A FEAST OF BAROQUE & Five modern carols
9 Dec 2017
All Saints, Kingston
Kingston upon thames
Up-and-coming young singers are to star in a winter concert in the acclaimed music venue of All Saints Church, Kingston on 9th December.
The concert will be a particular homecoming for bass Dan D’Souza as he is a former member of Kingston Parish Church Choir and pupil of Tiffin Boys School. He is singing with the Thames Philharmonic Choir and Thames Festival Orchestra in A Feast of Baroque & Five Modern Carols. For Dan, though, the highlight will be a brilliant musical dialogue between bass and choir in Purcell’s O Sing Unto The Lord, which was one of the first pieces he sang as a treble at the age of 11. Dan pays tribute to his old Kingston school: “Tiffin was fundamental in my musical upbringing and if it weren’t for the support of the teachers there, I would not be in the career I am now.”
Soprano Charlotte Hoather, also London-based, has a scintillating part in the concert, when she sings the glorious feature solos in Handel’s Laudate Pueri Dominum. Although music is Charlotte’s chosen profession, she has won national championships as a second-degree black belt in karate, and is an award-winning dancer. Both singers, together with tenor soloist Stephen Mills, and alto Beth Moxon, are supported by the Josephine Baker Trust, which helps talented singers trained at the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College of Music in the early stages of their careers by matching them to engagements and paying half their fees. This arrangement enables charitable organisations such as the Thames Philharmonic Choir to afford top-quality singers at half price. The Choir is an amateur choir drawing members from Kingston, Richmond, Wandsworth and other south-west London boroughs that performs to professional standards under the direction of John Bate, former Director of Music Performance at Kingston University.
The concert’s Baroque works were composed by young men infused with the spirit of Italy. Henry Purcell (1659–1695), the genius of English Baroque, wrote O sing unto the Lord when he was 29. The anthem’s lively interplay between soloists, strings and choir echoes contemporary Italian music, though the style is unmistakably that of Purcell – brilliantly expressive and inventive. Giovanni Pergolesi’s potential for becoming a major figure of the Italian Baroque is evident in his masterly, harmonious and upbeat Magnificat, but he died in 1736 at the age of 26, only a few years after writing it. Handel (1685–1759) wrote Laudate Pueri when he lived in Italy in his twenties; the work is glitteringly Baroque, measured and magnificent.
The Five Modern Carols are, of course, festive, as befits the season, but in complete contrast of mood to the Baroque works. Richard Rodney Bennett (1936–2012) was a brilliant jazz pianist and wrote film scores such as Murder on the Orient Express, as well as being a distinguished classical composer. He kept his musical genres quite separate, however, and his carol settings are beautifully constructed in an immediately appealing, modern classical style.
Presented by Thames Philharmonic Choir