W.A.Mozart Requiem & Carols
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to our Mozart Concert. We are so pleased to be able to FINALLY give this concert which was originally scheduled for March 2020. The world may have changed but the Mozart Requiem has not. However, our programme has slightly as we are now coupling the Requiem with some seasonal Carols. Please feel free to join in with the participation carols and feel free to sing with or without your masks on. We do ask that when you are seated you wear your mask. Last Christmas was such a difficult time for all of us and we wanted to bring back singing at Christmas with a second half of our concert filled with well-known and loved carols.
I am so thrilled to have been able to invite some of my very favourite soloists to come and perform with us tonight and we are very much looking forward to hearing Michelle and Charles, and we are hearing James Gray play again this evening. James played this on an old keyboard sinking in the grass in the summer and he wanted to play again in a venue with a lovely piano this evening. There are always so many people to thank when putting together a concert like this and I would like to extend my gratitude to all the wonderful committee of NCS who work tirelessly to support myself and the choir and to our wonderful accompanist James Mooney-Dutton.
I do hope you enjoy our concert this evening. Our next concert will be a joint venture with Harrow Philharmonic Choir and Trinity Orchestra - Mendelssohn's magnificent oratorio Elijah. Then we follow that on June 18th with a potted version of Gilbert & Sullivan's hilarious Savoy Opera Iolanthe. We have many events throughout the year which can be discovered via our website. Enjoy the concert and we hope to see you again soon. northwoodchoralsociety.com.
Julie Bale Music Director
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
I. Introitus: Requiem - solo Sarah Brameld
III. Sequentia: Dies irae
IV. Offertorium: Domine Jesu
VII. Agnus Dei
Composed 1791 (incomplete at death).
First performance: January 2, 1793, Vienna.
In his Requiem Mass, Mozart enjoyed the dubious distinction of being able to knowingly leave behind a last testament. Even though not completed, the work stands today as one of the greatest expressions of faith ever cast as a work of art. The catalyst for the work was a commission in July 1791, not from Salieri in the costume of Leopold Mozart, as the film “Amadeus” suggests, but from a wealthy dilettante and fellow freemason, Count Walsegg-Stuppach. It was widely known that the Count regularly presented concerts of works he claimed as his own. Then, at the end of each concert before general festivities, the audience would be asked to identify the composer. This particular commission was, however, intended to be more serious—a Requiem for the Count’s twenty-year-old wife who died the previous February.
Despite his love for larger forms such as a Requiem, Mozart’s first instinct was to decline the commission for the simple reason that he already felt overworked and was, perhaps, experiencing the first symptoms of his final and fatal bout with kidney disease. The decision was probably made for him when the Count’s grey-clad emissary offered Mozart the princely sum of 50 ducats immediately and another 50 at the completion of the work in four weeks. As he began to work on the Requiem, he came to believe that higher sources intended it to be played at his own funeral. After finishing the first two sections, he was forced to suspend work in order to put the final touches on Die Zauberflöte and to travel to Prague for the composition and production of his last opera, La Clemenza di Tito. Late in September, he returned to Vienna to write some Masonic funeral music and his last large scale work, the Concerto for Clarinet, K. 622. He took to his bed in late November and died on December 5, 1791.
At the time of his death, he had scored almost all of the first two movements of the Requiem and left the other seven only in sketch form—most with a figured bass line to indicate the intended harmony. For fear that she should have to return all or a portion of the fee, the composer’s widow prevailed upon Mozart’s pupil Joseph Eybler to score the middle movements and compose the final three. He touched up the orchestration in parts of Mozart’s manuscript but couldn’t bring himself to add his own work to that of Mozart’s. Constanze then turned to another student, Franz Xavier Süssmayr, to complete the work. Süssmayr is usually thought to have composed the recitatives for La Clemenza di Tito. Constanze had already turned to him for help in finishing various other works—mostly to allow their sale for the purpose of alleviating Mozart’s debt.
As for the Requiem, Süssmayr finished it by melodically filling in Mozart’s harmonies and composing the final three sections. This version is the one considered to be “standard” and is being performed this evening. As time goes by, however, more and more scholar-composers are taking umbrage with Süssmayr’s work and producing their own “authoritative editions”. The first public performance reportedly took place at the funeral of Franz Joseph Haydn in 1809. There is, however, record of a fundraising performance just days after Mozart’s death. Which version was used? This and other questions may never be answered. As for Count Walsegg-Stuppach, he paid the remaining 50 Ducats.
A Short Interval of 5 minutes
Gershwin - The Man I Love - James Gray - Piano
With music by George Gershwin and lyrics by his brother, Ira, this song was originally published as "The Girl I Love" in 1924. The first recordings of the song were in 1928.
