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                                                                                                 Friends of St. Peter's Consort are entitled to three Subscription Concerts each year at a preferential rate covering all three concerts. The Friends’ subscription for the 2016 season was £17 (with £14 for concessions).  We hope you will agree this is excellent value for money!  Please see full details in the letter below from our new Musical Director, Sachin Gunga. If you wish to become a Friend of St. Peter's Consort, please contact Richard Gadsby, 22 Headlands Close, Liversedge, WF15 7QL, r.gadsby@ntlworld.com who will provide details for 2017.

 




24 August 2017

 

 

 

Dear Friends,

 

 

 

Having done as I promised and increased the number of contemporary choral pieces in the Consort’s repertoire, I decided that this September it was time for a return to something more traditional. Recalling the performance under Tom Moore of Dixit Dominus with strings, I have planned a programme of music by Handel, Monteverdi, Purcell and Mozart, also to be accompanied by The Cathedral Strings, at Wakefield Cathedral on 30 September. Besides the strings, there are two themes present in this programme: the music of coronations, and settings of the psalms.

 

 

 

Handel composed several anthems that set texts from psalms, including As pants the hart (words from Psalm 42), which he set for the first time in 1713, and subsequently revisited four times. Consort will sing his setting from 1722, written to be sung at the Chapel Royal. It is an extended anthem in five sections, with passages for soloists including a beautiful and yearning alto duet. The overall mood is one of longing, although the final chorus “Put thy trust in God” is more upbeat and positive.

 

 

 

By way of contrast, we will also perform two more celebratory anthems by Handel. He famously wrote four anthems for the coronation of George II in 1727, the same year he received official status as a British national. The most famous of these is undoubtedly Zadok the Priest, sung during the anointing of the new monarch, with its jubilant acclamations of “God save the king!” My heart is inditing, the last of the four, was originally performed at the crowning of Queen Caroline, and has perhaps a more refined and gentle mood, particularly in the central movements.

 

 

 

Henry Purcell composed two new anthems for the coronation of James II in 1685, one of which was also a setting of “My heart is inditing” (words from Psalm 45). We will be performing the other anthem: I was glad when they said unto me (words from Psalm 122), sung at the entrance of the king and queen. This is a small-scale but lively anthem, with lots of joyful dotted rhythms, and a contrasting subdued middle section for the words “O pray for the peace of Jerusalem”.

 

 

 

Monteverdi’s anthem Beatus vir is one of his more widely known choral pieces, taken from his collection Selva morale e spirituale (1640), with words from Psalm 112. The florid choral parts dance along over a walking bass, punctuated at intervals by a charming violin duet. Also well-known in the choral canon is Mozart’s Krönungsmesse or “Coronation Mass”, completed shortly after Mozart began working as court composer of Salzburg Cathedral in 1779. I am glad to have the opportunity to include two familiar choral gems with something closer to their original accompaniment forces.

 

 

 

At this point I must announce that 2017 will be my final year as Musical Director of St Peter’s Consort. I have recently been offered the position of Sub-Organist at Portsmouth Cathedral, and I am due to start working there in January 2018. This means that the Christmas concerts will be my last performances with the group. Whilst I am excited to be embarking on this new chapter, I will be sorry to end my time working with such a dedicated and skilled ensemble, and I have greatly enjoyed making music with them all. I am also hugely grateful for the continuing support of the Friends throughout my time as Musical Director.

 

 

 

It would be particularly pleasing for me to get a "full house" for September's concert and I hope you feel that the attractive programme will encourage you to come! Thanks as ever to those of you who continue to give us your support – this is vital for a small choir such as ours. The concert starts at 7.30pm with an admission fee of £10 or £8 for concessions.  Refreshments will be available at the interval.

 

 

 

We look forward to seeing you on 30 September.

 

 

 

Kind regards,

 

 

 

Sachin Gunga





 

20 April 2017

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Friends,

 

 

 

 

The Consort choir members are currently enjoying rehearsals for our May concert at St John’s Church in Wakefield, with a particular focus on Herbert Howells’ challenging Requiem, and John Rutter’s Hymn to the Creator of Light. Both these works are unaccompanied, with constantly shifting and colourful harmonies, and in the case of the Howells some very heightened emotion (his life around the time of composition was affected by personal tragedy). Having learned the choral sections of Stars, by the Latvian composer Ēriks Ešenvalds, the choir are now about to multi-task by playing tuned wine glasses at the same time. This will create some more continuous shifting harmonies, but produced in a different way!

 

 

 

 

 

Other items in the programme will include Edward Elgar’s majestic Te Deum and Benedictus, and Jonathan Dove’s Seek him that maketh the seven stars. As I mentioned in the last letter, Dove himself writes that ‘the theme of light, and starlight in particular, is an endless source of inspiration for composers’. I have adopted “a light which never sets” as the title for this concert (words taken from the text of the Rutter). We will be joined by local soprano Alexis Cooling, a former chorister at Wakefield Cathedral, who will continue the theme with two solo pieces by Handel: Eternal source of light divine, and Let the bright seraphim. In addition, there will be some shorter secular pieces, including a few well-known madrigals.

 

 

 

 

 

The concert will take place on Saturday 20 May at St John’s Church in Wakefield, starting at 7.30pm with an admission fee of £10 or £8 for concessions.  Refreshments will be available at the interval. Our second concert will take place on 30 September at Wakefield Cathedral with a baroque theme, and our regular Christmas concert will be on Monday 18 December, again at St John’s.

 

 

 

 

 

If you wish to take advantage of the generous discount available over the three subscription concerts as a Friend of St. Peter’s Consort for 2017, please send a cheque (payable to St. Peter’s Consort) for £17 (or £14 for concessions) to Richard Gadsby, 22 Headlands Close, Liversedge, WF15 7QL, who will then forward you this year’s Friend’s Membership Card.

