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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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More News...

 

An Easter Opera Festival
31st March 2013
 
 

Jesus Christ is ris’n today, Alleluia!

After all the snowy excitement of Palm Sunday, Easter Sunday opened with sunshine and clear crisp skies. This year, rather than a Vigil service at All Saints, we celebrated with a 6AM Dawn service and Proclamation of Easter. With the clocks going forward by one hour that morning, it was certainly an early start, but the girl choristers, choral scholars, lay clerks and a hardy congregation turned up in fine spirits to greet the triumphant Easter morn. As the fire on the portico was carefully tended into new life, so the mystery of Easter was once again recalled. The service concluded with The Blessing of the Eggs, which were distributed amongst all members of the choir and congregation. For many of the choir, this egg was to be the start of solid breakfast! With the girls and men

staying at Church to sing for the 1030AM High Mass, they tucked into a hearty breakfast of eggs and bacon sandwiches, before swiftly moving on to the next practice.

The High Mass this year was marked by the performance of church music written by some of the greatest composers of music for the opera stage. The mass was sung to a setting by Giacomo Puccini – his Messa di Gloria. A spectacular setting for choir, orchestra, tenor, bass and baritone soloists, this Mass was first performed in Lucca in 1880, but not then performed again until 1952 in Chicago, despite being well-received at the time; however, Puccini did reuse some of the themes in other works. Many consider Puccini to be the greatest operatic composer after Verdi, and our celebration service on Easter Day certainly put this case strongly!
 

  

To perform the solos, we were delighted to welcome back to All Saints as our soloists Robert Tilson (Tenor) and Daniel Wyman (Baritone). Both are former choristers, then choral scholars, and both are now studying for a BMus in Vocal Studies at Birmingham Conservertoire, where they are entering their final year. It was a real pleasure to have them sing with us once again, and to hear how their voices have matured and developed – with so many young people involved in the music at All Saints, it is always especially pleasing when former choristers or choral

scholars return, providing inspiration and boosting enthusiasm for the younger musicians coming up through the programme behind. In September they will be joined at Birmingham by one of our current Choral Scholars, Alistair Donaghue (Bass) – for more on Alistair see the news item on the Treble Makers.

Returning to play the organ was familiar face and renowned opera buff, David Bednall, composer and Sub-Organist of Bristol Cathedral. David has written a number of works for All Saints, including our Psalm 150 and his setting of the Passion, written to accommodate both organs and both treble lines. Dave is also much acclaimed as an improviser on the organ, and his accompanying of the service, from first note to the final fling, was wonderfully in keeping with the high operatic style of the programmed music – rarely can the gospel flourish at All Saints have been quite so elaborate!
 

 

The motet of the day was the Easter Hymn by Pietro Mascagni. Marking 150 years since his birth this year, Mascagni’s one-act opera from which the motet was taken - Cavalleria rusticana – was considered a sensation in its day, with Mascagni taking 40 curtain calls on the opening night, and a series of sell-out performances in Italy, Berlin, and London, all within the first year. The Easter Hymn, performed at All Saints, is sung by the villagers who gather outside the Church in which the majority of the opera takes place, set in a 19th century Sicilian village on Easter morning.


Sticking with the grand Italian style, to play out the choir and clergy, Dave provided the much-loved Grand March from Act 2, Scene 2 of Aida, by Giuseppe Verdi, considered the most influential composer of operas in the nineteenth century. The march was joyous and rousing, and a perfect conclusion to this spectacular feast of operatic choral music for our Easter celebrations.

 

 



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