"The Man I Love" was a song without an audience. It was not that George Gershwin's music or his brother Ira's lyrics were not good enough. They were – and still are – but the song simply did not fit in any of the musicals of the era. It was originally intended to be part of the Gershwins' 1924 musical, Lady, Be Good, with the title, "The Girl I Love." When Adele Astaire, who helped make her younger brother, Fred, more famous than she would ever be, sang the song at the musical's off-Broadway opening in Philadelphia, it was given a nice round of applause. Ira recalled that she sang it "charmingly." Anyone who has ever heard Billie Holiday's version would hardly call it a charming song, and therein lay the problem. This song of simple yearning did not belong in a musical, or at least not a musical of the 1920s.
The Gershwins tried to fit the song in somewhere else after it was dropped from Lady, Be Good. With the new title, "The Man I Love," it appeared in satirical anti-war show, Strike Up the Band, in 1927 and then again in Flo Ziegfeld's Rosalie in 1928, but he deleted the number from the show in rehearsal. There was one person who did like the song, though. Lady Edwina Mountbatten, wife of the great-grandson of Queen Victoria and member of England's high society heard the song when George played it a party. It was not the least bit unusual for George to commandeer a piano at party during the Roaring Twenties and play his catalog of songs. He was not shy about his work or his talent. Lady Mountbatten took a copy of the music back to England and requested that her favorite dance orchestras play it. "The Man I Love" caught fire in London and Paris.
William Mathias - Sir Christémas
Franz Gruber - Stille Nacht
John Rutter - Star Carol
Trad. Ding Dong Merrily on High
Trad. Away in a Manger
Harold Darke - In the Bleak Midwinter - Solo Sarah Brameld & Alan Powell
Trad. O Come All Ye Faithful
Trad. Arthur Warrell - We Wish You A Merry Christmas
Julie Bale - Conductor & Soprano
Julie Bale is an eminent teacher of voice as well as being a well-loved soprano and conductor. She has tutored many UK Choirs including the London Oriana Choir. She studied Music and German at Oxford Brookes University, continuing her studies with a PGCE from Goldsmith's College, University of London and an ARCM from the Royal College of Music whilst working with Elizabeth Robson. She continued her studies in singing and vocal pedagogy with Professor Janice Chapman AUM MOA and with Dame Josephine Barstow. She regularly leads workshops for choirs and has adjudicated a number of competitions. She studied conducting and choral direction with Manvinder Rattan and Sarah Tenant Flowers and with Amy Bebbington of the Association of British Choral Directors for whom she regularly presents vocal technique workshops.
She continues to enjoy a busy career as a singer. She has performed the vast majority of the Oratorio repertoire with choirs all over the UK with regular appearances in Verdi's Requiem, Orff's Carmina Burana as well as numerous Messiahs and Elijah's and sings principal roles in opera with companies such as Dorset Opera, Berwick Festival Opera and OperaHerts. Her next operatic outing will be in February 2022 when she will cover the role of Abigaille Nabucco for Uncovered Opera.
Andrew Bale - Tenor
Andrew Bale is a keen tenor and has sung in opera groups and choirs around the London area. He is married to and taught by Julie Bale. He has taken part in workshops and master classes with the eminent SLT/Singer and BVA Workshop Leader Ron Morris and regularly sings as a soloist both with Northwood Choral Society and other local Choral Societies. He is the chairman of Northwood Choral Society.
James Gray - Piano Soloist
James is a Year 13 student at Aldenham School where he holds both an academic and a Music scholarship. He also plays the Organ, he won a bursary from the Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire Organists Association to begin playing but he is also a huge fan of piano music, in particular Chopin, Rachmaninov, Debussy and Liszt. He studies piano with John Wyatt and achieved his Grade 8 Piano a year ago. He is currently working on a Piano Diploma in conjunction with his A Levels. James is also a very fine singer and is an invaluable member of our Bass section.
Michelle Harris - Mezzo - Soprano
Michelle Harris – Mezzo Soprano is a Post-graduate of the Royal Academy of Music, where she was supported by scholarships and prizes, including the Jennifer Vyvian Scholarship, Isabel Jay Opera Prize and the Oppenheim- Downs Memorial Fund. She was a Finalist in the 2002 Wagner Society Competition. An experienced international operatic and concert soloist, she has worked for companies including Opera National de Lyon, Laboratorio Voci in Canti [ Rome]. Michelle created the role of Sesto in the live televised world premiere of Cavalli’s Pompeo Magno (Croatia), conducted by Paul Esswood. She has worked under the batons of Frans Bruggen, Kent Nagano, Louis Langree, Martin Fitzpatrick and Mark Minkowski.