 

 

 

 

 

We hope that the exciting and different programme on offer for our Spring concert will appeal to you. Please come along – and tell your friends! Thanks as ever to those of you who continue to give us your support – this is vital for a small choir such as ours. We look forward to seeing you on 20 May at St John’s Church (Wentworth Street, Wakefield, WF1 2QU).

 

 

 

 

 

Kind regards,

 

 

 

 

 

Sachin Gunga




28 February 2017

 

 

 

Dear Friends

 

 

 

I have now completed my first year as Musical Director of St Peter’s Consort, and I feel very fortunate to have directed a number of challenging yet exciting works with the group since January 2016. Particular highlights for me have included: Vaughan Williams’ lovely Serenade to Music in May, with Nicholas Meredith on violin; Eric Whitacre’s Cloudburst in September, supported by some thrilling percussion; and three fantastic carols by Carl Rütti with the superb Austonley Brass. We have also enjoyed some more familiar music, such as Fauré’s Requiem, plus a few madrigals and close-harmony songs in the Garforth Festival. It is great to work with a team who can turn their skills to any of these varying styles.

 

 

 

To start 2017, the Consort sang the Sunday services in Wakefield Cathedral on 19 February, performing Mozart and Tallis at the eucharist, and later some evening canticles written for Hereford Cathedral Choir by John Sanders. With the anthem at evensong, Seek him that maketh the seven stars, we were revisiting the music of Jonathan Dove. He writes that ‘the theme of light, and starlight in particular, is an endless source of inspiration for composers’. The choir sings long awestruck phrases, while the organ sparkles like the night sky (skilfully played as ever by Tom Moore). The intensity then builds to a dance-like middle section, before coming to rest with the words “turneth the shadow of death into morning”. It is a work of contrasts, atmosphere and imagination.

 

 

 

For our forthcoming subscription concert I decided to explore this theme of light that has inspired composers such as Dove, and I plan to include Seek him in the programme. Alongside this will be another piece concerning stars, by the Latvian composer Ēriks Ešenvalds. Instead of a complex and twinkling organ part, he writes a series of sustained chords played by the singers on tuned wine glasses. This produces a remarkable glowing sound, which complements his gentle choral writing. This will be a different challenge from the body percussion in Cloudburst, but similar in the sense of multi-tasking for the Consort members! The concert will take place on Saturday 20 May at St John’s Church in Wakefield, starting at 7.30pm with an admission fee of £10 and £8 for concessions.  Refreshments will be available at the interval of the concert.

 

 

 

A major work in the programme will be Herbert Howells’ Requiem for unaccompanied choir, in which he sets the text of “et lux perpetua” (light perpetual) twice, amid passages from the psalms and other scripture. This is one of my favourite choral works of the 20th century, and is full of Howells’ characteristically emotional harmonies. It will be paired with John Rutter’s Hymn to the Creator of Light, written in 1992 as a tribute to Howells, and bearing the fingerprints of both composers. Edward Elgar’s majestic canticles for the office of matins (Te Deum and Benedictus) will also be included.

 

 

 

One of my first experiences performing with the Consort was in a concert of Handel’s Dixit Dominus at Wakefield Cathedral. Looking ahead to our Autumn subscription concert on Saturday 30 September at the Cathedral (starting at 7.30pm), it is my hope once again to put together a programme with strings, for music of the Baroque period including Handel’s As pants the hart. More details of this will follow in the next letter. Our usual Christmas carol concert will again take place at St John's - this year it will be on Monday 18 December (also at 7.30pm).

 

 

 

It is with great sadness that we are now bidding farewell to Ernie Lowe, who has decided to retire from the Consort. Ernie is one of only three singers who have been with the group since its formation, and we are immensely grateful for all that he has given over the years, not just to the music but also helping with administration, maintaining the website and designing posters. We now wish him and his wife Kath all the best for the future. On a happier note, we will soon welcome back Kay Yates, who will be returning to the Consort in the summer.

 

 

 

We have decided to retain the 2017 Friends’ subscription at £17 (with £14 for concessions) – this will allow “free” admission to all three subscription concerts. If you wish to become a Friend of St. Peter’s Consort for 2017, please send a cheque (payable to St. Peter’s Consort) for the appropriate amount to Richard Gadsby, 22 Headlands Close, Liversedge, WF15 7QL, who will then forward you this year’s Friend’s Membership Card.

 

 

 

The Consort website gives further details of our activities throughout the year. Do log on to keep up with our progress! We hope that the exciting programme on offer for our Spring concert will appeal to you. Please come along - and tell your friends! Thanks as ever to those of you who continue to give us your support - this is vital for a small choir such as ours. We look forward to seeing you on 20 May at St John's Church (Wentworth Street, Wakefield, WF1 2QU).

 

 

 

Kind regards

 

 

 

Sachin Gunga

 2 Cathedral Close                                       
WAKEFIELD WF1 2DP

 

 

 

Tel: 07969287172

 

E-Mail: sygunga@googlemail.com






7 November 2016

 Dear Friends

 It gives us great pleasure to announce that St. Peter's Consort will join forces with Austonley Brass to present a fantastic event for the festive season in the city of Wakefield this year.

 

 “The Spirit of Christmas” will showcase many different musical genres in a festive musical feast featuring Brass and Voices. Bringing together our two hugely talented ensembles will create a stirring majestic sound that is synonymous with the very best traditional Christmas music.  This is the second time the St. Peter’s Consort and Austonley Brass have performed together in Wakefield following an excellent joint performance in September 2014 of the magnificent GLORIA by John Rutter in the stunning surroundings of Wakefield Cathedral.
  

