Friday, 6 July 2012

Counterpoint Choir return to Buckfast Abbey 'The Journey from Mediaeval to Renaissance - part III' Saturday 7 July

Counterpoint Musical Director, David Acres
(Photographed in the phonic FM studio by Cecil Hatfield)

Tomorrow night the Counterpoint Choir will be at Buckfast Abbey to sing a vast programme of mediaeval and choral music. There are details below about how to obtain tickets, and catch one of the great concerts of the season.

Previous Concerts: Mozart's Requiem Mass

Counterpoint Choir were last seen in concert at Exeter Cathedral - singing Mozart's Requiem Mass:

Cathedral Precentor Carl Turner introduces
The Counterpoint Choir
David Acres conducts
Mozart's Requiem Mass in D minor
Four Soloists
Julian Rippon (bass), Edward Woodhouse (tenor)
Juliet Curnow (alto), Denise Kehoe (soprano)
(Photo Daniel Hayward)
There was a very select gathering at Exeter Cathedral on Saturday 19th May for the long-awaited return of David Acres' choir, 'Counterpoint'. With all seats removed from the side-aisles, the choir stood in a loose semi-circle on the stone flags of the transept crossing, facing a capacity audience in the nave.

High above them, organist David Davies sat at the console of the mighty Loosemoore organ - which has been in operation, with more recent additions, for three and a half centuries. At a pre-arranged signal from David Acres the organ rang out and the great mass began. Sopranos to the left, altos to the right, and tenors and basses behind, the voices combined perfectly.

First they sang Mozart's great 'Mass in D minor'. In the Introit, one voice soared above the others. Soprano soloist Denise Kehoe. Later she was joined by the familiar and beautiful voices of alto Juliet Curnow, tenor Edward Woodhouse and bass Julian Rippon. A wonderful combination, and a magnificent performance of the mass by the choir.

After a break the choir returned for two pieces without soloists, Morten Lauridsens's 'Lux Aeterna' and Ola Gjeilo's 'Sanctus'. Two lovely pieces to complete the programme.

The concert was everything the audience expected, spiritually moving and musically perfect. So many talented singers combining their voices under the gentle and confident guidance of David Acres. David Davies should also get a mention for his perfect organ accompaniment.

All proceeds went to the bursary fund for young boy and girl choristers at the Cathedral. That investment will ensure that future generations can enjoy choral music of the same high quality as Counterpoint's 'Mass in D minor'.


Since the success of the Mozart Requiem, four familiar soloists from Counterpoint Choir have been working together to develop a concert programme for their new ensemble 'Leofric' (named after Exeter's founding Bishop). They delighted a Saturday lunchtime audience at the Chapter House with their wonderful a capela quartet singing and solo songs (with piano accompaniment by another Counterpoint singer - tenor Frazier MacDiarmid).

Soprano Daisy Walford
Tenor Edward Woodhouse

Alto Harry Castle
Baritone Andrew Henley
The 'Leofric' Quartet

With Pianist Frazier MacDiarmid

Tomorrow's Concert:


Buckfast Abbey Saturday 7 July 7.30pm

The third and final exposition of this 500 year period

Soprano: Denise Kehoe
Alto: Juliet Curnow

This Saturday's Programme:

 1St Anselm, Lucca c.1020 - Plainsong: 'Salve Regina' ('Hail, holy Queen')

 2. Magister Petronius, Notre Dame c.1190 - 'Beata viscera Marie Virginis' ('Mary's blessed flesh')

 3. Alfonso X ("El Sabio" - The Wise) Castille c.1260 - 'Virgen Santa Maria' ('Holy Virgin Mary')

 4. York Mystery Plays c.1350 - 2 excerpts

 5. John Dunstaple, Bedford c.1425 - 'Quam pulcra es' ('How beautiful you are')

 6. Guillaume Dufay, Cambrai c.1460 - 'Alma redemptoris mater' ('Saviour's loving mother')

 7Josquin des Prez, Rome c.1490 - 'Ave Maria' ('Hail Mary')

 8. John Taverner,  Lincolnshire c.1520 - 'O Christe Jesu, pastor bone' ('Good shepherd, Jesus')


 9. Jacob Clemens non Papa, Belgium c.1530 - 'Ego Flos Campi' ('I am the flower of the field')

10. Thomas Tallis, London/Canterbury c.1540 - 'O sacrum convivium' ('O sacred banquet')

11. John Sheppard, London c.1550 - 'Media Vita' ('In the midst of life') - a 20 minute epic!

12. William Byrd, London c.1575 - 'Ave verum corpus' ('Hail true body')

13. Orlando Gibbons, London c.1610 - 'O clap your hands' (Psalm 47)

And, to return the Abbey to its proper purpose, the concert will be followed by:

Orlando Gibbons: 'Drop, drop, slow tears'
(Song 46 in Hymns and Songs of the Church, words by Phineas Fletcher, 1623)

Tickets are available - check with David Acres himself!

Director of Music: David Acres
Tickets: £10 (advance £8)
David Acres: 01392 490398
Counterpoint website

1 comment:

  1. Apropos William Byrd: it was great that your programme featured the composer's link with Stondon Massey in Essex when we held a successful 'William Byrd Festival' in May 2011. Well, I now am very pleased to say that one of the greatest early music choirs in Britain - Cardinall's Musick, directed by Andrew Carwood - is coming to the Church to perform two concerts as part of a nationwide 'Byrd Tour' on Sunday 2 September. To say that I am looking forward to the event is an understatement! Andrew Carwood, who I met at another 'Byrd Tour' concert - at Fotheringhay Church in Northants - last weekend says that he would very much like to bring the choir to the place where Byrd is buried. To hear Cardinall's Musick live is an incredible aural experience.