CE Tewkesbury Abbey 11th Jan 2012
CE Tewkesbury Abbey
Order of Service:
Introit: The Magi (Gabriel Jackson)
Psalms: 59, 60, 61 (Flintoft, Smart, Hopkins, Camidge)
First Lesson: Amos 3
Canticles: Jesus College Service (William Mathias)
Second Lesson: 1 Corinthians 2
Anthem: A Hymn on the Nativity (Nico Muhly)
Hymn: Hail to the Lord's Anointed (Cruger)
Organ Voluntary: Epiphanie (Gaston Litaize)
Carleton Etherington (Organist)
Benjamin Nicholas (Director of Music)
Reminder: service at 3.30 p.m. on Wednesday, 11th Jan.
I understand according to the website that the Schola Cantorum at Tewkesbury will be singing i.e. the men and boys choir.
Last edited by DracoM; 11-01-12 at 10:58.
Good to have Tewkesbury back in the schedule and showing some ambition with the repertoire - Jackson, Mathias and Muhly.
Jackson was a challenge. I could not find out on GJ's own website if he classed The Magi as Very Easy, Easy, Moderately Difficult, or Difficult. Helpfully for visiting DoMs, GJ has - or his publisher has - graded his pieces. Harrow School obviously could cope with it. Tewkesbury sounded all broken voices during this, for some reason the trebles sounded as if they were somewhere nearer Dean Close than us. This balance shifted a bit as the service went on - I tried listening on two different media, but the men more or less obliterated the boys early on. Good piece - liked the organ rippling, and the grace notes or similar.
Psalms disciplinedly sung.
The Mathias canticles are rousing and very jolly, part unison, part harmony, and these were well-delivered, with plenty of energy.
St Thomas Fifth Ave in NYC introduced me to a lot of Muhly, and this was a nicely typical piece. I wondered if it was taken maybe a tad slowly, but whatever, the piece is very singable and had a good mix of unison, drifting harmonies and forthright stuff. Good outing for it.
At times quite bold trebles and mature sounding, once the balance let us hear them - psalms showed them well - prominent men. Big Romantic voluntary.
Many thanks for a thought-provoking service.
Enjoyed it. Some very confident and mature sounding trebles... excelling in the more robust moments of the service. I very much like the Mathias Canticles, the Nunc being especially affecting. Some interesting repertory too, eg GJ and Muhly. Heard some MacMillan-ish moments in the GJ (sorry GJ...one always hears references even when there aren't any!)
It's very creditable IMO that this unusual choral 'foundation' in its fine building and with its organs (are they still organs plural?) is up for live CE broadcasts. Suspect the lack of posts on Wednesdays is because of the silly 3.30 time. Hope for more after LA-ing and the Sunday repeat.
I thought this a very fine service in all its aspects – lessons well read, nicely turned prayers that included space for private prayer (a daring feature on radio), a reverential, almost monastic atmosphere, etc – and especially in its list of compelling near-contemporary music that is right up my street, effectively and musically delivered by the choir.
Yet I was a mite disappointed with the BBC’s capture of the music. The Schola Cantorum has trebles whose fortissimo can stun an ox at a hundred paces, and whose pianissimo can bring a child to the edge of its seat: today, as already remarked by others, they were often fighting to be heard; at least their discipline and ability to shape a line were in evidence whenever they surfaced.
Yes, ardcarp, still two organs: the Milton (heard today) in the quire and the Grove tucked away in the north transept. But Tewkesbury is a regular on CE – this is their fourth broadcast in five years – and they take on a fair amount of concert work (eg an all-male Messiah last December). I don't know, but I imagine the recruitment of choristers is aided by the fact that they are not often required at weekends, and never for the major festivals in holiday-time.
Indeed, and in my experience I think that having the excellent Dean Close School behind it is also very helpful for recruitment. Several of the boys who sung yesterday were members of Dean Close Preparatory School first before trying for a choristership. I imagine this is very different to the usual choir school recruitment programme (although, of course, some of the Schola trebles did join the school alongside gaining a choristership).
Originally Posted by decantor
As for the service itself, I thought it was an excellent programme of music well performed by the choir. I played the organ for the premiere of the Muhly in December 2010 with the Schola in the Abbey and am glad that it got a broadcast 'outing' as I think it is a very fine piece. I did not know the Jackson or the Mathias prior to the broadcast, but both came across very well on the broadcast, as did the psalms.
Many congratulations to Ben, Carleton, the singers and the clergy on a fine broadcast.
I don't pay as much attention to the spoken parts of the service as maybe I should, but I particularly liked the voice of the clergyman taking the service, which came over very well on the radio. Sometimes those taking the service don't really have 'radio voices'; on one recent broadcast a very cheerful anthem was announced (with a summary of the text) in depressed, Eeyore-ish tones.
Something of a swan song, it seems. I understand Benjamin Nicholas is to leave Tewkesbury Abbey / Dean Close School to become full-time Organist & Director of Music at Merton College, Oxford.
In co-operation with Peter Phillips maybe??
Shame he hasn't gone to a top cathedral with a choir of boys and men.
Originally Posted by positif