 

The concert will take place on 14 December at St. John's Church, Wentworth Street, Wakefield, WF1 2QU starting at 7.30 pm. Refreshments will be available during the concert. The admission fee for the concert is £10 but, of course, for those of you who have 2016 Friends of St. Peter’s Consort cards admission on the night is free.  

 Further details about Austonley Brass - Yorkshire's premier brass ensemble can be found on our Events & News page.  Garrath Beckwith, the group's Ensemble Manager, states that "the ensemble is really looking forward to bringing the 'The Spirit of Christmas' to Wakefield and we hope that fans of great music making and the local music scene will support the event and join us as we welcome the festive season with a bang!" From the Consort side, Sachin is "delighted to be sharing this concert with Austonley Brass for this unique event. As we have said before, please come along – and tell your friends! Thanks as ever to those of you who continue to give us your support – this is vital for a small choir such as ours." We look forward to seeing you at St. John's on 14 December.

 

 Kind regards

  

 

Sachin Gunga                                                              Garrath Beckwith

 Musical Director                                                         Ensemble Manager

 

St. Peter's Consort                                                      Austonley Brass

 Tel: 07969 287172                                                      Tel: 07734 364526

 

E-Mail: sygunga:googlemail.com                                E-Mail: garrath@austonleybrass.co.uk

 

 

15 August 2016

 

 

 Dear Friends

 

 

 

Many thanks to those of you who attended our last concert on 21 May at St John’s Church in Wakefield. We hope you enjoyed our theme of “Serenade to British choral music” with its wide range of music from Byrd to MacMillan, both sacred and secular. One particular highlight for me personally was the “Serenade to Music”, and I am grateful to Nick Meredith for his fantastic performance on solo violin, which complemented Tom Moore’s superb organ accompaniment. This piece also showcased the solo talents of several Consort members, including our newest soprano, Alice Leebetter, whom we welcomed earlier this year.

 

 

  

 

The Consort were recently invited to perform in the Garforth Music Festival, putting on a programme at St Mary’s Church on 9 July. This was a short concert containing a range of unaccompanied works, from madrigals such as “All creatures now” to close-harmony arrangements of “Blue Moon” and “I got rhythm”. The singing was excellent, and we were very well received. Sadly, this was the last performance to feature Kay Yates, who has been a committed member of Consort for many years, and musically always reliable, but has now decided to step down. She goes with all our good wishes for the future.

 

 

  

Our next subscription concert will take place on 24 September at Wakefield Cathedral at 7.30 pm (with an admission fee of £10 and £8 for concessions). We will perform Fauré’s Requiem, alongside a song cycle by contemporary composer Jonathan Dove called “The Passing of the Year”. This is an exhilarating and creative work for double choir and piano, setting seven poems that move through the changing seasons, from the first buds of spring to the frosts of winter. Dove’s effective setting of words may be likened to Benjamin Britten, and the piano accompaniment is a real tour de force for the player. The programme will also feature shorter items, most notably “Cloudburst” by Eric Whitacre, in which the choir must recreate the sounds of a thunderstorm, assisted by the piano and some percussion. This piece is a finger-snapper, but not in the way you might think!

 

 

 

  

We hope that the exciting programme on offer for our Autumn concert will appeal to you. Please come along – and tell your friends! Thanks as ever to those of you who continue to give us your support – this is vital for a small choir such as ours. We look forward to seeing you at the Cathedral on 24 September.  

 

 

  

 

Kind regards

 

 

 

 Sachin Gunga






18 April 2016

 

 

 
Dear Friends
 
  
I’m pleased to say that we seem to have made a very good start to 2016. The Consort sang the services in Wakefield Cathedral on 14 February to an excellent standard, and I especially enjoyed the anthem at evensong: Brahms’ Warum ist das Licht gegeben, which they performed splendidly.
 
 
Our next subscription concert, on 21 May at St John’s Church, Wakefield, will be a celebration of music from the British choral tradition, both sacred and secular, and spanning about 500 years of history, right up to the 21st century.
 
 
 
To open the programme, the Consort will sing Henry Purcell’s majestic setting of the Te Deum. Written to be performed on St Cecilia’s Day (patron saint of music) in 1694, this work moves continuously between the imposing and the intimate, as the full choir is contrasted with sections for semi chorus. The alto solo “Vouchsafe, O Lord” is a particularly poignant moment.
 
 
 
The sacred choral tradition is further represented in works by Byrd and Harris. Civitas sancti tui is the second part of Byrd’s longer anthem Ne irascaris Domine, and exemplifies the composer’s skill in polyphonic writing. Harris’ anthem Faire is the Heaven is more chordal in texture, as the choir splits into two groups that sing alternately and together, with rich harmonies that make this piece an undoubted classic.
 
 
In keeping with my plan for more contemporary repertoire, James Macmillan’s Song of the Lamb was first performed in 2008. Setting words from Revelation, it is an exciting and innovative composition, with highly ornamented choral parts and colourful harmonies that show the influence of his teacher Kenneth Leighton. The organ part is also dazzling, and bears almost no relation to what the choir is doing!
 
 
 
The secular half of the programme includes part-songs by a trio of eminent choral composers: Stanford, Parry and Charles Wood. In addition, there are two wordless songs by Delius, full of jazzy harmonies and written almost like orchestral pieces, entitled To be sung of a summer night on the water.
 
 
 
We will conclude as we began, with a celebration of music itself. Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music (1938) sets words from Shakespeare, and was originally written for sixteen soloists and orchestra. Most of the accompaniment will be supplied by the organ, but we also welcome Nicholas Meredith on solo violin. This piece is both gentle and exuberant, and the perfect ending to an evening of British choral music.
 
