|Conductor Andrew Daldorph|
plays, sings and conducts the Exeter Chamber Choir in rehearsal
(obscuring wife Sally)
. . . and turns his own pages!
(Sally Daldorph extreme right)
The choir was formed in 1997 and formerly directed by Antony le Fleming. There are currently about 40 singers from all over Devon, selected by audition for clarity of voice and sight reading ability. There repertoire extends from the early music of the Renaissance to the twenty first century. They have performed with Devon Baroque several times already. In their first year they got together to perform Bach's B Minor Mass in Exeter Cathedral. Since then they have given joint performances of Handel's Messiah at St George's Church in Tiverton for Christmas 2005 and, more recently, Bach's John Passion at Dartington Hall in March this year. Rehearsal for the current project started in September. Bach's Christmas Oratorio, composed towards the end of his career in 1734 when he was Cantor and Musical Director in Leipzig, is his most complex oratorio involving six whole cantatas. It would be wonderful to hear the complete work but, for an evening performance, it will be necessary to omit cantatas 2 and 4. This still leaves three hours of baroque magnificence for us to enjoy on Saturday night.
Exeter Chamber Choir also perform modern works. In October last year the choir performed Andrew Daldorph's own oratorio 'Songs of Hope and Creation' to a sell-out audience and a standing ovation. For that concert they were singing in collaboration with the East Devon Choral Society. The soprano soloist? Amy Daldorph! The orchestra on that occasion included some other familiar names: Hilary Boxer led the 'cellists, Julie Hill was amongst the violins and the organist was Andrew's former mentor at Guildford Cathedral, Andrew Millington (who is directing his own concert 'Christmas with the Cathedral Choir' next Saturday).
The Exeter Chamber Choir will be performing again on the evening of Tuesday 14th December, a Christmas Carol Service at Buckfast Abbey with a retiring collection in aid of Age Concern Exeter. Next year on 5th March they will be performing at Crediton Parish Church with the Beare Trio. Regular listeners to the 'Classical Journey' will know that the trio is: 'cellist Hilary Boxer from Kentisbeare, clarinettist/saxophonist Chris Gradwell from Beer and the pianist - Andrew Daldorph - who enjoys his beer!
|Actress and singer Susan Gunn-Johnson|
marks Tuesday 30th November
(St Andrew's Day!)
by wearing the Gunn dress tartan
One interesting feature of Tuesday's rehearsal was that it was held on St Andrew's Day. (How could Luch Càise-Dearg forget that!) One choir member proudly sporting the family tartan was Susan Gunn-Johnson. Susan is familiar to us for her acting performance as Lady Bracknell in 'The Importance of being Earnest' with the Exeter Little Theatre Company at the Barnfield Theatre at the end of September. Her husband is, of course, The Venerable David Gunn-Johnson, Archdeacon of Barnstaple.
If you tune in to the Classical Journey Baroque Special this afternoon from 2-4pm you can hear recordings of the rehearsal (which are outstanding), interviews with the choir members (particularly Sally Daldorph) and recordings of Andrew Daldorph's own oratorio 'Songs of Hope and Creation'. In a two hour programme of baroque we will also have time to hear some of the greatest baroque masterpieces in full: Arcangelo Corelli's Sonata No 12 'La Follia', Pietro Locatelli's Concerto Grosso in C minor and the sumptuous opening chorale of Bach's St John Passion, 'Herr unser Herrscher'. We also have a beautiful recording of Broadclyst soprano Bethany Partridge singing an aria, also from the John Passion, 'Ich folge dir gleichfals' (I follow you also).
'Cellist Hilary Boxer is performing with pianist Susan Steele in the Exeter Central Library Music Room on Monday in a lunchtime concert (tea and bakewell tart at noon, Bach Boccherini and Beethoven from 12.30-1.30, admission £4). So we can look forward to that with a recording of Hilary playing the Bach 'Cello Concerto.
There will also be time for some more modern music - Jazz performances by Andrew Daldorph on piano with Chris Gradwell playing clarinet and saxophone.
Details of tomorrow's Oratorio?