Saturday, 8 October 2011

The Counterpoint Choir Rehearse for Buckfast

As the date approaches for the great Counterpoint concert at Buckfast, the singers have been rehearsing here in Exeter at the University Chapel. Under the direction of David Acres, the choir have been practicing the exquisite sound and harmonies that have made them famous.

Informal but impressive -
Counterpoint rehearse in the University Chapel
Even in the stark interior of the empty chapel, with harsh lighting - and unforgiving acoustics - the sound they produce is already captivating. Even from a distance the music can be heard flooding through the building and out into the gardens. It is hard to believe that this small informal group can do so much.

Conductor David Acres brings out the very best
With no accompaniment - except the occasional note on the piano - The choir sing in perfect harmony. Incredibly complicated combinations of the different voices are made to seem simple, gently coordinated by director David Acres on the rostrum.

For the performance at Buckfast Abbey next Saturday, 15th October, the choir will be joined by countertenor James Bowman for several of his now legendary solo performances. At rehearsal there were also some familiar faces - and voices.

Julian Rippon joins the basses

Juliet Curnow Alto
Matthew Cann
composer of 'I am the True Vine'

A familiar voice on Phonic FM
Soprano (and radio presenter) Ann Draisey


That Buckfast Counterpoint Concert Programme in full:

Orlande de Lassus - Timor et tremor (Late 16th century)
Morten Lauridsen - O nata lux (from ‘Lux Aeterna’ 1997)
Howard Skempton - Ave Virgo Sanctissima (from '3 Motets' 2008)

Countenor Solos by James Bowman:
Plainchant - Salve Regina ('Hail Holy Queen' St Anselm of Lucca 1080)
Richard Farrant - Hide not thou thy face (Late 16th)
Thomas Campion - Never weather-beaten sail (1613)
Henry Purcell/John Dryden - Fairest Isle ('King Arthur' 1691)

Eric Whitacre - Lux Aurumque (2009)
John Tavener - Funeral Ikos (1981)


Premiere performance of a piece written for Counterpoint:
Matthew Cann - I am the true vine (John Gospel chapter 15 2011)

Cipriano de Rore - Parce mihi (early 16th)

Countertenor Solos by James Bowman:
Thomas Tallis - O nata lux de lumine (1575)
William Ballett/Charles Wood -
Sweet was the song the virgin sung (Lute Book 1600)
John Dowland - I saw my lady weepe
(Second Book of Songes or Ayres, late 16th)
Gibbons/Phineas Fletcher - Drop, drop slow tears
(Poetical Miscellanies 1633)

Eric Whitacre – Sleep (2009)
Gabriel Jackson - The Lord’s Prayer (2002)
Kiev Melody: Kontakion for the Departed
(Eastern Orthodox Memorial Service 1800)
(Arranged Hutchings/Translation Birkbeck)
Sir Edward Elgar  - Lux Aeterna (Nimrod, Enigma Variations - 1899)
(Arr John Cameron 1998)

This programme will be taken by Counterpoint to Brittany in only a few weeks time. Locmaria, in Quimper, Pont L'Abbe . . . an exciting itinerary. Catch them while they are still here -

Buckfast Abbey Saturday 15th October 7.30pm!

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