 
 
Our second subscription concert will take place at Wakefield Cathedral on 24 September (7.30pm). Full details of the programme for this concert will be advised in our next letter which will be sent during the Summer. The Consort will sing its usual carol concert in aid of MacMillan Cancer Research at Dewsbury Baptist Church on 12 December (7.30pm). The subscription carol concert will again be at St. John's Church in Wakefield on 14 December (7.30pm) and we are delighted to be joined this year by Austonley Brass, whose members play regularly with the likes of the BBC Philharmonic, the Halle Orchestra and other well known ensembles. Many of you will remember our memorable concert together in September 2014 when we performed the exciting Gloria by John Rutter.
 
 
 
As advised in our last letter the Friends’ subscription for the season will be £17 (with £14 for concessions) – this will allow “free” admission to all three subscription concerts. If you wish to become a Friend of St. Peter’s Consort for 2016, please send a cheque (payable to St. Peter’s Consort) for the appropriate amount to Richard Gadsby, 22 Headlands Close, Liversedge, WF15 7QL, who will then forward you this year’s Friend’s Membership Card.
 
 
 For a small choir such as ours, your support is vital. I particularly look forward to seeing you for the May concert, which will be my first as Musical Director of the group.
 
 
 
Kind regards
  
 
Sachin Gunga

 
28th January 2016 
Dear Friends,

It is my privilege to be writing this as the new Musical Director of St Peter’s Consort, having just taken over from Tom Moore at the start of this new year. I was delighted when Tom asked if I would consider taking up this role and, although I have big shoes to fill, I hope to be able to maintain the high musical standards set by him and John North. I thank Tom for this opportunity, and wish him well as he prepares for the arrival of Moore Junior!

I was appointed Assistant Director of Music at Wakefield Cathedral in February last year where, in addition to my duties playing the organ, I support Tom in the training of the choristers. I was previously Acting Assistant Director of Music at Lincoln Cathedral, with particular responsibility for directing the girl choristers. I have held organ scholarships at the cathedrals of Truro and Wells; before Lincoln I was Assistant Organist of Llandaff Cathedral where I set up a close-harmony group for men’s voices called the Low Rangers. I have always been a keen singer, and have worked with several cathedral and chamber choirs over the years, but it is a fresh challenge for me to direct one on a regular basis, and an opportunity I was eager to take.

I have been fortunate to accompany the Consort in several concerts already, so I am familiar with their excellent music-making, and at present my plan is to continue in much the same vein. I have very few plans for change, as the current operation seems to work very well, although I am hoping to introduce some more contemporary music into the Consort’s repertoire. One thing I definitely hope to achieve is to commission a piece especially for the group by a living composer. It is also my intention to arrange some collaborative performances with similar choirs in other places, such as the Lincoln Cathedral Consort.

Looking ahead to performances this year, the Consort will sing the services at Wakefield Cathedral on Sunday 14 February, which is the first Sunday of Lent, and the first subscription concert of 2016 will be on Saturday 21 May at St John’s Church in Wakefield, starting at 7.30pm. This concert will be a mix of sacred and secular music, and I have invited Tom Moore to be the accompanist; we are both keen that he should keep a connection with the group. We will let you know more details about this forthcoming concert in about two months time.

Our Autumn subscription concert for 2016 will take place at the Cathedral on Saturday 24 September (at 7.30pm) and we will again perform our usual Christmas carol concert at St. John's this year - on Wednesday 14 December (also at 7.30pm).

Over the past two years the Consort singers and our audiences have enjoyed three memorable concerts which have also involved guest performers - Cathedral Strings on two occasions and the Austonley Brass group for the exciting performance of John Rutter's Gloria. In order to provide the necessary funds for presenting future concerts with similar quality groups or individuals, we have decided to increase the admission price for each of this year's subscription concerts by £1 (to £10, with £8 concessions). The Friends’ subscription for the season will be £17 (with £14 for concessions). This will allow “free” admission to all three subscription concerts.

We hope you agree that the admission price for a Consort concert, particularly as a Friend, still offers great value for money. If you wish to become a Friend of St Peter’s Consort for 2016, please send a cheque (payable to St Peter’s Consort) for the appropriate amount to Richard Gadsby, 22 Headlands Close, Liversedge, WF15 7QL, who will then forward you this year’s Friend’s Membership Card.

My thanks to the members of Consort for their encouragement and co-operation as I start this new term, particularly for their guidance in all things administrative. We are also hugely grateful to you, the Friends, for your continuing financial support and attendance at concerts.

I look forward to seeing you at our future engagements.

Kind regards,
 
Sachin Gunga




11 November 2015


Dear Friends


Another year has passed quickly by and it will soon be time for our latest Carol Concert, which will again take place in the marvellous setting of St John's Church in Wakefield on 9 December (starting at 7.30pm). The programme will consist of the usual mixture of seasonal music combined with readings and carols for audience participation. Refreshments will be available at the end of concert. The admission fee for the concert is £9 (or £7 for concessions) but, of course, for those of you who have 2015 Friends of St. Peter’s Consort cards admission on the night is free.   


After seven years as Musical Director of St Peter’s Consort, I have decided to relinquish the position at the end of 2015. My decision to leave the post has been a hard one to come to, but as my wife is expecting our child in February, and I have been working most nights of the week in some musical capacity or another, I have decided that it is time to go in order that I can spend one more evening of the week at home. 


There have been some very exciting performances in the last seven years which I will remember with a feeling of pride in what the Consort achieved. I am very grateful to the singers and other musicians we have engaged in this period for giving of their best at every performance. I am also very thankful of the friendships I have made with members of the Consort over the last seven years, and hope that these friendships will remain.


Finally, I am most grateful to you, the supporters of the Consort who come regularly to our concerts. To see we have a regular following delights us, and spurs us on to greater things. Please do continue to support the group under its new director, Sachin Gunga. Sachin is a fine musician who I am sure will take the group on to many more musical achievements. I wish everyone associated with St. Peter’s Consort all the very best for the future.


