Showing posts from January, 2008

Ash Wednesday Evensong from St Albans Cathedral

This year's Radio 3 Ash Wednesday Evensong broadcast will be from St Albans Cathedral, sung by the Abbey Girls Choir and Men. Emily Almond (8R) will be singing on this broadcast so please tune in to Radio 3 at 4pm on Wednesday 6th February. This will be after you've attended a stunning Vocal Ensemble Concert at St Peter's earlier in the afternoon...

St Peter's Lunchtime Concert: Wednesday 6th February 2008 at 1pm


Cantique de Jean Racine
(G. Fauré)
Vocal Ensemble

Sonatine (1st movement) (D. Milhaud)
Jane Langley (flute)

Locus Iste (A. Bruckner)
Vocal Ensemble

End of Act I Dido and Aeneas (H. Purcell)
If not for mine, for empire’s sake
Pursue thy conquest, Love

William Pate- Aeneas & Emma Doherty- Belinda

Ave Verum Corpus (W.A. Mozart)
Vocal Ensemble

Sonata no. 2 (2nd movement), op. 120 no. 2 (J. Brahms)
Alex Thomas (clarinet)

End of Act III Dido and Aeneas (H. Purcell)
Your counsel all is urg’d in vain
Great minds against themselves conspire
Thy hand, Belinda

(Erica Thompson-Dido; Emma Doherty-Belinda & William Pate-Aeneas)

Verleih uns Frieden (F. Mendelssohn)
Vocal Ensemble

Tarantella (Op 23) (W.H. Squire)
William Pate (‘cello)

If ye love me (T. Tallis)
Vocal Ensemble

Rondo, Allegro vivace from Concerto in E flat (W.A. Mozart)
Edward Willson (French Horn)

And So it Goes
(Billy Joel, arr B. Chilcott) Vocal Ensemble

Stephansdom Wien

It's not long now! I received this today and got rather excited (you know me...). This poster will be up around the Stephansdom area: we're famous!


J.S. Bach: Fugue in G minor (BWV 542) For members of the Orchestra, here is the original version of the G minor Fugue you played in the summer. I'm sure you will appreciate the organist's skill and for those of you who haven't seen an organ being played up close, here's your chance! What skill!

And for AS and A2 students, here is the fugue along with a simple analysis of subjects, answers, countersubjects and episodes.

This organ is located in Waltershausen, Germany. It's the largest Baroque organ in Thuringia, Germany. Built by Trost in about 1730, it still holds about 70% of the original pipe stock, which means that this recording is probably very similar to the sound that Bach would have produced in his day.

"Jauchzet, frohlocket" from Bach's Christmas Oratorio

I've played this to you all in lessons, but here it is for you in all its glory. This is the opening from Bach's Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248. You can pick out textures and timbres, or just simply sit back and admire!

Dido's Lament

Emma Kirkby sings Dido's lament with the Yorkshire Baroque Soloists. I'm a huge fan of Emma Kirkby: she has a divine voice - warm and rich without excessive vibrato. Please listen and click here to visit her website.

AS Music: 1920s-1960s Jazz

A couple of fascinating videos:

Duke Ellington and His Orchestra: It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing. It's not your set work but it's a fantastic video and gives you a flavour of the Duke Ellington sound.

Miles Davis performing So What live in 1958. This clip is available on two different DVDs: Miles Davis: The Cool Jazz Sound and also Jazz Masters: Vintage Collection.

Dido and Aeneas: recommended recordings

There are a lot of recordings out there so it can be quite daunting when you are searching, but several do spring to mind:

René Jacobs (conducter), choir of Clare College, Cambridge and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. (see picture). This recording has a great string sound and some good soloists. It is, however, quite expensive and hard to obtain.

Christopher Hogwood and the Academy of Ancient Music (downloadable from itunes) is reasonably priced. The voices have a fair amount of vibrato which you needn't have!

This CD has fabulous soloists such as Ian Bostridge and Felicity Palmer but again, a bit more expensive.

Don't forget that these are recorded by artists who are much older than you and have larger voices with big vibrato! I don't expect you to sing in the same way, especially in a nice light Baroque opera. However, professional recordings are great for comparing interpretations!

Vienna Itinerary

Saturday 9th February

13:45 Meet at Central Drive.

Sunday 10th February

15:15 Arrive at HOTEL MOZART, time to unpack and relax

19:00 Evening meal at hotel (first meal included)

20:00 Short meeting, relax and early night after the long journey

Monday 11th February

07:30 Breakfast. Collect lunch packages afterwards.

