Prior to their performance of Vivaldi’s Gloria in Vivaldi’s Angels at Christ Church Spitalfields, one of our Women sing East members reflected on the journey on which putting the work together has taken them.
Working towards our performance of Vivaldi’s Gloria has been, for this member of Women sing East at least, a series of small shocks. The first of these occurred when the idea was mooted towards the end of the Summer term – it felt rather like a tunnel into which we would enter at the beginning of the Autumn term with no way out until it ended with a concert, and the tunnel felt narrow… just one piece of music? For some the unfamiliarity of baroque music has caused anxiety or even temporary departure. For me it has been a return to ‘safer ground’, a sound world more familiar than that of much of the music we have sung in the past. I have been unsure, though, about defecting from the choir’s perceived strength of delivering stomping performances of jazz and blues with a folk tune or two thrown in and perhaps a classical number when pushed, all of which I have so loved being part of.
Women sing East perform Vivaldi’s Glora. Image: James Berry
More recently I was startled to tears by a brief recording of one of our rehearsals made on an iPhone at which we sang the Cum Sancto Spiritu for the first time, albeit in Christ Church Spitalfields and accompanied by Jonathan Williams. Although the timings were a little muddy, the purity of sound – the one voice – was literally overwhelming.
Just last week I migrated from practising at home on Dropbox to plugging headphones into the CD deck and playing the Andrew Parrott recording with the volume turned right up straight into my head. I was thrilled anew by this glorious music that so lifts the spirits and no longer seems quite so impenetrable.
Finally last night’s rehearsal with Christian Curnyn drew us all upright and removed us from the security blanket of the score for most of the evening, releasing a much more confident, positive sound in all four parts.
The final shock will come at the performance when accompanied by trumpets and confronted by a full church but whatever the outcome, the singing will be the wholehearted culmination of a term’s committed energies on the part of everybody, not least Laka, Jonathan, Becks and all the Spitalfields Music team urging us on!
Women sing East member
Posted in Festival, Learning & Participation
Tagged andrew parrott, choirs, christ church spitalfields, christian curnyn, gloria, laka d, Learning & Participation, Vivaldi, winter festival, Winter Festival 2012, women sing east
Spitalfields Music sent to me… video highlights from The English Concert.
The English Concert return to Christ Church Spitalfields this evening with a programme of seasonal splendour, including Corelli’s Christmas Concerto and JS Bach’s marvellous Magnificat. They were kind enough to share some video footage with us, including some from a performance of Vivaldi’s Gloria, which you can hear tomorrow night with our own Women sing East.
Posted in Festival, Video
Tagged 12 Days of Winter Festival, christmas concerto, corelli, Handel, JS Bach, magnificat, The english concert, Vivaldi, winter festival, Winter Festival 2012, women sing east
My first reaction was NO! No, No, No, NO, NO!!! even. I had been missing Women sing East all over the long summer break (three months) and although I had a vague notion we would be singing something very different this term – I hadn’t fully appreciated the fact that we would be singing Vivaldi’s Gloria which was new to me. Not only that – but we would be singing ONLY the Gloria for the WHOLE TERM!!!
Women sing East in rehearsal. Image: James Berry.
Gone were the lovely, diverse and fun selections of songs that usually make up our Women sing East concerts. I became distraught – what to do? Back out? I called Kathryn, one of Spitalfields Music’s Learning & Participation managers. I talked to Laka D – our inspirational and genius musical director. With their support and encouragement I decided to give it a go – after all – was I man or mouse?
I loved the first part of the Gloria. Then I struggled with the harder parts – but loving harmony as I do I just started marvelling at the actual music and when Jonathan accompanied us on the piano at that special rehearsal at the Barbican Centre – well – I just fell in love with it. And then, last week, we rehearsed in Christ Church Spitalfields on Commercial Street and almost raised the beautiful refurbished roof. I believe I may be the only member of the choir to wear hearing aids so I get an even more acute sense of the acoustics and we sounded so, so good. I was very happy. I felt the fear – and did it anyway. Taking a trip out of my usual comfort zone seems to have really inspired me and I am so glad I am in this special choir and took a chance on the glorious Gloria.
Women sing East member
Spitalfields Music sent to me… a recording from last week’s Women sing East rehearsal for Vivaldi’s Angels, in which the ladies try out the Gloria in Christ Church Spitalfields for the first time.
On Tuesday 18 December, they’ll be performing an ‘upper voices’ arrangement of the legendary work with the Early Opera Company. It’s a bit of a departure for the choir, whose more regular fare is jazz and pop arrangements from director Laka D. Look out for some of the ladies writing about their experiences soon! But in the meantime, enjoy listening below.
There are still some tickets available for the performance of Vivaldi’s Angels. Head over to our website to book tickets.
Posted in Festival, Learning & Participation, Sounds
Tagged 12 Days of Winter Festival, choirs, christ church spitalfields, Early Opera Company, gloria, laka d, Learning & Participation, soundcloud, sounds, Vivaldi, winter festival, Winter Festival 2012, women sing east
Illustration by Adam Dant
With coats coming back out of the wardrobes and the evenings becoming darker, it’s clear that winter’s slowly on the way and so is our Winter Festival!
To get you in the mood for what’s in store, we’ve put together a Winter Festival 2012 Spotify playlist. We’ve included bits and pieces from all the programmes coming up in December, including Festival artists such as I Fagiolini, EXAUDI, The English Concert and Gallicantus. Just click play below to enjoy. Happy listening!
Posted in Festival, Sounds
Tagged audio, Britten, EXAUDI, gallicantus, gesualdo, I fagiolini, JS Bach, Purcell, Spotify, The english concert, Vivaldi, winter festival, Winter Festival 2012