2015 has been another exciting year for the choir, culminating with our performance of Handel's Dixit Dominus together with Cathedral Strings and the soprano soloist Rhiannon Beck. Once again your feedback was very positive and much appreciated. The occasion and the musical experience was also greatly enjoyed by the choir. 


I am delighted that Sachin will play the organ for the Carol Concert. I would particularly like to share my final concert with as many of you as possible - please come!


Thank you again for your support this year. On behalf of all the choir members may I wish you a Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year; Sachin and the choir look forward to seeing you again in 2016

Kind regards and best wishes

 

 

 

 Tom Moore  

 

 

 


13th August 2015

 

 

 

Dear Friends

 

 Many thanks to those of you who attended our last concert on 16 June at St John's Church in Wakefield. We hope you enjoyed the variety of our programme, ranging from Purcell's verse anthem O sing unto the Lord to the group of choral arrangements of popular songs from the Great American Songbook. The feedback we have received was very positive and the choir thoroughly enjoyed performing this music. 

 

 

 Our Autumn subscription concert this year will again be at Wakefield Cathedral on 26 September (starting at 7.30pm; £9 with £7 for concessions; interval drinks available). Our programme is centred around two Baroque choral masterpieces. We are delighted to welcome back Cathedral Strings who last performed with us when we sang Handel's Messiah at St. John's Church in December 2013 to celebrate our thirtieth anniversary. We will again be joined by organist Sachin Gunga.

 

 

Handel's Dixit Dominus is widely acknowledged as one of his finest choral works. Written in Rome in 1707 when he was only twenty-two it was probably first performed at the Church of Santa Maria in Montesanto. Using the Latin text from Psalm 110, Dixit Dominus is set to music of exceptional brilliance. Written in eight movements and scored for five-part chorus, soloists, strings and continuo, the music is a showpiece for singers and players alike and the demands on the choir are exceptional. There are many dramatic contrasts between the sections. The choir sing an energetic opening chorus and, following six movements of widely differing styles involving choir and soloists, the closing Gloria completes the work with a brilliant extended fugue sung by the choir.

 

 

JS Bach's surviving cantatas number in the hundreds while his motets are few and unique among his compositions. They display Bach's unrelenting virtuosity and diverse contrapuntal style. As requested by several choir members, we will be  performing Jesu, meine Freude, one of Bach's best loved choral works. The longest and most complex of his six surviving motets as well as being the earliest, it was written for a funeral in 1723. The work comprises of eleven short movements arranged in a symmetrical musical structure, with the same setting of the main chorale tune in the first and last movements and an elaborate fugue in the sixth movement. Free settings of the chorale are included in other sections of the work.  

 

 

The third piece in our concert is Splendente te, Deus by Mozart. This is regarded as the finest chorus from Thamos, King of Egypt, a heroic drama by von Gelber for which, between 1773 and 1780, Mozart wrote the incidental music. It is set for chorus, soloists and orchestra. Vincent Novello brought the music to British audiences after his 'Mozart Pilgrimage' to Europe in 1829 and, after publication of the score, Splendente te, Deus immediately became the most popular of the work's three choruses.

 

 

We hope that the exciting programme on offer for our Autumn concert will appeal to you. Please come along - and tell your friends! Thanks as ever to those of you who continue to give us your support - this is vital for a small choir such as ours. We look forward to seeing you at the Cathedral on 26 September.
Kind regards and best wishes

 

 

 

 

Tom Moore  

 

 


13 March 2015

 

 

Dear Friends

 

 
 
After another exciting year of music making, highlighted by our performances of the Palestrina's Missa Papae Marcelli in June and the Rutter Gloria with the Austonley Brass in September, the choir is now well into rehearsals for our first subscription concert of the new season, which we hope you will be able to share with us.
 
The Spring concert will take place at St John's Church in Wakefield on 16 May (7.30pm) and will include a very mixed programme of sacred and secular music. The sacred pieces will be the Missa Brevis in B flat by Mozart and the splendid Purcell verse anthem "O sing unto the Lord" which was written in 1688. The Purcell work shows him at his most Italianate, with vigorous antiphony between voices and organ as well as between a prominent solo bass and the chorus. Both works were performed by Consort when we sang the Sunday services at Wakefield Cathedral on 15 February to excellent critical acclaim.
 
I am delighted that we will also be performing the Five Negro Spirituals from A Child of Our Time, an oratorio with an anti-war message composed by Michael Tippett. After release from imprisonment for his pacifist beliefs the oratorio was given its first performance in March 1944 at the Adelphi Theatre on the Strand in London. The five spirituals are for unaccompanied chorus with as many as eleven separate parts in one of the pieces. We will also be singing an arrangement of "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" arranged by Dale Adelmann for St. John's College, Cambridge. Further contrast will be provided by a performance of three sparkling choral arrangements of popular songs from the Great American Songbook - Jerome Kern's "Smoke gets in your eyes", Cole Porter's "Let's do it" and "In the mood" by Joe Garland. We hope you enjoy the variety we have to offer.
 
Since our last letter there have been a number of personnel changes to both the choir and our supporting organists. Three stalwart choir members - Kath Lowe, Valerie Purkiss and John Holt - have decided to call it a day. All three have given Consort great support over many years and will be sorely missed by us all. John, however, will continue to be our deputy chorus master. On the plus side I am delighted that Pritiva Attiken has joined the contralto ranks, and Chris Why has replaced John as a second tenor. It is good to have them both on board.
 
Both organists who have supported Consort over recent years have also moved to pastures new. Daniel Justin has moved from Leeds Cathedral to become Musical Director at The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Norwich and Simon Earl has been appointed as Director of Music at Christchurch Priory in Dorset. We also wish Daniel and Simon well. Our new organist at Wakefield Cathedral is Sachin Gunga, and it will also be a pleasure having him supporting St. Peter's Consort.
 
