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Coming soon….sublime music for this summer

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At last a performance of Rachmaninoff’s Liturgy of St John Chrysostom in our life time

What a wonderful concert!

This concert of Rachmaninoff’s rarely performed work was a very moving occasion made particularly special by the enthusiasm and appreciation of the splendid audience who packed St Paul’s church from all corners of the region to hear this extraordinary work, and gave the performance a standing ovation.

 

 

As Martyn Parfect reflected (see review below) When first performed in 1910, the Moscow Synodal School said that this work was  not suitable for church use  “……absolutely wonderful, even too beautiful, but with such music it would be difficult to pray; it is not church music.” Well, they were wrong: it is suitable, and St Paul’s Church was the best place to hear it.

 

The soloists were much praised: Graham Stroud (choir tenor member) sang both tenor and baritone cantor parts (due to the sudden illness of the baritone William Robinson) and Corinna Gregory (choir soprano member).

 

What the reviewers said:

 

"….among the finest in the country is undoubtedly the Birmingham Bach Choir: confident, assured, riveting, exciting.

In setting before his audience a work of staggering beauty and intensity, which scarcely any of them will have encountered before. But also in putting his choir through its paces in a work whose challenge was in itself a tribute from him to its members, an expression of confidence in his singers. What a success. What a treat. And what an achievement.   “

 

Read more from Roderic Dunnet

 

"I had to join a long queue of people outside, also eager to hear a rare performance – maybe the first one in Birmingham - and St Paul’s church was packed when I took my seat.

It is a tough ask for a choir to perform such a lengthy unaccompanied work, but this fine ensemble was clearly able to carry it off with aplomb, evident even from the very first Amen."

 

Read more from Martyn Parfect

 

.."As always, the choir’s blend of voices under the direction of Paul Spicer was lovely to hear with both the tenors and sopranos in particular excelling in some explosive moments. The work calls for sudden dynamic changes and these were handled convincingly throughout."

 

Read more from Keith Horsall

What’s happening in Bridgnorth this summer?

 Beautiful Brahms is our summer concert in the Church of St Mary Magdalene, 24 June

(then repeated in the CBSO Centre Birmingham 1 July)

Click here for details

 

 

Earlier in June is the annual Bridgnorth English Haydn Festival:

6 - 10 June

A programme of music for solo instruments and small ensembles.

For details and tickets

What a Good Sing!

Our 2023 Come & Sing of Dvorak’s Stabat Mater was a tremendous success.

Such a gorgeous work.

 

Thank you to all who came, to all who organised it (led by Heather Gay) and especially to Paul Spicer for inspiring us all, Paul Carr for accompanying us beautifully, and our fabulous 4 x soloists: Corinna Gregory, Judith Moreland,  Ben Thompson, and Philip Bellshaw.

We were joined for the workshop by BBCWM’s Kath Stanczyszym.

 

 "A great way to spend a Saturday afternoon” and  “Birmingham Bach Choir are fantastic"

(Kath Stanczyszyn, BBCWM)

 

You can hear in full what she had to say here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p0dy6f2z (go to 3hrs 40 mins 40 secs )

Handing out music, the impressive raffle prizes, warm up exercises, our soloists, getting to know people around us, amazing homemade cakes, and having a good sing.

Looking back over the past 12 months

Thank you to all who came to our traditional service of Nine Lessons and Carols

Despite being a very cold day many joined us and appreciated this lovely service.

Many thanks to St Alban’s Church for their very warm welcome.

Rehearsal in full swing before the service. Conductor: Paul Spicer. Organist: Paul Carr

 

Rosemary Philips:

Birmingham Bach Choir raised our spirits with their glorious singing …….A truly memorable Service, reflecting the real meaning of Christmas!

Read more from Rosemary here.

 

John Gough:

It was thrilling to sing the familiar tunes while surrounded by such choral splendour ….I was lost in admiration for the beauty and skill on display in almost every piece in the programme. 
Read more from John here.

 

 

Our organist Paul Carr, who thrilled all with his playing, wrote: It was a very special and uplifting occasion.

