There was great excitement & relief to have all the choir in the same room for the first time in 18 months when we had our first full rehearsal last week! We had a great first rehearsal and welcomed some new members too! From Palestrina to Matthew Martin via Howells & everything in between, we’ve lots of lovely Advent music to keep us occupied – we hope you’ll come to listen to us on 4 December.
We were delighted to be singing for services at Wells Cathedral on 1 August – our first public outing since December 2019! 24 singers took part, with 18 singing at the 10.30am Eucharist and 18 for Evensong at 3pm. During the latest choir restrictions, we’ve been rehearsing in groups of 6 and finally were able to enjoy a bigger group after restrictions eased on 19 July.
We hope to go back to more normal rehearsals in September and to get back to regular singing and concerts – watch this space!
Welcome to our fortieth anniversary season, celebrating the wide range of music SCC has become known for, from the plainsong of Advent antiphons to music from today’s leading composers. We’re particularly excited to be giving the first performance of two specially commissioned antiphon settings by locally-born David Bednall. We have known David for many years and are delighted that he is now an internationally renowned composer. The two settings are the first part of a three year project with the choir, so we look forward to performing the complete set in 2021.
An anniversary choral season wouldn’t be complete without some Bach and the Mass in B Minor is arguably the pinnacle of his achievements, and a great favourite of ours, so was really the only choice for our anniversary celebration concert in March – don’t miss it!
We finish this special season in June with a musical trip across Europe – experience The Grand Tour without leaving home, or at least your favourite Abbey pew!
Join us for a memorable season! Download your season brochure here.
Paul Ellis, Musical Director
The early spring sunshine may have disappeared, but we’re hoping to bring a little sun back to Sherborne in our next concert! Spain meets South America on 16 March, in our programme of Latin American Baroque music, accompanied by top period ensemble In Echo.
The choir and band will be exploring the rich and colourful music of seventeenth century Central America, where traditional European musical culture meets South American culture and African dance to create a unique fusion which is infectious, colourful and frequently foot-tapping!
The main item in the programme is an exuberant mass setting for double choir by the seventeenth century Spanish composer Juan Gutiérrez de Padilla, who spent most of his working life in Mexico. The Mass is a wonderful combination of the musical style of his Spanish roots and the traditional colours and rhythms of Central America. The programme also includes a gentle lullaby in Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs, and a setting of the Magnificat by Francisco López Capillas, the first Creole composer of significance. The choir and band really get to let their hair down however in some lively dances: a guaracha, a forerunner of the Salsa, and a villancico, with rhumba style rhythms.
A huge amount of music was created in Central America following the Spanish conquests, but most has remained largely undiscovered until quite recently. Much of the music in the choir’s programme has become popular via Ex Cathedra’s recordings, which are regularly aired on Classic FM and Radio 3.
Formed by international cornetto player Gawain Glenton, who lives in Sherborne, In Echo is a period ensemble that explores the rich repertoire of the 16th and 17th centuries, specialising in Renaissance and Baroque music. Its debut CD, Music in a Cold Climate: Sounds of Hansa Europe, was released last year and received rave reviews, as well as frequent airtime on Radio 3. In this concert, the instruments include cornetto, sackbut, lute, guitar and harp – as well as a bit of percussion provided by the choir!
“It’s almost like eavesdropping on these composers and travelling musicians sitting down together for a jam session… There’s such flexibility and freedom in the playing it was almost improvisatory, and because they’ve chosen their instrumentation so carefully, each strand is really to the fore…”
— Andrew McGregor, BBC Radio 3 ‘Record Review’ February 2018
Get your tickets now! On sale at Sherborne Tourist Information Centre, 01935 815341, priced £5-£20, under 18s free of charge.
Our new season leaflet is now available, with details of all our concerts in Sherborne Abbey through to June 2019! Download a pdf file here. This season’s programmes contain our usual variety of music, from Mexico to Estonia, and from the sixteenth century to the present day.