Our second subscription concert will take place at Wakefield Cathedral on 26 September (7.30pm). Whilst the programme has not yet been decided, it will include one of the magnificent JS Bach Motets - "Jesu Meine Freude", which has been requested by several choir members. Full details of the programme for this concert will be advised in our next letter which will be sent during the Summer. The Consort will sing its usual carol concert in aid of MacMillan Cancer Research at Dewsbury Baptist Church on 7 December (7.30pm) and the subscription carol concert will again be at St. John's Church in Wakefield on 9 December (7.30pm).
 
Although over the past fifteen months we have incurred considerable expense with the use of both an orchestra and a brass band, we have decided not to increase the admission charges for this year's season, remaining at £9 with £7 for concessions. We hope you feel this offers great value for money.
 
The Friends’ subscription for the season will also remain at £15 (with £12 for concessions) – this will allow “free” admission to all three subscription concerts. If you wish to become a Friend of St. Peter’s Consort for 2015, please send a cheque (payable to St. Peter’s Consort) for the appropriate amount to Richard Gadsby, 22 Headlands Close, Liversedge, WF15 7QL, who will then forward you this year’s Friend’s Membership Card.
 
The Consort website gives further details of our activities throughout the year. Do log on to keep up with our progress! For a small choir such as ours, your support is vital. We look forward to seeing you at future concerts, and thank you most warmly for your continued support of Consort.
 
Kind regards and best wishes
 
 
Tom Moore 



 

 12 November 2014

 Dear Friends
 
As another year rushes by the festive season is nearly upon us again. Our annual Carol Concert will be performed, for the first time, at St John's Church in Wakefield on 10 December (starting as usual at 7.30pm). The programme will consist of the usual mixture of seasonal music combined with readings and carols for audience participation. Daniel Justin will make a welcome return to play the organ for this concert.
 
Over many years Consort has enjoyed performing its Christmas concert at St Mary's Church at Horbury Junction where we have been made most welcome. However, following the success of last year's performance of Handel's Messiah at St John's Church we have decided that this church would make an excellent venue for our seasonal concert. In additional to the excellent acoustics and intimate atmosphere, we felt that a more central location would be appropriate for many of our audience members.
 
2014 has been a particularly exciting year for the choir. Our Autumn concert at the Cathedral, with the celebratory theme of Gloria, culminated in a performance of the wonderful Gloria by John Rutter with Austonley Brass. The feedback we received was very positive both from audience members and the brass group which felt that "between us we crafted a stylish performance that blended the sounds of the choir, brass and organ wonderfully."
 
It was good to see our audience numbers swelled with fellow singers at our concerts this year, and we hope that many of you can find time to come along and lead in the singing of the audience carols. The admission fee for the concert is £9 (or £7 for concessions) but, of course, for those of you who have 2014 Friends of St. Peter’s Consort cards admission on the night is free. Refreshments will be available at the end of concert and we look forward to meeting as many of you as possible afterwards.
  
Thank you for support once again this year. On behalf of all the choir members can I wish you a Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year, and we look forward to seeing you again soon.
  
Kind regards

Tom Moore
 

1 September 2014
 
 
Dear Friends
 
 
 
Many thanks to those of you who attended our last concert on 14 June at St John's Church in Wakefield. We have never previously performed a programme dedicated to early music, but we’re delighted it seemed to go down so well with the audience, and the choir members thoroughly enjoyed performing the music.
 
Our Autumn subscription concert this year will again be at Wakefield Cathedral on 27 September (starting at 7.30pm; £9 with £7 for concessions; interval drinks available). This will be a concert with real impact both in the works chosen and the performers we have engaged.
 
The celebratory theme, Gloria, is reflected in the selection of four very contrasting pieces with that title. Francis Poulenc's exuberant Gloria, written for solo soprano, choir and orchestra, was first performed in Boston, Massachusetts, in January 1961 two years before his death. Our performance will have organ accompaniment, ably provided by Simon Earl. Lasting some twenty-eight minutes, the piece has a whole range of styles in its six movements, ranging from Stravinsky-like dissonances to lush, sensuous choral progressions, mixing Poulenc's very personal style of humour and solemnity.
 
The second of our four Gloria pieces is from "Missa Sancti Nicolai", one of Joseph Haydn's famous Masses. Written in Haydn's typically lively classical style, this movement also includes a section for solo soprano. A contrast to the Haydn is provided with the grandeur of the "Gloria in Excelsis" by Charles Villiers Stanford, which was first performed at the coronation of HM King George V in June 1911. Such was the popularity of the work that it was also included in the orders of service for the coronations of HM George VI in May 1938 and HM Queen Elizabeth II in June 1953.
 
The fourth choral item, completing the celebratory theme for the concert, is the Gloria by the highly popular English composer John Rutter. First performed in Omaha in the United States in May 1974, it is scored for organ, percussion and brass. Like the Poulenc Gloria, much variety is packed into its relatively short duration - in this case of seventeen minutes. The three movements are, in turn, fast, slow and fast; to quote Rutter himself "exalted, devotional and jubilant in turn". The second section is quiet and introspective which contrasts dramatically with the final movement, which has more than a hint of Walton's Belshazzar's Feast with its jazzy style. We are delighted to be joined for this performance by Austonley Brass, whose members play regularly with the likes of the BBC Philharmonic, the Halle Orchestra and other well known ensembles.
 
We hope you will be as excited as we are about this next concert. Please come along - and tell your friends! Thanks as ever to those of you who continue to give us your support - vital for a small choir such as ours. We look forward to seeing you at the Cathedral on 27 September.  
 
Kind regards and best wishes
 
Tom Moore  
 
 
 



14 March 2014
 
Dear Friends
 
As we embark on our thirty-first year as a chamber choir, we can reflect on an excellent year of celebration in 2013, culminating in the performance of Handel's Messiah on 11 December, which the Wakefield Express described as "Messiah as it was intended on an evening of musical excellence".
 
