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Thank you to everyone who came to our For Those We Loved concert to remember in St Philips Cathedral, 2 April.

It was uplifting, comforting, thought-provoking, triumphant and a minor miracle that it happened at all after so many covid disruptions during its preparation.

But finally the performance came together starting with the emotional: A Prayer to Ukraine.

Beautiful works by Vaughan Williams, Parry, and Holst were performed in addition to the world premiere of Paul Spicer’s moving

 Sound the Invisible Trumps composed during the first lockdown spring 2020.

The baritone soloist, Ed Ballard, organist Martyn Rawles, and Choir soloists: Emily Matthews (soprano), Georgina Gardner (soprano), Jonathan Spencer (alto), Isaac Boulter (tenor) & Philip Bellshaw (bass) were all applauded by both reviewers and audience (see Reviews below) but above all praise goes to Paul Spicer for his new composition and the high quality of the whole programme.

Ed Ballard

"seductive and magnetic at all times”
Bachtrack.

 Read the Reviews here…..

 

Chris Morley

“A wonderful return to live music…..heartwarming”

To read: https://t.co/8rKe25XANk

 

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David Barton

"Be under no illusion, this is an amateur choir who achieve professional standards….everything you could wish for. Outstanding soloists, a first-class organist and a passionate choir, but equally, none of last night would have been possible without their conductor, and also composer, Paul Spicer.

To read: https://www.davidbartonmusic.co.uk/concert-review-for-those-we-loved/

 

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Rosemary Philips

 "The Choir sang so musically throughout with great commitment to the text and the phrasing….”

Click here to read

 

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Keith Horsfall

“(The choir) embraced the whole work with skill and dedication”.

Click here to read

 

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Paul Gray

"Paul Spicer’s deep immersion and understanding of the works of British composers of the late 19th and early 20thcentury was evident throughout the evening.  The characteristic long phrases were exquisitely shaped.  The choir’s excellent diction highlighted the close relationship between text and music…"

To read: http://reviewsgate.com/

Our sincere thanks to The Roughley Trust for their generous support for this performance

Premiered Saturday 2 April, St Philip’s Cathedral

LISTEN HERE

LISTEN HERE to Movements from this world premiere,
(recorded live on a phone by an audience member)

 

Movement 2 : Brief is our Life  5.01 mins

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1E0ZWgCDvD8rQtCH1iqYL0u9lUebuiPs7/view?usp=sharing

 

 

Movement 3 :An Ancient Olive   2.43 mins

Soloist; Ed Ballard (baritone)

https://drive.google.com/file/d/124i0aM7xJaGI0IR82SXj7-rxA-UrT8_U/view?usp=sharing

 

 

Movement 5 Beside an altar of stone  1.38 mins

Soloist: Emily Matthews (soprano)

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1naoSKpjhtPLw9rSVbTddLZ7KziTn2RkA/view?usp=sharing

 


About Sound the Invisible Trumps by Paul Spicer

  World Premiered 2 April

 

Commissioned by the Choir, generously funded by our past President, the late Pauline Round in her will.

It stands as a testament to this very moment in time of pandemic crisis and to Pauline’s close relationship with us.

Each movement uses a different poem for the libretto (including anonymous texts from the 12th century,  the Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore, Walter de la Mare, and Pauline Round).

The title, Sound the Invisible Trumps is from the poem by Walter de la Mare.

 

 Paul says of the work:... it is essentially a ‘darkness to light’ theme with the pandemic as the backdrop.

     A very big and satisfying job resulting in 7 movements and 23 minutes of music.

     I am particularly happy with the final movement which really dances its way through and should be quite exciting.

     These quick, upbeat movements are always the hardest to do and it was very important that this one should be a complete release from all that has gone before.

 

     Pauline is the overall dedicatee of course, and I am very pleased to have been able to use two of her poems.

     These are what I call the ‘sorbet’ courses between bigger, fully-fledged pieces. They are both unaccompanied.

 

Mike Lloyd is the sub-dedicatee of the second movement, husband to Merryn, soprano, and close friend of the Choir, who tragically did not survive the covid virus.

More about Paul Spicer

Read more about Paul’s work with The Royal Conservatoire Chamber Choir…..

