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The closing concert of the Palestine Choral Festival 2016 in Bethlehem, Palestine

The final concert of the Palestine Choral Festival took place last night at Dar Annadwa in Bethlehem, Palestine. Photographs include part of the massed children’s choir rehearsal, the pre-concert performance by Brass for Peace on the roof terrace and the concert itself. The following artists and groups performed: The Choir of London and Choir of London Instrumental Ensemble, The Australian Voices, Open House Ensemble, Amwaj Choir School (Bethlehem), Amwaj Choir School (Hebron), Bethlehem University Choir, Bethlehem Academy Junior Choir, Bethlehem Academy Choir (BACH), Bethlehem Quintet, College des Freres Choir (Bethlehem), St Catherine’s Custody Choir of the Holy Land (Bethlehem), Sounds of Palestine (Bethlehem), Lina Sleibi (Soprano) and Dima Bawab (Soprano).

 

The Choir of London singing at St Anne’s Church, Jerusalem Old City

The Choir of London gave a concert earlier today at St Anne’s Church, Jerusalem Old City, as part of the Palestine Choral Festival. The concert included works by Byrd, Tallis, Croce, Lobo, Tavener, La Rocca and Holst. [Photos by Sophie Pickford]

Young Palestinian Musicians performing in Beit Sahour, Palestine

The Choir of London Bursary Scheme gives young Palestinian musicians the chance to visit the UK for a short period of study, based around a residential music course with young British musicians, followed by a residency in London playing with Choir of London musicians, and ending with a showcase concert.

This year the Palestine Choral Festival has brought together several young Palestinian musicians who have traveled to London to participate in the Bursary Scheme since 2008. Earlier today, (photos below) they performed a programme of chamber music (Brahms Sextet, Hummel Septet, Strauss Metamorphosen) at the The Edward Said National Conservatory of Music in Beit Sahour, Palestine.

 

The Choir of London singing in the Latin Church, Taybeh, Palestine

The Choir of London gave a concert this evening in the Latin Church, Taybeh, Palestine, as part of the Palestine Choral Festival.

Concert for Sacra Liturgia UK

The Schola Cantorum of The London Oratory School will be giving a concert on Tuesday 5 July 2016 at 7pm at Holy Trinity Church, Prince Consort Road, London SW7. In association with Sacra Liturgia’s UK Conference, the concert will include Christopher Tye’s Missa Euge bone and motets by William Byrd, John Sheppard and Anton Bruckner. The Schola will also sing motets by two contemporary Catholic composers: Sir James MacMillan, a Patron of the Schola, and Frank La Rocca. Tickets priced £15 (£10 concessions) will be available on the door and in advance from schola@los.ac. Entry is free to Sacra Liturgia conference delegates.

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St Matthew Passion at the London Oratory

The Schola Cantorum of the London Oratory School will be performing J.S. Bach’s St Matthew Passion on Tuesday 15 March 2016 at 7pm at the London Oratory. The Schola will be joined by the London Oratory Junior Choir and the Belgravia Chamber Orchestra, directed by Charles Cole. The part of the Evangelist will be sung by Nicholas Mulroy and the part of Christus by Marcus Farnsworth. The performance will be sung in German and the solo Arias will be sung by boys from the Schola. Tickets, priced £20 (£10 concessions) will be available on the door and in advance from the Oratory House. Generously sponsored by Rawlinson & Hunter and Maecenas. See the poster below for more details.

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The London Oratory Christmas Carol Service

Annual Carol Service

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Carol Service for Aid to the Church in Need

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John Scott RIP

john_scottThe world of Church Music was deeply saddened yesterday to learn of the death of John Scott, the Organist and Director of Music at St Thomas’s, Fifth Avenue in New York. Before taking up his position there in 2004, he was Director of Music at St Paul’s Cathedral in London for many years. The last time I met him a few years ago he had just given a spectacular recital at Westminster Cathedral. At the reception afterwards, you would never have realised that he was the man in whose honour we were all gathered. Despite his international stature and towering reputation, he stood awkwardly to the side, speaking quietly and modestly, as though embarrassed by the attention. His famous choral CDs from St Paul’s are now considered benchmark recordings of the Anglican repertory, uniting one of the largest Cathedral choirs of the English tradition with the magnificent Smith, Willis & Mander organ, in the lavish (if preposterous) acoustics of Sir Christopher Wren’s crowning glory.

And although the word ‘inspiration’ is one we tend to overuse, it should be applied here with its fullest meaning in respect of the elevating influence he had on the liturgy and particularly on the young choristers who were fortunate enough to sing for him. Generations of boys have been coaxed to the highest of standards of music-making by his rigour and determination, and many of them have continued as professional church musicians in later life, making his influence and legacy, literally, immeasurable. In particular our thoughts should be with those boys currently in the Choir of St Thomas’s, his last choristers, as the sense of loss for them must be acute and incomprehensible. Above all, we pray for John’s family: his wife Lily, who is expecting their first child, as well as two children, Emma and Alex, from his previous marriage.

John Scott’s organ recordings are known for their flair and virtuosity. He was an immensely accomplished organist with a phenomenal repertoire and an unparalleled technique. His recordings for the Hyperion label can be seen here. One particular favourite of mine is his disc of organ music by Marcel Dupré which includes Placare Christe servulis which you can listen to below (courtesy of Hyperion Records). Based on the Vesper hymn for All Saints, it is a fiery toccata in which John deploys St Paul’s famous Royal Trumpets towards the end. We pray that he will soon be in the company of those Saints. May he rest in peace.

Bruckner, Rheinberger & J.S. Bach

In November, the Schola Cantorum of The London Oratory School will be singing a concert of music by Anton Bruckner, Josef Rheinberger and J.S. Bach. The concert, directed by Charles Cole, will take place at St James’s, Sussex Gardens, London W2 at 7.30pm on Friday 27 November 2015. The programme includes Sacred Motets by Bruckner, the Mass in E flat (Cantus Missae) by Rheinberger and J.S. Bach’s mighty motet Singet dem herrn. Tickets priced £15 (£10 concessions) will be available on the door or in advance, and children are admitted free. For more information see the poster below or visit the Schola’s Facebook page.

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