Our spring concert this year, at St. John's Church in Wakefield (7.30pm on 14 June) will focus on music of the Renaissance and Tudor periods. The centrepiece will be Palestrina's Missa Papae Marcelli. First published in 1557, the music is of memorable beauty and simplicity. It is the most famous and often-performed of Palestrina's masses. Consort sang the Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei sections of the mass at Wakefield Cathedral on 16 February to excellent critical acclaim. We will perform the full mass, which lasts for some thirty minutes, in June.
 
The choir's recent concerts have tended to focus on English and French choral classics of the twentieth century and it is to this repertoire we return for our autumn subscription concert at Wakefield Cathedral (7.30pm on 27 September). We hope to perform the Gloria by Francis Poulenc and the very different Gloria composed by John Rutter. Poulenc's piece, first sung in 1961, is one of his most celebrated works and is full of musical contrasts, the text being set to music of unmistakable freshness and vitality. Rutter's music is wonderfully approachable and his setting of the Gloria, first performed in 1974, remains one of his most popular works.
 
The Consort will sing its usual carol concert in aid of MacMillan Cancer Research at Dewsbury Baptist Church on 8 December (7.30pm). The venue for our subscription carol concert on 10 December has yet to be arranged, but we will let you know more details of this in our next letter.
 
After our recent success with Handel's Messiah, we are keen to promote future concerts which require larger forces, both instrumentalists and soloists, to help us build our growing reputation as one of the leading chamber choirs in West Yorkshire. To help with funding for such performances we have reluctantly decided to increase the admission price for each of this year's subscription concerts by £1 (to £9, with £7 concessions). The Friends’ subscription for the season will be £15 (with £12 for concessions), reflecting the £1 increase per concert. This will allow “free” admission to all three subscription concerts. We hope you agree that the admission price for a Consort concert, particularly as a “Friend”, still offers great value for money.
 
If you wish to become a Friend of St. Peter’s Consort for 2014, please send a cheque (payable to St. Peter’s Consort) for the appropriate amount to Richard Gadsby, 22 Headlands Close, Liversedge, WF15 7QL, who will then forward you this year’s Friend’s Membership Card.
 
Thank you for visiting our wweb-site which will give further details of our activities throughout the year. Do log on to keep up with our progress!
 
Finally, if you prefer future communications from us electronically, will you please let Richard (r.gadsby@ntlworld.com) have details of your e-mail ID.
 
For a small choir such as ours, your support is vital. We look forward to seeing you at future concerts, and thank you most warmly for your continued support of Consort.
 
Kind regards and best wishes
 
 
Tom Moore  



 

14 November 2013
 
Dear Friends
 
This year has passed by very quickly and it will soon be time for our third and final subscription concert. Our performance of Handel's masterpiece Messiah on 11 December (at 7.30pm) will be in the intimate setting of St. John's Church in Wakefield, which we anticipate will be a worthy climax to Consort's thirtieth year celebrations.
 
I am delighted that we will be supported on this special occasion by an excellent group of musicians in The Cathedral Strings - leader Nicholas Meredith plus  soloists Rhiannon Beck (soprano), Lucy Appleyard (alto), Tom Morss (tenor) and Chris McKeon (bass). Our rendition, with only twenty singers, a small orchestra and soloists, will be an authentic version using the smaller forces Handel wrote the work for, and used in its first performance in Dublin in April 1742.    
 
The admission fee on this occasion will be £10 (£8 for concessions), given the significant costs of pulling together this particular concert (2013 Friends, of course, will have free admission). We are expecting a sizeable audience, so I would recommend you come in good time for the concert.
 
The Consort will sing its usual carol concert in aid of MacMillan Cancer Research at Dewsbury Baptist Church on 9 December (7.30pm) to which you are also all cordially invited.
 
2013 has been another excellent year for Consort and many thanks for your continuing support. I look forward to seeing you next month.
 
Kind regards and best wishes

Tom Moore

 



21 August 2013
 
Dear Friends
 
After our summer break, the Consort choir members are looking forward with renewed enthusiasm to starting rehearsals again tonight for the Autumn subscription concert which takes place on 28 September (starting at 7.30pm) at Wakefield Cathedral. This promises to be an exciting event for Consort and we hope for our audience, as it will be the first time as a group we will have performed at the Cathedral since the recent refurbishment of the Nave.
 
We now a much more generous acoustic to sing in, with as much as two to three seconds of echo in the Nave at the end of loud music! The striking Britten Te Deum in C for choir, soprano solo and organ, written by Britten as a young man nearing the end of his studies at the Royal College of Music in 1934, promises to display the choir and organ to resounding effect.
 
We have an anniversary theme to the concert which includes a tribute to Britten in the centenary year of his birth. We will also be performing his splendid and varied Choral Dances from the opera Gloriana. When Queen Elizabeth I made a state visit to Norwich she was entertained by these Choral Dances, with dancers, country girls, young rustics and fishermen all paying homage to the Queen.
 
We are also delighted to be giving a seventieth birthday tribute to Philip Moore. His expressive music follows in the great tradition of his illustrious predecessors Edward Bairstow and Dr Francis Jackson at York Minster and we are sure you will enjoy the contrast of his Antiphon with a lyrical piece entitled It Is A Thing Most Wonderful. The latter piece was written for Jonathan Bielby and the Wakefield Cathedral choir in honour of the hundredth anniversary of the Wakefield Diocese which just last month celebrated its 125 year.
 