In an extra concert on 10 November, we are honoured to be giving a Remembrance concert to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War. The programme includes movements from the Fauré Requiem, along with some well-known music for Remembrance and newer settings from composers including locally-born David Bednall. On 1 December, we celebrate the start of Advent with seasonal music centred around settings dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
On 16 March we journey geographically to the New World, though back in time to seventeenth century composers such as Padilla, Fernandes and Capillas, and some wonderful Baroque music which fuses the styles of Spain and Italy with the rhythm and energy of Mexico. Finally our summer concert celebrates the wedding season – if you are planning your wedding, don’t miss this!
Tickets for all concerts are available from Sherborne Tourist Information Centre, 01935 815341.
Our June concert is a celebration of some wonderful English choral music.
The centre piece is Hubert Parry’s heart-felt and truly amazing Songs of Farewell, which we include to mark his centenary year. Additional works include: Byrd Justorum animae, Elgar They are at rest, Finzi Lo! The full, final sacrifice, Ireland Greater love, Lewis The souls of the righteous, Parry Songs of Farewell, and Tomkins When David heard.
We will also feature organist Simon Clarkson, who will play works by Byrd and Howells.
Do join us for an evening of wonderful music.
For further details click here.
Passion and Glory in Sherborne Abbey on 17 March
For our first concert of 2018, we’re delighted to be collaborating with top period band, In Echo, for a musical journey of German Baroque music through Lent and Passiontide, leading to the triumph of Easter Day.
Formed by international cornetto player Gawain Glenton, who luckily for us lives in Sherborne, In Echo is a period ensemble that explores the rich repertoire of the 16th and 17th centuries, specialising in Renaissance and Baroque music. Its debut CD, Music in a Cold Climate: Sounds of Hansa Europe, was released last month and is receiving rave reviews, as well as frequent airtime on Radio 3, and the group will perform some of the CD tracks at the concert.
It’s almost like eavesdropping on these composers and travelling musicians sitting down together for a jam session… There’s such flexibility and freedom in the playing it was almost improvisatory, and because they’ve chosen their instrumentation so carefully, each strand is really to the fore…
Andrew McGregor, BBC Radio 3 ‘Record Review’ February 2018
Early Music Today, February 2018
The programme showcases some rarely heard choral music by Pachelbel (famous for his Canon in D), along with music by not one, but two Bachs. With motets, cantatas, instrumental and a cappella music, the concert promises something for everyone!
Click here for full details.
After a wonderful trip to Croatia, we’re back in Sherborne for the last concert of our season, in Sherborne Abbey this Saturday, 24th June. We spent a week in the World Heritage Site of Trogir, singing for mass and giving a concert in the historic churches there for local audiences and the many overseas visitors in Trogir. We performed a lovely programme of mainly English music and will be singing this and more in ‘Spirit of England’. Some of the finest choral music written in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century for our churches and cathedrals forms the backbone of the choir’s programme, with anthems such as Elgar’s Give unto the Lord, Finzi’s God is gone up, and motets by Stanford, but there is also music from the Tudor period, with William Byrd’s wonderful Mass for Four Voices, and anthems by his contemporaries such as Tallis and Gibbons. Finally there is a reminder of our traditional folksong heritage, with songs arranged by Bairstow, Warlock and Vaughan Williams. As usual, our MD Paul Ellis is the conductor and Simon Clarkson the organist. Click here for full details.
We’re off on a European tour this March, though will be doing it from the safe confines of the Abbey! No politics, just great music! Join us on 18th March as we travel from Spain to Poland, Italy to Norway, with music from the sixteenth century to the twentieth. Scarlatti’s wonderful multi-part Stabat Mater and Langlais’ Messe solennelle are the main works in a programme which also includes music by Grieg, Bruckner, Brahms, Palestrina, Sweeklinck and Górecki. Click here for more details.