearn courses are free. Although they run for a period of time, you can complete them at your leisure. From Notation to Performance focuses on instrumental music, but much of the information will apply to choral singing, too.

If you’re interested in medieval musical notation, try this: From Ink to Sound

And in January there will be a Song Writing course.

 

 

Imagine you are angels

cropped-logo_darkblue_green-copy.jpgThis was Phil Smith’s suggestion to the East of England Singers (EOES) when singing Bruckner’s Sanctus from his Mass No 2 in E minor on Saturday. The acoustic of St John’s Church, Carrington, helped the choir to achieve a soaring sound. Thank you to Phil for rehearsing and guest conducting EOES for this concert, and welcome back to the tenor section from now on.

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Freed from conducting, Angela joined the altos, she also sang a duet in the Stravinsky with her soprano daughter, Sarah. The New Classical Wind Ensemble was in fine form, and the audience expressed much appreciation of the programme. It was great to see familiar and new faces, thank you for supporting us and we hope you enjoyed the concert as much as we did.

Our next concert date is Saturday 5th December, St Giles Church, West Bridgford. The programme will include Bach’s glorious Magnificat in D with the Christmas interpolations, Vaughan Williams’ very English Fantasia on Christmas Carols and Torelli’s Concerto in forma di pastorale, per il Santo Natale. What better way to bring brightness to December days? Warming mulled wine or juice and mince pies will be served during the interval. We look forward to seeing you there. Click here for tickets.

Here are eight of the Ensemble playing Mozart’s Serenade in C minor, K388, conducted by Phil Smith.

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cropped-logo_darkblue_green-copy.jpg…only notes that aren’t high enough. At least, that would be the view of two or three of the East of England Singers’ first sopranos.

The human voice is an extraordinary instrument. Have you noticed how the pitch of a person’s speaking voice is not indicative of the pitch and range of their singing voice? If anyone knows why this is, explanations on a postcard  in the comment box would be gratefully received.

Bruckner (1824-1896) composed some of the most wonderful music of the Romantic period. He was a man of deep faith abrucknernd something of an oddball. His Mass No 2 in E minor, the second half of Saturday’s concert, will fulfil some of the soprano high note dreams, and indeed the similar dreams of singers of other parts, particularly during the Sanctus for eight-part choir. Eight parts enabled Bruckner to employ the full range of the human voice in all its glory and for the glory of God.

As you can see in the video, the Mass is accompanied by a wind ensemble.

 

The East of England Singers and New Classical Wind Ensemble concert is on Saturday, 17th October, at St John’s Church, Mansfield Rd, Carrington, Nottingham, 7.30pm. Click here for the full programme and tickets. Tickets will also be available on the door (until sold out).

Tickets are now on sale for the East of England Singers Christmas concert of Bach’s Magnificat and Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on Christmas Carols, and for Music for Everyone’s Christmas is Coming – a Sunday afternoon feast of Christmas music by and for all ages.

Mozart the Recycler

cropped-logo_darkblue_green-copy.jpgIf you were wealthy enough to ‘own’ an instrumental ensemble, what would you choose? A string quartet or a jazz trio? How about a wind band or an early music group? My choice would be a brass quintet. As a teenage trumpeter, I loved playing in an unconducted small ensemble and dreamt of being the first (and only, ever) female member of the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble.

W A Mozart, 1770, by Dalla Rosa

Wind ensembles, known as Harmonie, were very popular among the rich and royal of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s time (Mozart, 1756-1791). Emperor Franz Joseph II had such a group. Prince Liechtenstein asked Mozart to both find him a group of wind and brass musicians and to compose new pieces for them to play. The groups performed at social occasions, indoor and outdoor, and sometimes played for more formal events. The music for such ensembles, known as harmoniemusik, was meant to entertain, it was often light in nature and unmemorable. The serenade was a popular musical form. Mozart elevated it into compositions that have endured. A minor key was an unusual choice and suggests K388 was written for a more formal or civic occasion.

The third programme item in the East of England Singers’ concert on Saturday 17 October, St John’s Church, Carrington, Nottingham, 7.30pm will be Mozart’s Serenade in C Minor for Wind Octet, K388, played by the New Classical Wind Ensemble. It is scored for 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 horns and 2 bassoons.

So why Mozart the Recycler? Some years later, Mozart would transcribe the work for string quintet, keeping the same key signature, C minor.

Click here for the full concert programme and tickets.

Here is the second movement of Mozart’s Serenade in C minor, K388

If you receive the blog post by email, you might have to click through to the website to listen to the music.

cropped-logo_darkblue_green-copy.jpgSo said Igor Stravinsky.

If you hear the name Igor Stravinsky (1882-19710), what music comes to mind? Perhaps it is his ballet music, The Rite of Spring, Petrushka, or The Firebird Suite. But there are symphonies, operas, concerti, choral music and much more.

As we can hear in the opening of the Rite of Spring, his music can be melodious

and excitingly rhythmic (a little further into the Rite of Spring)

 

Some of these styles are to be found in Stravinsky’s Mass for Chorus and Wind Orchestra. This will be the second work in the East of England Singers’ IgorStravinsky680pxconcert, Saturday 17 October, St John’s Church, Carrington, Nottingham, 7.30pm.

Stravinsky was a member of the Russian Orthodox Church. He drifted away but returned to faith later, though by then he no longer lived in Russia. Instruments were never used in his church, so he turned to the liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church and composed a Mass setting. This was deeply personal to Stravinsky, something he felt compelled to compose from his own faith, his own soul. There is something both haunting and striking about the music, music Stravinsky determined would not be overly emotional. To him, it was the words that mattered above all else. It was first performed at La Scala, Milan, in 1948 and is a challenging and exciting sing, rhythmic, at time dissonant yet with echoes of plainsong.

Click here for the full concert programme and tickets.

More about Stravinsky.