In the UK, Michelle has been engaged as a professional singer by companies such as Kent Opera, Bampton Classical Opera, English Touring Opera and Garsington. She works as a freelance soloist for various festivals such as Presteigne, Chichester, Lower Machen, Canterbury and Bushey, as well as choral societies and orchestras.
Michelle has performed works from Cavalli through to Sondheim, including major Requiems by Mozart, Verdi and Durufle, masses by Haydn, Rossini and Schubert and as a soloist with orchestra in mezzo repertoire, including Elgar’s Sea Pictures, Respighi’s IlTramonto, Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasilieras No 5 and Berlioz Les Nuits D’Ete. She has a solo disc of performances of rare Massenet songs, Faure and Finzi’s ‘let us garlands bring’
In addition to performing, Michelle also teaches singing privately, at Junior and Senior King’s Schools and to degree and Masters students at Canterbury Christ Church. Currently she is involved in singing research regarding SOTVE and will presenting at Eurovox Conference in Edinburgh in the summer. She also runs a singing technique blog - singingfreedom.music.blog
James Mooney - Dutton - Organist
James Mooney-Dutton - Organ was educated at the Royal College of Music where he studied with Margaret Phillips and as a Music Scholar at Harrow School. He has held organ scholarships at Norwich Cathedral and the Royal Parish Church of St Martin-in-the-Fields. He began his musical education as a chorister at Westminster Abbey where he sang at the funeral of the late Diana, Princess of Wales. As a recitalist James has been invited to performed in many prestigious venues including St James’s Cathedral Toronto, Magdalen College Oxford, Our Lady and the English Martyrs Church in Cambridge, St Martin-in-the-Fields, Norwich Cathedral, Lincoln Cathedral, St Andrew’s Hall Norwich, Queen’s College Oxford and as well as performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He has strong musical associations with Canada and regularly travels there to perform.
James is active as a freelance church musician and accompanist, working regularly with a variety of individuals and ensembles and has been Stanmore Choral Society's accompanist since 2007.
James has broadcast live on BBC Radios 3 and 4 as well as appearing on Songs of Praise. James was for 11 years Director of Music at St Lawrence, Eastcote and since September 2017 has been Director of Music at St James’s Church, Bushey. When not engaged in all things musical James can be found spending time with his family, walking his Dogs and managing, with his wife Laura, their family business - James Funeral Service on Belmont Circle, Harrow.
Charles Pott - Baritone
Charles began his musical training as a chorister at New College, Oxford and later as a choral scholar at St John's College, Cambridge. After graduating in music he continued his vocal studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Since making his London solo debut in 1984, Charles has appeared as a soloist with such groups as the Academy of Ancient Music, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Bournemouth Sinfonietta and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. He has also appeared in over 275 recordings, including the acclaimed Complete Purcell Odes series with the King's Consort, the Venetian Coronation and Vespers with the Gabrieli Consort, many of the complete Bach Cantata series with Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the Monteverdi Choir, and other award-winning recordings with the Cardinall's Musick, Orlando Consort and Polyphony.
His work with these and other professional ensembles has taken him to many of the major British and European Festivals, and 1992 saw his solo debut at the Henry Wood Promenade Concerts at the Royal Albert Hall. Charles has also featured on the soundtrack of many films, including Pirates of the Caribbean, Da Vinci Code and Crimson Tide.
Northwood Choral Society
Sopranos: Sarah Brameld, Lisa Cuschieri, Lesley Dutton, Moira Furber, Alicia Johnson, Ina Mann, Cathie Nevin, Sally Rogers, Carol Went, Morfudd Wise
Altos: Alison Atkinson, Scarlet Brett, Jane Connell, Vivienne Forsyth, Faith Harris, Ely Jane, Sue Spurlock, Sally Manders
Tenors: Andrew Bale, Sylvia Park, Alan Powell
Basses: Colin De Vries, Chris Dutton, James Gray, John Ling, Jide Menekia, George Morris, Graham Wheeler
We are currently welcoming new members in the Tenor section. We rehearse on Sunday evenings from 7.30pm - 9.30pm at St. John’s Church Hall, Hallowell Road, Northwood. Please contact us via the website or by emailing email@example.com
Reg. Charity No. 267092
President: The Rt. Hon. the Lord Dyson
Music Director: Julie Bale
Accompanist: James Mooney-Dutton
Chairman: Andrew Bale
Secretary: Sarah Brameld
Treasurer: Alison Atkinson
Committee members: Jane Connell, Lisa Cuschieri, Carol Went
Concert Managers: Chris Dutton & Lesley Dutton