Not All Angels and Cassocks

Say the words ‘English choral music’ and most people will immediately envisage soaring cathedrals and soaring treble voices to go with them.  Of course the cathedral choral tradition has spanned many centuries and has produced some of the most beautiful music ever written, inspiring composers, performers and listeners alike.  However, in parallel with the sacred music of our island nation there is an equally long and rich tradition of the secular melody, enjoyed by the people when not in the pews.  For centuries this ‘folk music’ was passed down by oral tradition and was most often used to accompany social events and gatherings where dance too was frequently involved.  Other folk melodies were work-related, such as sea shanties.   It was left to a relatively small number of dedicated people to collect and write down these tunes to ensure that they would be preserved for generations to come.

Andrew Trewhella, Amici’s musical director, has explored both of these huge sources of good things to sing and the choir’s next concert will be a gorgeous amalgam of the sacred and the profane, hence its title ‘Sacred and Profane’.  That second word did cause some discussion in committee, but although modern usage might suggest impropriety, the dictionary simply defines profane as ‘Not relating to that which is sacred or religious’ – so there!  The concert is on 7th July 2018 at 7:30 p.m.  In keeping with a developing tradition for the choir’s summer concerts it will be presented in the lovely surroundings of St. John’s Church, Wellington.  We have been made most welcome on past visits to Wellington and we are looking forward once more to performing there.

The programme is rich and varied, and brings music from all over the British Isles.  From the sacred area the choir will sing works by Elgar (‘Great is the Lord’), Parry (Motets), Finzi (‘Lo, the Full Final Sacrifice’), John Ireland (‘Greater Love Hath No Man’) and others including Stanford and Bainton.

The major foray into the secular arena is a complete performance of John Rutter’s ‘The Sprig of Thyme’ a cycle of eleven folk song settings which he published in 1994.  Well-known British folk songs are given the Rutter treatment and the results are truly lovely, with wonderful harmonisations and occasional quirks to trap the unwary singer who thinks that Rutter is invariably easy.  He has also published two volumes of SATB arrangements ‘Folk Songs for Choirs’ and the concert will also draw on these.  Through simple, direct language and lilting melodies, the songs tell us about the complexities of human life – especially where love is concerned!

Amici are delighted to welcome Gareth Dayus-Jones as guest conductor for part of the concert.  He is well known to the choir, having sung baritone solos with us as well as directing in the past.  Our accompanist will be Peter Adcock.

Tickets are £12 Adult, £8 Student, under 12s are admitted FREE. Tickets are available from Taunton Visitor Centre (01823 340470), Interiors and Flowers By Design (1, Cornhill, Wellington, 01823 662143) and from the home page of this website – click on the TicketSource icon.

We look forward to seeing you there.