Paul Spicer conducting Birmingham Bach Choir 4 Dec 2021

Exciting Announcement

Saturday 19 November we will perform Bach’s glorious Christmas Oratorio in Lichfield Cathedral

Sok szerencsét Dominic

Dominic Faux performed his last concert with us this spring, having first joined in 1970 as a medical student, and then rejoined in 2008 as a ‘prelude’ to retirement.

A retired GP he now spends more time with family in Hungary.

We wish him every joy with them, and will miss his voice & humour.

"There is a special feel about singing in a choir, not only as a creative action, but also as a social activity.

I shall especially miss my Bass 1 friends - the ‘Heldenbasses’ as I call them - and I shall also miss the intellectual and musical challenge of singing complex music.

The highlights in my second spell in the choir include the trips abroad, and the big Bach works (B-Minor Mass, St Matthew passion, St. John Passion).

Bach is the greatest. Singing James MacMillan in Birmingham Oratory was also a great experience.” (Dominic April 2022)

Would you like to join the Fabulous Five ?

Would you like to join our most recent recruits of Lucy, Isaac, Catherine, Sarah and Georgina who all started with us in the past 6 months

To find out more about them click here

Our new singers (but Lucy’s spaniels will not be performing!)

If you would like to join the choir click here for details

Would you like to join us ?

Next auditions: 11th May.

For more info please click here

Read here about our concert, O Clap Your Hands, on 4 December

Birmingham Bach Choir conducted by Paul Spicer, St Philip’s Cathedral 4 Dec 2021

 

 

The programme was kicked off with Vaughan Williams "O Clap Your Hands" and followed by Walton, Leighton, Britten, Dvorak plus the world premiere of David Bednall’s "The Dear Bargain" commissioned by the choir for our centenary celebrations 2 years ago

 

Despite being down to only 47 singers on the day Paul Spicer wrote:

”a really terrific concert. David Bednall was thrilled with your performance of his beautiful work. A really brilliant restart after 2 years”

 

 

Congratulations to our lovely soloists and organist from Royal Birmingham Conservatoire: Isabella Abbot Parker, Hope Pugh, Timothy Burton, Alex Pratley & Callum Alger

 

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"what singing! This is not easy repertoire but a high standard was set from the outset with a truly atmospheric and expressive opening"

(Prof David Saint)

"what a celebration! The work of most interest was the premiere performance of David Bednall’s The Dear Bargain, commissioned by the choir for its centenary. It played to the strengths of the choir, who sang confidently and captured all the moods of the piece, especially the radiant ending“

(Peter Morris)

Photos by Frank Wood

Memories of our Centenary Concert in Lichfield Cathedral

photo: Frank Wood

 

Our last concert before the pandemic hit was such a wonderful celebration for our 100 years.

We remember our superb orchestra (The Musical and Amicable Society), soloists (Anita Watson, Samantha Price, Mark Wilde and Felix Kemp) and our own Martyn Rawles (on the chamber organ) performing with us to an absolutely packed cathedral.

Aaah happier times!

 

Pictures below of the hardworking final rehearsal and actual concert

(with gratitude to Frank Wood & Dave Freak for their photos)

So many thanks to all who helped keep us together singing during the long lockdown for singers

A Covid secure rehearsal with Paul Spicer

 

We spent most of our time together on zoom sessions.

Many thanks to Paul & Martyn for their perserverance with the technology -  not easy for Paul to conduct us without hearing us, nor for us to sing each in isolation in our own homes.

Paul conducting us on zoom with regular accompanist Martyn

Our sincere thanks go to:

The Grimmitt Trust, The Saintbury Trust, The S&D Lloyd Trust, The John Feeney Charitable Trust, and the W.E. Dunn Trust who have all supported us recently.

 

We also acknowledge with thanks the work of professional photographers Adrian Burrows, Frank Wood and Rob Gillespie, whose photographs appear on this website.

SAVE THE DATES

 

Saturday 21 May

Come & Sing!

Selly Oak Methodist Church

 

Saturday 25 June:

Lux Aeterna - A Summer Concert

St Paul’s, Birmingham

 

Saturday 2 July:

Lux Aeterna - A Summer Concert

Malvern Priory, Malvern

 

Saturday 19 November:

J S Bach - Christmas Oratorio

Lichfield Cathedral

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