It was very special to be back in Petersfield on Sunday 10 September, to sing for the Parish Mass at St Laurence Church, followed by a short concert of glorious music from the Italian Renaissance. We are grateful to Fr Peter Hollins and the congregation of St Laurence for making us feel so welcome
We were delighted to be back in Chalton on Saturday 9 September, after an eight-year hiatus, to sing a family concert. The programme was based loosely around the idea of moving from Summer into Autumn, and touched on the weather, the natural world, religious festivals, and the human condition. Music from a variety of genres was sung, including works by G. P. da Palestrina and William Byrd, and the Beach Boys and Con Conrad.
We were delighted to be invited back to St John the Evangelist in Langrish, near Petersfield in Hampshire, to assist with their 150th anniversary celebrations this year. We sang a ‘Mixed Bag’ of a concert on the Saturday (featuring our director hurling a banana at a priest who happened to be in the audience), and a celebratory Eucharist on the Sunday. It was a joyous, moving, and profoundly happy weekend, and we are grateful to all who fed and hosted us, and facilitated the logistical arrangements.
Sunday 5th August 2018, 3pm St Andrew’s Church, Hurstbourne Priors, near Winchester
By popular request we returned to the delightful village of Hurstbourne Priors, in Hampshire, for a tea-time concert, this time featuring a set of madrigals from the richest repertoire of 16th-century England. It was lovely to have the church so full and to see so many familiar faces in the audience.
Saturday 10th February 2018, 7.30pm St Peter’s Church, Petersfield
Purcell Motets Handel Organ Concerto Op. 4 No. 1 in G minor Chilcott My Prayer Handel Dixit Dominus
Southern Pro Musica Conductor Jonathan Willcocks Organ Luke Fitzgerald Soloists Carys Brown, Louisa Dawes, David Lewis
It was an absolute joy to perform such great music in the wonderful candle-lit setting of St Peter’s Church, where we have sung so many times before. Fortunately the weather didn’t discourage our sell-out audience, and the whole atmosphere made for a very special evening indeed.
We were honoured to participate in this concert as part of the 2017 Petersfield Musical Festival. The programme featured settings of the work of celebrated local poet Edward Thomas, and we were joined for some of the programme by musicians from Bedales School and a fabulous line-up of soloists.
Friday 17th March 2017 7.30pm, Petersfield Festival Hall, Petersfield, Hampshire
Bedales Cecilia Consort
Richard Pearce & Helen Cawthorne Accompanists Frances Kelly Harp Judith Treggor Flute John Barker, John Lofthouse, Thomas Athorne, Catherine WhiteVocal soloists Piers Burton-Page Reader
This year our Easter mini tour saw us singing two concerts and a morning service in the Hampshire/West Sussex area. The weekend was a huge success and we were very warmly received by our audiences and congregation, who were extremely generous in their donations to the Veterinary Benevolent Fund, the charity for whom our late bass, David Bee, was fundraising when he died in June 2015, and to whom the weekend was dedicated.
Saturday 2nd April 2016 7.30pm, Holy Trinity Church, Bosham, West Sussex
Sunday 3rd April 2016
3pm, St Andrew, Hurstbourne Priors, Hampshire
‘All Creatures Great & Small’
The programme included works by composers ranging from Lassus to Stanford, and Mendelssohn to Mitchell, featuring grasshoppers, apes, lambs, birds, and many other creatures!
Sunday 3rd April 2016 10.30am, St Andrew, Hurstbourne Priors, Hampshire
Responses Clucas Canticles Boyce in C Anthem God so loved the world – Stainer
‘The French Connection’
Southern Pro Musica & Vox Cantab
Saturday, 21 February 2015
St Peter’s Church
The title of this concert, given by Southern Pro Musica and Vox Cantab, was The French Connection. The large audience were treated to wonderful music by Fauré, Duruflé, Poulenc and Rameau. Vox Cantab, founded in 2010 by Louisa Denby, is a highly accomplished group of current and former choral scholars from Cambridge University. They immediately showed their outstanding musicianship in Poulenc’s four unaccompanied motets for the time of penitence. The settings are homophonic with many finely articulated moods. There are sharply defined dynamic contrasts, phrase by phrase, with bloc-like shifts, which are the hallmarks of Poulenc’s style. The singing had eloquence and the intensity of the music was idiomatic. Duruflé’s four motets on plainsong themes for unaccompanied voices show an astonishing conciseness. They were all sung with love, warmth and precision….wonderful!
Richard Pearce was the exemplary soloist in Poulenc’s exciting organ concerto. The single movement work displays Poulenc’s ability to effect an abrupt change of mood, from high spirits to melancholy, seamlessly. The many contrasting sections, which differ in style, tone and texture were superbly registered by Richard Pearce. This was an exhilarating reading of great fluency and authority and beautifully supported by the strings and timpani of the orchestra.
The main work of the evening was Duruflé’s Requiem. Written in 1947, the layout is based on Fauré’s masterpiece. The work is based on themes from Gregorian chant, but Duruflé skilfully integrates the plainsong with a romantic approach. The chamber version of strings, harp and trumpets was used tonight with great effect. There was a good balance between the sudden outbursts of agitation and the work’s mysticism and warmth. The choir sang ardently throughout with moments of great tenderness – as in the Agnus Dei with the flowing accompaniment of harp and strings – and the passionate outbursts in the blistering Sanctus with its dramatic trumpet calls. The solos were sung with deep feeling and imagination. The Pie Jesu was plaintively sung by the ravishing soprano, Catherine White, and the dark, rich bass of Richard Latham was a joy. This was a deeply expressive, sensitive performance from the excellent choir and orchestra, directed with love and passion by Jonathan Willcocks.
The concert opened with music by one of the great French Baroque composers, Rameau. Southern Pro Musica played movements form his opera-ballet, Les Indes Galant. This attractive work is full of dance numbers which are tuneful, dramatic and imaginative. The playing was light and rhythmic, but I wish the timpanist had used hard sticks to give the performance a little more bite.
Thank you to everyone for an evening of outstanding music making.
“The choir from Cambridge University proceeded to fill this ancient church with angelic and enchanting music. The effect was just breathtaking. The audience at Chalton Church were privileged to experience a first-class choir that could have performed in a professional venue anywhere in the country. It was a very special evening that made a deep impression.”
Anne Cleaver (original article)