Happy new year!
2018 marks our second year working together as an ensemble, and we’re continuing to push the boundaries to find interesting and unusual repertoire that’s fun to perform and listen to.
We’re excited to be starting the first few months of this year with three very different concerts, with a collection of works spanning from the early years of the 17th Century to entirely new music.
On Friday 2nd February we’ll be in the glorious surroundings of Exeter College Chapel to perform a programme of 20th and 21st Century choral music inspired by St Francis of Assisi. Along with the recognisable settings of St Francis’s own poetry in the Quatre petites prières by Francis Poulenc, we’ll be featuring two treatments of the same text: the Cantico del Sole by William Walton, and contemporary American composer Carol Barnett’s Laudato si’, mi Signore (from which the concert’s title, “Brother Sun, Sister Moon” is taken). We’ll also be exploring the themes of the divine in nature with a cappella works by Judith Weir and Sally Beamish, two of Lili Boulanger’s magnificent but rarely heard settings for voices and piano, and a new work by Irish composer Solfa Carlile, Between Sea and Sky.
All proceeds from this concert will be donated to Crisis Skylight Oxford, a local charity that provides accommodation, education, healthcare, and other support to the homeless in Oxford.
Tuesday 27th February finds us in The Deanery of Christ Church, Oxford, for an intimate soiree of songs by a range of 17th Century Italian composers. From the passion and flair of Barbara Strozzi and Francesca Caccini, to the intense devotion of Bianca Maria Meda and Caterina Assandra, this is an exciting chance for us to perform some lesser-known works – many of which have only recently been rediscovered – for voice, lute, harpsichord, and strings, in a unique venue.
Our last concert before Easter, on Saturday 24th March, takes on a seasonably appropriate theme as we juxtapose David Lang’s little match girl passion with Agostino Steffani’s Stabat Mater. David Lang’s idiosyncratic, 2008-Pulitzer-Prize-winning setting of words from Hans Christian Andersen, St Mark, and others, recasts the well-known fairy tale of the little match girl as a passion narrative for four solo voices and percussion that neatly leads into Steffani’s highly emotionally charged late baroque setting of the Stabat Mater text for six singers and orchestra. We’re fairly sure no-one has attempted to perform these works in one concert before so make sure you’re there for a never-before-heard musical experience in Queen’s College Chapel.
Whatever your musical tastes, we’re fairly sure we’re doing something this term you’ll enjoy!
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