Thursday, 11 October 2012

Entente Cordiale

Back from our rather non-existent Summer Cantilena is now working hard for the autumn concert.

The title will be "Sing Noel" and is a happy mixture of French and English Christmas music. At the heart of the concert will be Charpentier's Messe De Minuit. This work is full of delights; I was amused by  the following comment attached to Youtube recording: "Poor Louis XIV. He had to put up with Lully, while the Princess de Guise had this glorious music in her chapel."

We will contrast this with Poulenc's four Christmas motets which contrast tenderness with acerbic harmonies to great effect.

Then in the 2nd half we move back to 20th C England, with Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on Christmas Carols, the sweet  "The Lamb" by Tavener and other treats.

Entente Cordiale indeed!

Here are the details:

Date:   15 December 2012
Time:   7.30 pm
At:        St Mary's Church, Glastonbury
Tickets: £10.00

Watch this space for updates!

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

A Garland for the Queen

Having started 2012 in a royal vein with their Chapel Royal Concert in March, Cantilena is following this through with a summer concert filled with music celebrating the two Queen Elizabeths.

In 1601, two years before Elizabeth I's death, the composer Thomas Morley published a book of madrigals called "The Triumphs of Oriana". All the madrigals, which were supplied by many different composers, had to include a setting of the words "Then sang the shepherds and nymphs of Diana/Long live fair Oriana"

Diana, the virgin goddess, was obviously the right member of the classical pantheon to represent the Virgin Queen and all the madrigals are strictly pagan in tone. Queen Elizabeth I was referred to as "Oriana" although the meaning and reason are obscure and some historians suggest she didn't like the nickname!

When Queen Elizabeth II succeded to the throne in 1952, a number of English composers were invited to contribute to a loosely connected group of pieces entitled "A Garland for the Queen" to commemorate her coronation. Composers included Vaughan Williams, Ireland and Finzi.

Benjamin Britten wrote an opera called "Gloriana" in the Queen's honour which wasn't entirely successful, but his choral dances remain.

We can't think of a better way to express our respect and admiration for these two amazing queens than to combine pieces from both these groups of music into one glorious concert.

We will be joined by local folk band Rough Round the Edges

Come & hear us on Saturday 14 July 2012 at 7.00pm at the Somerset Rural Life Museum. Tickets are £10.00 and include wine, Feel free to bring a picnic!

For tickets or more information call  01278 722870 or buy tickets from the Glastonbury Music Shop.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Beyond the Fringe

Well, part of it, really. This year music in Glastonbury takes another step forward with the Glastonbury Fringe Festival. This is a selection of performances from artistes within the Glastonbury area, given in a range of venues in the town.

Cantilena is taking part in this with a concert on 25 June at the United Reformed Church in Glastonbury. We will be performing a sampler of unaccompanied music taken from our repertoire.

The concert will start at 7.30 pm, tickets £5.00 to be purchased on the door.

For more about the Glastonbury Fringe: visit:

This is an ideal opportunity for you to hear what we can do. We look forward to seeing you!

Sunday, 25 March 2012

The Best Yet

Or so one audience member said to me last night. The audience certainly didn't limit themselves to smattering of polite clapping at the end of our Purcell "Sing Unto the Lord" concert on Saturday evening. The necessity of giving extra curtain calls even confused some choir members who didn't realise that they could walk back on stage for further applause.

With a choir of mixed abilities, such as Cantilena, it's easy to wonder at the start of each term whether we have pushed the boat out a bit far this time and how we are ever going to pull it all together. And this Spring term was shorter than usual.

But we did, is all that can be said. An all-female orchestra (until the trumpets joined us in the second half) produced a rich, yet authentic sound and our vocal soloists sounded pure and co-ordinated. And where would we have been without Jacquelyn, our indefatigable organist?

In the atmosphere of the concert venue, concentration is heightened and that reflects in the music, giving it the tension needed to communicate the music to the audience. And doesn't Purcell know how to communicate! Whether it's the doom-laden "full of misery" in the funeral sentences, the sexy "come my fair one" so sensuously passed between Alto & Soprano in "My Beloved Spake" or the glorious trumpets in the Jubilate & Te Deum", all all works superbly.

Perhaps we should give the last word to the trumpets who gave the finale the real tingle-factor. "It's fine so long as you don't make a mistake" said one of the trumpeters to me "if you do, there's no hiding!"

Which is true, but there were no mistakes and we all tingled to the end!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

A Right Royal Year

It seems to me that 2012 is Britain's Big Year. What with the Olympics and the Royal Jubilee, we are all rooting for Blighty!

And Cantilena is no exception! Our Spring and Summer concerts will both have a royal theme.

To start with the Spring. One of England's greatest ever composers was Henry Purcell. He died at the age of 36 and was a great loss to our  culture. Much of his music he wrote whilst in employment at the Chapel Royal. This ranges from the delightfully light-hearted "My Beloved Spake" to the penitential "Suffer us not, Lord" and the sorrowing funeral pieces he wrote for Queen Mary's death in December 1694.

Cantilena will be performing a selection of Chapel Royal pieces and combining with soloists, strings and organ, plus a trumpet for the "Te Deum" and "Jubilate" to make this a real treat.

Put the date in your diary - more details to follow:

"Sing unto the Lord" Music by Henry Purcell for the Chapel Royal
7.30 pm, Saturday 24 March 2012  at St Mary's Church, Glastonbury