08:00 Depart for Mozarthaus Vienna

09:00 Start of self-guided tour.

10:00 End of self-guided tour. Time for some time around Vienna, etc.

12:45 Meeting point St. Stephen’s Cathedral

13:00 Lunch time concert in the cathedral

13:30 End of concert. Time to go shopping (Wiener Kaertnerstrasse and Graben
are excellent shopping streets with plenty of restaurants and Cafes) or relax
in a traditional Viennese Kaffeehaus.

16:00 Depart by coach for Hotel Schloss Wilhelminenberg

17:00 Time to set up and rehearse.

18:00 Concert.

19:30 Depart for hotel.
20:00 Evening meal.

Tuesday 12th February

08:00 Breakfast at hotel, collect lunch packages.

09:30 Depart for Haus der Musik

11:00 Star…

Synposis and background of Dido and Aeneas

Dido and Aeneas is a tragic opera in three acts by Henry Purcell to a libretto by Nahum Tate, adapted from Virgil's epic poem Aeneid. The first known performance of Dido and Aeneas was at a girls' boarding school in Chelsea before December 1689.
Act 1: Dido's court
Dido has been entertaining Aeneas after his escape from the Sack of Troy. She is reluctant to express her love for Aeneas, but Belinda (her sister and confidante) and her handmaids assure her that Aeneas feels the same. When he arrives and presses his suit, Dido is reluctant at first, but gives in. Belinda and her courtiers celebrate the prospect of a royal marriage. Act 2.i: The cave The Sorceress and her witches (without any motive) are plotting Dido's death. She reveals her plan to conjure a storm to ruin the royal hunt and drive the royal party back to Carthage. One of her witches will then appear as a spirit to Aeneas in the form of Mercury and command him to sail away. Act 2.ii: The grove Dido and Aeneas ar…

Vocal Ensemble trip to the King's Singers 40th Anniversary Concert

I thought it would be a good idea to give you some advanced warning! The Vocal Ensemble trip to hear the King's Singers 40th Anniversary Concert is on Wednesday 30th April 2008. The concert starts at 7.30pm in the Cadogan Hall in London. The cost of the trip is very reasonable, and will be confirmed when you receive your letters. Keep the date free: the King's Singers are a fabulous group and they will be singing a variety of arrangements. Who knows, they might even sing Shenandoah or And So It Goes!

St Peter's Church: introduction

The Music Department has excellent links in the local community, particularly with St Peter's Church, where two excellent lunchtime concerts were performed in 2007. The Vocal Ensemble will return on Wednesday 6th February 2008, performing tour music and previews from Dido and Aeneas. Recordings of interviews with Radio Verulam can be heard on Beaumont School website: or click here and here for both of them.

Vienna 2008: introduction

It's been a long wait, but the extra-curricular tour to Vienna is coming in just over 4 weeks' time! The Vocal Ensemble, Choir, Orchestra and Concert Band are looking forward to an excellent trip to arguably the most significant musical city in Europe. We are very lucky to be performing in some prestigious venues (see the links on the right), such as Stephansdom and the British Embassy. There will also be time to soak up Viennese culture and heritage with visits to Haus der Musik, the Esterhazy Palace in Eisenstadt, Kunsthaus Wien and the Vienna Prater. Updates will be provided here, but you will, of course, be informed of major changes in writing. Get practising everyone; it's going to be fantastic!

Dido and Aeneas

MONDAY 10th MARCH 2008 at 7pm, Beaumont School Hall

Congratulations to the following students:

By Henry Purcell

Musical Director: Miss Doan
Director: Jane Langley


Dido, Queen of Carthage (soprano): Erica Thompson

Æneas, Trojan Prince (tenor): Wil Pate

Belinda, Dido’s sister and handmaid (soprano): Emma Doherty

Other handmaidens: Sarah Mobbs, Rachel Airey &Fiona Wells

Second Woman (soprano): Emily Packham

Sorceress (soprano): Kat Deal

First Witch (soprano): Becky Giles

Second Witch (soprano): Sara McNeillis

Spirit (soprano): Emily Almond

1st Sailor (tenor): James Moorton
Sailors (tenors/trebles): Luke Bainbridge, Yannick Mayaud & Ben Williams

Chorus Leaders: Emily Almond (Sop 1), Louise Taylor (Sop 2) & Suzannah Murphy (Alto)

Thanks to everyone who auditioned. If your name does not appear here, please sing in the chorus: we will start rehearsing soon- just check the schedule.