Of the Dupré he said: – it’s one of my all-time favorite pieces. I recorded it for YouTube at St Chad’s last year.
Here it is: https://youtu.be/lauwtYuSgKQ

Our J S Bach's Christmas Oratorio Concert

The Cathedral was packed for our concert on 19 November. Thank you to all those who came.

Paul Spicer, celebrating his 30 years with the Choir wrote afterwards:

"I was so proud of the choir this evening. It was a fabulous performance. Life affirming and you all rose to the occasion magnificently. Bravo all round”

 

Photo memories of the evening at Lichfield.

Photographer: Frank Wood

 

It was a joyous performance in every sense with amazing playing from The Musical & Amicable Society orchestra on their baroque-style instruments, and fabulous soloists: Sofia Ticciati (soprano), James Laing (countertenor), Daniel Auchincloss (tenor), Ashley Riches (baritone) and Thomas  Hobbs (as the Evangelist).

Read the Reviews

...an evening of exhilaration, beauty and deep musical satisfaction. Add to this an outstanding period ensemble, first-class soloists and a full cathedral and you will understand why this listener was simply enthralled from start to finish.
Prof David Saint.

Click here to read more

The choir sang with clear diction, with enormous energy and at times with great emotion, especially in their moving rendition of the devotional a capella chorale Ich steh an deiner Krippen hier (I stand here beside your manger).  
Graham Hygate

 

Click here to read more

Paul Spicers love of Bach certainly shines through in this enthusiastic and well controlled performance and whilst it may signal a close to a 30 year passage of time, it’s clear that there is a special relationship to the area, its musicians and Birmingham itself. In all the occasion, setting, music and performances made it a perfect opening to the Christmas season.
Jeff Grant

Click here to read more BehindtheArras.com

Wow! Half a dozen new voices!

Congratulations - no less than 6 new singers joined us last Autumn, and were thrilled to perform their first concert with us in Lichfield. (5 of the 6 sang Bach’s Christmas Oratorio for the very first time)

Read all about them here.

Front row: Chieun Han, Katie Foxton, Lucinda Spicer

Back row: Jonathan Willis, Jens Christian Claussen, James Eyles

And One More !

Anna Cunningham joins us as a 2nd soprano

Originally from a Welsh home with a musically very talented mother, she has mainly lived abroad including spells in Poland, Ukraine and Russia as a student of slavonic languages.

Most recently living in Lancashire Anna moved to Birmingham to take up a new job (in her field as a Medical Librarian, NHS ).

Her first experiences of singing with us …

" no regrets: there's plenty to think about and sink my teeth into, though I might be fortunate enough to have studied Old Church Slavonic already!”

Jolly lucky for us we say as she patiently corrected our pronunciation and guided us through the language of The Liturgy of St John Chrysostom

Apart from singing she loves to climb mountains.

Interested in  joining the choir, but not sure about it?

If you’d like to give it a try for an evening, absolutely without obligation, contact us to come along for an evening’s rehearsal at the beginning of a new programme.

 

 

For more details Click here

Thank you to all who came to last Summer's programme in St Paul’s Birmingham & Malvern Priory

Pics taken during the rehearsals & concerts 25 June + 2 July showing conductor Paul Spicer, organist Callum Alger, Choir President Baroness Stuart of Edgbaston, Choir Chair Philip, the Choir, and three in a valiant fight to repair Paul’s music stand!

A year ago…… For Those We Have Loved concert, 2 April 2022

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 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 24 June

Beautiful Brahms

St Mary Magdalene, Bridgnorth

 

Saturday 1 July

Beautiful Brahms

CBSO Centre, Birmingham

 

Saturday 18 November

  Bach, Scarlatti & Liszt

  St Paul’s Church, Jewellery Quarter

 

  Sunday 17 December

  Service of Nine Lessons and Carols

  St Paul’s Church, Jewellery Quarter

 

  Saturday 9 March 7pm

  St Matthew Passion

  Lichfield Cathedral

 

Keep in contact

Registered Charity Number: 1194569