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12th September 2015
This year's choir medallists

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13th April 2015
Former chorister returns for concert with her brilliant new choir! Sat 23rd May 2015

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31st October 2014
An English Autumn Concert : 21st November 2014

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3rd September 2014
A New Year and a New Music Department

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5th May 2014
David Arcus begins as Interim Director of Music!

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11th April 2014
New Music Staff

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31st March 2014
Clare Competition Winner

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17th February 2014
Mozart with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

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16th February 2014
Choral Evensong in Cambridge

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7th February 2014
Rage and Romance : Part 1 Done!

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2nd February 2014
Be a Chorister at Candlemas!

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1st February 2014
Our New Archdeacon Arrives

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31st January 2014
ASS needs you!!!

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25th January 2014
The Men in Southwell

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5th January 2014
A New Year’s Tour in Vienna

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26th December 2013
Christmas has just Begun!

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19th December 2013
Mandela Memorial Service

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5th December 2013
Our New Boy Bishop

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22nd November 2013
The Dove is Launched!

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22nd November 2013
Composition Competition

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Concert: Ceremony of Carols
20th January 2012
 

  

To complete the great celebrations of Christmas, the Girls and Men performed a warming selection of winter choral favourites, all inspired by the Birth of Jesus Christ. With the Church lit only by candles, the Girl Choristers processed in to the haunting plainsong of Benjamin Britten’s spine-tingling suite A Ceremony of Carols. After three very successful years in America, Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears boarded a Swedish cargo vessel, the Axel Johnson, on the 16th March 1942 for their return to Britain. It was a long and boring journey that took nearly a month. U-boat activity was at its height so it was probably rather frightening too. At this time Britten had started Hymn to St. Cecilia and a piece for Benny Goodman. He intended to finish these on board but customs officials confiscated the manuscripts on the doubtful proposition that they could be a secret code. (Britten managed to restart and finish 'Hymn' but

the Goodman Piece was lost forever). During the voyage they berthed at Halifax, Nova Scotia, where Britten came across a book of medieval poems and some of these he set during the voyage as the 'Ceremony of Carols'. It is an unusual setting in eleven movements for upper voices and harp; for this performance the girls were joined once again by the fabulously talented local harpist Rowena Bass, who also performed a mesmerising solo item, Watching the Wheat by John Thomas.
 

 

The girls were accompanied by the Director of Music on the piano for two very different settings of the New Year Carol, a text which was included by Walter de la Mare in his anthology of poems for children, Tom Tiddler’s Ground (1931). Despite both writing for the same forces, Britten and Howells could not have set this puzzling text more differently. Where Britten chooses a gently wandering depiction of the ‘new water from the well’, Howells produces an infectious romp to ‘let the New Year in’.
 

Finally, the girls were joined by the Choral Scholars, Lay Clerks, and the Organist Roger Palmer for a few broader settings, including Howells’ rarely heard and richly chromatic Tryste Noël, dedicated to Sir David Willcocks and John Rutter. The concert concluded with movements from Charpentier’s invigorating Messe de Minuit pour noël, last heard at All Saints at Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. The concert finished just as the candles were beginning to flicker and fade, and so the Christmas music was packed away for another year.
 

 



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