Israel in Egypt – concert dedicated to the very special Ian Bell

OUR performance of Handel’s Israel in Egypt is now being held in memory of popular Lay Clerk Ian Bell who was due to take one of the solo roles.

Ian, who had been a friend and colleague of our Musical Director Stephen Shellard for nearly 25 years, had been battling a terminal illness for some time and had been expected to sing on Saturday, June 13.

However his health suddenly deteriorated and he died in St Richard’s Hospice at the end of April. His memorial service last month saw Worcester Cathedral packed in tribute with family, colleagues and friends from across the UK.

Ian’s part is now being sung by his long-time friend Steve Grice who joins fellow soloists Vicki Field, David Barclay, Tom Hunt, Sebastian Field and Kirsten Offer.

Dedicating the performance of this magnificent oratorio was the natural thing for us as Ian had often fulfilled the role of solo bass in many previous Chamber Choir concerts.

Stephen says: “On his move to St Richard’s Hospice Ian had asked me for a copy of the Handel so that he might begin to prepare for the performance. He also talked about making an appearance with the Cathedral Choir at Evensong before long. However, fate stepped in and denied us one last chance to hear his superb bass voice.

“It was a pleasure and privilege to have known and worked with him for all those years”

The Worcester Chamber Orchestra will be accompanying on period instruments and we are particularly pleased to be joined by Lichfield Cathedral Chamber Choir who are the second choir for the many exciting double choir choruses.

This is a rare chance to hear one of Handel’s most exciting oratorios – described as ‘fierce and fabulous’ when it appeared on The Times’ recent Hot 50 list of things critics would pay to see this summer – in the beautiful surroundings of Worcester Cathedral. The concert begins at 7.30pm and tickets cost £15 (students and under 18s, £5).
They are available from the cathedral shop, on 01386 860389 or via www.worcestercathedralchamberchoir.co.uk

Ian Bell

Ian Bell

 

Israel

Become a Patron through our sponsorship scheme

Rehearsals are now well under way for our June 13, 2015 concert, Handel’s Israel in Egypt, which promises to be truly spectacular.

It’s a monumental work and we’re proud and delighted to be able to perform it in partnership with the Lichfield Chamber Choir as well as some superb soloists and the Worcester Chamber Orchestra on authentic period instruments.

Of course, this kind of bold and spectacular kind of event comes at a price.  That’s why, for the first time ever, we are inviting sponsorship through a special Patrons’ Scheme.

For full details see the letter below – we would love to have your support and would very much welcome you in Worcester Cathedral for what promises to be a memorable night of music making.

 

letterweb

Teaming up with Elgar Chorale and ESO for special concert

We’re delighted to be performing with the Elgar Chorale and English Symphony Orchestra in a very special concert celebrating Dr Donald Hunt’s 40 years of music making in Worcester.

Featuring soloists Catherine Wyn-Rogers and Tom Hunt, the programme features Sir Edward Elgar’s The Music Makers and Enigma Variations, Five Mystical Songs by Vaughan Williams and Donald Hunt’s own Song of Joy.

Taking place in Worcester Cathedral on October 18 – it should be a great evening!

Oct 18th Poster UPDATED FOR APPROVAL v2

Be part of our Pärt concert

There’s a rare opportunity to hear the ancient surroundings of Worcester Cathedral ringing to the modern sounds of one of the world’s leading contemporary composers this weekend.

Arvo Pärt’s Passio is being performed by the Worcester Cathedral Chamber Choir in a concert to mark Passion Sunday and, says Musical Director Stephen Shellard, is a work quite different to anything the singers have done before.

The choir is no stranger to singing something a little different to traditional classical music concerts or at Cathedral Services: it’s been a backing group for hit harmony group Blake and last year accompanied rock legend Rick Wakeman at his two live gigs in Cheltenham.

Now it’s tackling the contemporary Estonian composer’s telling of the St John Passion. Written in the early 1980s and set in Latin, it is a powerful demonstration of Pärt’s tintinnabuli style that harks back to medieval plainchant in its musical simplicity.

“The range of notes is sparse and constructed so that they linger in the air, during the many pauses, like the sound of a bell long after it’s been struck,” says Mr Shellard.

“The wonderful acoustics of Worcester Cathedral can only enhance that experience that in a way that is powerfully moving.

“A prime example of the composer’s minimalist style, Passio is a short work at just over an hour long. However it is proves a powerfully contemplative and moving piece that stays with the listener long after it the final notes have ended.”

The concert, sponsored by the Friends of Worcester Cathedral and Mr and Mrs David Hawkins is due to begin at 6.30pm on Sunday, April 6. Tickets cost £12 and are available on 01386 860389. Alternatively they can be booked on line at www.worcestercathedralchamberchoir.co.uk

First reviews for our new CD The Guest

Cover for our new CD

Cover for our new CD

The reviews are coming in for The Guest, our recording of the music of Birmingham born Australian composer Paul Paviour.
Crossrythms says: ‘The singing and organ playing are both good, the recording quality is excellent and the artwork features some beautiful paintings of Worcester Cathedral by local artist, the late Craig Letourneau’.
And Choir and Organ magazine writes: ‘There is an attractive vigour to Paviour’s choral music….The singing of the Worcester Cathedral Chamber Choir is engagingly expressive….Here is consistently inviting music well worth exploring’