Monday, 9 May 2011

Classical Journey Tuesday 10 May

The William Byrd festival, in his home village of Stondon Massey, continues this week. Last Saturday there was a talk on Byrd's life and music by Tudor music expert, Richard Turbet, and a concert of Byrd's music by the Stondon Singers. This Saturday there will be another concert of Byrd's music by the Writtle Singers.
Here in Exeter we can join in the celebration of Byrd's music by listening to the William Byrd Choir:

1. William Byrd: The Marian Masses for 4 voices:
      Suscepimus Deus, Iustitia, Magnus Dominus
2. Purcell: The Indian Queen
3. Handel: Solomon
3. Haydn: St Nicholas Mass
4. Mozart: Divertimento in D
5: Mozart: Flute Quartet
6. Beethoven: Fifth Symphony
7. Mendelssohn: Hear my Prayer
8. Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition
9. Satie: Gymnopedie
10. Elgar: Dream of Gerontius
11. Durufle: Requiem
12. Noble: Midsummer Days
13. Satoh: Incarnation II
14. Goss: Northern Lights
15. Daldorph: Jazz of Life

Late last night 'a listener' wrote in with this great piece about Kirill Karrabits' 'Festival of the Ukraine' at the Cathedral last Thursday. It sounds like it was an amazing evening. What a pity I missed it, but that's another story. Thank you dear listener!

Dear Luch,

Thanks for telling us on your programme about the Bournemouth Symphony special Ukrainian concert on 5th May. My friend and I went and it was WONDERFUL!  We had "St. John's Night on Bare Mountain" by Mussorgsky (orchestrated by Rimsky-Korsakov) which was very exciting/chilling with all the witchy dancing and Black-Sabbath-y bits (Kirill Karrabits, the conductor, is from the Ukraine himself and told us in the programme that The Bare Mountain is actually a real mountain just outside Kiev).
Then we had an orchestral piece by Lizst (always thought he only wrote for the piano!) called "Mazeppa" which is the story of a real Polish cavalry officer who was punished by being tied to the back of a wild horse and sent galloping off into the Ukrainian steppes.  He ended up there all alone but then some Ukrainians came and made him their leader so finally he was a sort of king.  This had great galloping rhythms at the start, a haunting middle section evoking Mazeppa alone in the steppes and then a triumphal ending.
The third piece was rather weird because it was a concerto for voice and orchestra by Gliere who, despite his name, was also Ukrainian.  The voice was coloratura soprano Ailish Tynan (who is Irish) and the whole point of it was using the voice as a musical instrument rather than in song, so there were no words.  It was bizarre - none of us had heard such a thing before - a bit like a bird singing and sometimes like a woman screaming (coloraturas sing very high) and it ended on an amazingly high top note.  We were sitting at the front of the south side aisle so couldn't really see Ailish, but were told later that this was just as well as she made some extraordinary faces and movements (some perilously close to exposing her ample bosom!)
After the interval we had Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" arranged for orchestra by Ravel and that was brilliant. It's a fab piece with all the different "pictures" (from a real memorial exhibition in 1873 for a painter called Hartmann) involving the orchestra in many changes of tempo, volume and style of playing.  From where we were, behind the double basses and next to the trumpets and trombones, the sound was mighty.  The only problem was that we couldn't see the huge percussion section very well, although we could hear them them playing like demons, so much so that near the end we could actually FEEL the sound vibrating in our chest cavities.  They had timpani,a massive bass drum, huge cymbals, glockenspiel, xylophone and tubular bells, all of which were going like the clappers during "The Great Gates of Kiev".  Wonderful stuff.  We came out of the cathedral on quite a high.  Oh, and during the performance, of course, we had the great treat of being able to see Kirill Karrabits face-on from where we were sitting - he is enthralling to watch with his hand and facial movements - so expressive and so compelling!
That was the last BSO concert in the Cathedral - they'll be back up to the University for the next season.
Thanks again for recommending the concert - and thanks for all your shows,
A Listener

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for starting your Classical Journey once again at Stondon Massey. The first weekend of the William Byrd Festival was a tremendous success and we look forward to the Writtle Singers concert tonight when they present a programme entitled 'William Byrd: Loyal Heart or Traitor?' For more visit