The Wakefield connection continues with the lively anthem O God, Enfold Me In The Sun, written by former chorister Kenneth Leighton who died twenty-five years ago, which again promises to show off the Consort to good effect with the new acoustics. A complete contrast is provided with the gently flowing Listen Sweet Dove, written by Grayston Ives, a composer and choral director who is perhaps most famous for being a member of The Kings Singers from 1978 to 1985.
 
We also offer a tribute to Francis Poulenc who died fifty years ago. Salve Regina is a good example of his quirky style of A Capella music and we hope you enjoy our rendering of this piece.
 
As ever we plan to perform a varied programme with several interesting and exciting pieces not often heard, in this case by mainly modern English composers. We hope that you will want to share the evening with us and we look forward to seeing you on 28 September (£8 admission by programme or £6 concessions). Many thanks for your ongoing support, which is particularly welcome during our thirtieth year celebrations which will culminate in a performance of Handel's Messiah at St. John's Church in December.
 
Kind regards and best wishes
 
Tom Moore  



 12 April 2013

 
Dear Friends
 
The next subscription concert for St. Peter's Consort on 4 May (starting at 7.30pm) will once again be in the intimate setting of St. John's Church in Wakefield. The reordered building gives us much improved acoustics and an ideal setting for an evening of romantic and lyrical French music from the late nineteen and twentieth centuries.
 
As mentioned in our last letter, the showpiece will be Louis Vierne's splendid Messe Solennelle. Written for two organs, our performance will be with just one, but the work will display the colours of the splendid organ at St. John's to great effect, particularly under the expert guidance of Daniel Justin, who we welcome back for the evening.
 
We will also be performing the Duruflé motets on Gregorian themes. Consort has performed individual motets from this series at previous concerts but this will be first time all four will be performed together. The work was written before the final version of the well-known Requiem and has many of the characteristics of that wonderful piece.
 
Consort will give a rare performance of the 'Trois chansons de Charles d'Orleans' by Claude Debussy. Written very much in the impressionist style they are fiendishly difficult to learn but extremely effective pieces. We will perform again the cheerful Psalm 150 by Cesar Franck along with three rather gentler motets by Vierne and Pierre Villette.
 
To continue the French theme of the evening Daniel will play Cortege et Litanie by Maurice Dupré, which has the sound of church bells building to a great climax, alongside Hamburger Totentanz by Guy Bovet, a contemporary composer. A Totentanz is the 'dance of death', but Bovet shows a great deal of humour in his approach, quoting from quite a few recognisable compositions.
 
As mentioned in our last letter, we thank you for your continued support. For a small choir such as ours, your support is vital. Our Friends’ subscription for the season is £12.50 (with £9.50 for concessions) – this will allow “free” admission to all three subscription concerts including, this year, a performance of Handel's Messiah with a small orchestra and soloists. If you wish to become a Friend of St. Peter’s Consort for 2013, please send a cheque (payable to St. Peter’s Consort) for the appropriate amount to Richard Gadsby, 22 Headlands Close, Liversedge, WF15 7QL, who will then forward you this year’s Friend’s Membership Card.
 
We hope to see you on 4 May (£8 admission by programme or £6 concessions) for a performance of very varied French music at a splendid venue - it promises to be something very different.
 
Kind regards and best wishes
  
Tom Moore  



5th March 2013

 
Dear Friends
 
We are delighted and proud to have made it to thirty years as a chamber choir! Several of the original members still sing with us, and we would like to invite you to be part of our 30th anniversary celebrations.
 
As befitting our special year we are planning to perform some exciting choral masterpieces. Our spring concert on 4 May (at 7.30pm) will again be in the lovely setting of St. John's Church in Wakefield and will be dedicated to examples of the wide variety of sacred and secular French music, with its unique lyrical and passionate style. The showpiece item will be the majestic Messe Solennelle by Louis Vierne for organ and choir.
 
The autumn concert on 28 September (7.30pm), will give us a welcome opportunity to sing at the refurbished Wakefield Cathedral following the major Nave redevelopment project. The concert will include a tribute to Benjamin Britten in the centenary year of his birth, and the delightful Choral Dances from Gloriana will be among the pieces to be performed.
 
The Consort will sing its usual carol concert in aid of MacMillan Cancer Research at Dewsbury Baptist Church on 9 December (7.30pm) to which you are all cordially invited. However to mark this special year our third and final subscription concert will be a performance Handel's Messiah in the intimate setting of St. John's Church on 11 December (7.30pm). This masterpiece is of course normally performed across the country by large Choral Societies and orchestras. However our rendition, with only twenty singers, a small orchestra and soloists, will be a more authentic version using the smaller forces Handel wrote the work for, and used for its first performance in Dublin in April 1742. It promises to be a splendid occasion.
 
Thank you to those of you who have been loyal to us in the past - we look forward to your continued support. For a small choir such as ours, your support is vital, and helps us to build on our reputation as a leading chamber choir in the West Yorkshire area, and put on performances such as this year's Messiah.
 
 
Ticket prices for the three concerts this year will remain at £8 (£6 for concessions). The Friends’ subscription for the season will also remain at £12.50 (with £9.50 for concessions) – this will allow “free” admission to all three subscription concerts. We think that the admission price for a Consort concert, particularly as a “Friend”, offers great value for money and we hope you will agree.
 
If you wish to become a Friend of St. Peter’s Consort for 2013, please send a cheque (payable to St. Peter’s Consort) for the appropriate amount to Richard Gadsby, 22 Headlands Close, Liversedge, WF15 7QL, who will then forward you this year’s Friend’s Membership Card.
 
The Consort website (www.stpetersconsort.co.uk) gives further details of our activities throughout the year. Do log on to keep up with our progress!
 
Finally, if you prefer future communications from us electronically, will you please let Richard (r.gadsby@ntlworld.com) have details of your e-mail ID.
 
We look forward to seeing you at future concerts, and thank you most warmly for your continued support of Consort.
 
Kind regards and best wishes
 



 

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