Matthew Thomas Morgan on his first term as Musical Director Classical

Congratulations to all on your work in Spring 2023. Thanks again for welcoming me wholeheartedly and being open to new ideas and musical thoughts! The concert was a triumph, and you tackled the complex and challenging repertoire with vigour, determination and without complaining (too much!) We had some stunning moments within the concert, and the audience feedback I received was very positive and included tears of joy, along with the odd appreciative note from our local friendly four-legged friend! There was a significant improvement in the clarity of our use of text, and this fed into continuing to nourish the choir’s naturally warm tone. Let’s continue to build upon this foundation next term! I know that many of you enjoyed our sectional rehearsals last term and wanted more…. I have listened… your wish will be my command.

Our thoughts move to pastures new for the Summer Term 2023 and enrolment…. I use the aesthetic of a ‘pasture’ aptly, the programme contrasts town and country, highlighting the joys and distinctiveness of each. I like to think of the programme as the ultimate in an old-fashioned sweet shop. Jars laden with goodies, a little of this, some more of that, everyone can pick their favourites.

We have some musical gems, some summer frolics and something from the piano to enjoy. The Chamber Choir continue their exploration of lush and ravishing harmonies in ‘Now sleeps the crimson petal’ by Paul Mealor & ‘Chansons des Roses’ by Morten Lauridsen. (Can you see what I did in terms of programming?) I am particularly looking forward to exploring the French text in the Lauridsen and promise we can all ‘go back to school’ with our pronunciation!

The Oratorio Choir have a large challenge in Vaughan Williams ‘Serenade to Music’, which will provide opportunities for ‘in house’ solos again (so get your thinking caps on). This has much musical richness and harmonically wafts its sweet musk of a summer’s evening. Delius will provide some levity with a couple of madrigal style pieces, celebrating the warmth and fun of the summer season. The Oratorio Choir will also contrast the Town and Country in McDowell’s ‘Fancy of Folksongs’ and Chilcott’s ‘Songs and Cries of London Town’. (I promise to be the expert in dialect and show you the real Billingsgate Market accent!) The Chilcott is particularly lively and lucid, and I am sure this will provide a great contrast to the music of this term past. We will also look forward to welcoming four hands across two piano keyboards for this piece!

Enjoy the holidays and I will see you soon, ready, and raring to go!

Matthew Thomas Morgan
Musical Director, Classical

Summer term music
Oratorio Choir:
Vaughan Williams Serenade to Music, Cecilia McDowall A Fancy of Folksongs, Chilcott Songs & Cries of Old London Town, Delius Midsummer Song, Delius To be sung of a Summer Night on the Water.
Chamber Choir:
Morton Lauridsen Les Chansons des Roses, Paul Mealor Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal.

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