A little memory of our semi-staged show back in April, 'Pour un tombeau d'Anatole', with Sven Werner as part of our Open Space residency at Aldeburgh Music. With Zoë Brown, soprano, and John Crockatt, violin.
POUR UN TOMBEAU D'ANATOLE
For our third residency as an Open Space ensemble at Aldeburgh Music and a performance as part of the Easter Weekend, James Halliday leads a programme of 17th-century French and English music inspired by the fragmentary poems that Stéphane Mallarmé in memory of his son, Anatole.
Purcell, Charpentier, Marais, de Jeune, Janequin, Lambert and others form a musical memorial to a lost child, set within a visual context by way of projection and movement by Sven Werner.
Saturday 4 April 2015 6pm
Britten Studio, Snape Maltings
As you can see from the example above, we've been totally overwhelmed by the response to the Chamber Messiah in St John's Smith Square last Friday, 5th December. We also felt that it was our best performance of the piece so far.
Apart from the fact that illness stayed away and we finally had eight singers with no scores in the concert, the quality of the individual and collective musicianship hit a real high, and the work that we had done with Shakespeare director Tim Carroll to dramatise the piece took the project on to a new level. This is certainly something we would like to develop in the future.
If there are any more of you out there who enjoyed the performance and would like to share your response with us, please don't hesitate to contact us, and do join the mailing list or, best of all, become a Friend!
Looking ahead, our next two projects are:
- a residency at Aldeburgh Music in January (with Open Session on 15 Jan) for a staged concert on 4 April 2015 based on 17th-century French music, entitled 'Pour un tombeau d'Anatole'
- a tour with the Bernese baroque orchestra Les Passions de l'Ame of Telemann's Die Tageszeiten and J.S. Bach's 'Singet dem Herrn' and Orchestral Suite no.3, visiting Bern (18 March 2015), London (Handel Festival, 19 March, online booking from 19 Jan), and Cambridge (Early Music +44 1223 847330, 21 March).
We'd love to see you at one of those events.
Frohe Festtage und einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr!
We are very excited to be returning to St John's Smith Square in London to perform our trademark 'chamber Messiah'. Following last year's Christmas Oratorio (see video below), we're back at St John's due to popular demand. In the words of Handel scholar Dr Ruth Smith, "it bears repeating every year, it should become an institution."
We find that performing this work 2-to-a-part (with the singers taking the solos as well as the choruses), without conductor and from memory makes it an absolutely exhilarating experience. This year we are also collaborating with Tony-nominated Globe Theatre director Tim Carroll to bring the piece even closer to our audience.
We would love to see you at St John's on Friday 5th December at 7pm. There are still a few of the best seats left. Book here or on +44 207 222 1061. Halleluyah!
Our next project will be the workshopping of our staged production, 'The Hospital of Incurable Madness', at Aldeburgh Music in October.
There will be open sessions on 17 & 26 October. See Next Performances for more details.
We are fund-raising to enable us to put on the staged production at Wilton’s Music Hall in London in November 2015.
Rather than us copying the whole thing here, just follow this link for text and video!
We at Solomon’s Knot are longing to get back to the Suffolk air this weekend. We had four days of it earlier in April, and it was just what we needed to supercharge our lungs with the amount of oxygen required to sing J.S. Bach’s extremely long phrases (not helped by the fact that he didn’t like to write rests in between them).
Our time on that Open Space residency (and the one before it with just singers back in February) was in preparation for our concert as part of the Aldeburgh Music Easter Weekend this Sunday at 3pm in Orford Church, Suffolk. The time was incredibly valuable in terms of honing our collective awareness, and putting in the kind of preparation that our chamber music approach requires. We could discuss and agree on interpretation, practise tricky points of coordination, and solidify social bonds in the pub in Thorpeness!
Bach in particular poses challenges to ensemble and balance. In the first chorus of ‘Der Himmel lacht’ BWV 31, he switches instantly from Allegro to Adagio, with the music seemingly in full flow, to illustrate the text, “he who has chosen the grave as his resting place.” Moments like this require a precise interpretation of the tempo relationship, and plenty of rehearsal in order to coordinate it.
The programme is tailored to the day on which we are performing, as three of the pieces were specifically written for Easter – J.S. Bach’s cantatas ‘Christ lag in Todesbanden’ BWV 4 and ‘Der Himmel lacht’ BWV 31, and Johann Kuhnau’s ‘Wenn ihr fröhlich seid an euren Festen’ (see the title of this article for a broad translation). This work interprets Christ’s victory over death very literally as a military victory over a deadly adversary, and the fanfare deployment of four trumpets and timpani as well as five-part string and vocal groups is truly rousing. We frame the concert with Kuhnau’s very moving passiontide motet, ‘Tristis est anima mea’, and it’s reworking by Bach, with a more generally moralising German text, ‘Der Gerechte kommt um.’ The general trajectory of the concert should be one from darkness into light, whilst also drawing the connections between Bach and his immediate predecessor at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig.
There are some tickets still available for Sunday, and we very much look forward to taking our audience back to the Easter Sunday atmosphere of Leipzig around 300 years ago.
We are very excited to announce the first fruits of our Open Space Aldeburgh Music residencies: a concert in Orford Church at 3pm on Easter Sunday, entitled 'The Leipzig Connection'. The programme features Easter cantatas by J.S. Bach and his predecessor as Thomaskantor in Leipzig, Johann Kuhnau. The music varies from focusing on the death of Christ ('Christ lag in Todesbanden' BWV 4), to the full glory of Easter, with trumpets blazing and drums throbbing (Kuhnau's 'Wenn ihr fröhlich seid an euren Festen').
Solomon's Knot will assume its largest formation in recent times, with 10 singers and 19 instrumentalists. The singers will perform from memory, and the concert should have a similar impact to the recent chamber Christmas Oratorio.
Tickets are selling fast, though there are some left, available here.
We're really looking forward to seeing you there.
JS Bach Mass in B minor at Lake District Summer Music 29 July 7.30pm
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