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Nigel's Blog

A February update from Nigel

Posted on 1st March 2018

A relatively quiet month for us. Hooray! This month it was great to see the release of our album Symphonic Psalms and Prayers. It’s taken almost a decade to make this project happen and working with our singers and the players of the BBCSO was an absolute privilege. To have their skill and commitment to such wonderful music is just what this repertoire deserves and it was a joy from start to finish.

Very pleased to say we gave the very first performance of the new Chiltern Arts Festival in Marlow to a packed out church and it was Russian Treasures again delighting listeners, especially the low notes of our human subwoofers Adrian Peacock and Jimmy Holliday. We wish the Festival every success for the future and hope we will be invited back to enjoy another evening of wonderful and uplifting choral music.

Inaugural concert of the Chiltern Arts Festival in Marlow

We hopped on a plane for a happy return trip to Switzerland for 3 concerts and the chance to take part in two very atmospheric services in the glorious Cathedral of Berne. Special thanks to Jürg Fankhausen who helped organise the Berne leg of our journey. Singing in Berne is always an emotional experience for the older members of Tenebrae who remember our late co-founder Barbara Pollock. Barbara was Jürg’s sister in law and so it felt very much like going back to our roots and a chance to enjoy fond memories of working with Barbara. On our way home we gave a performance in an absolutely stunning church in Fischingen. Not only is the church stunningly beautiful but it also has one of the finest acoustics of any venue we’ve ever sung in. This is somewhere I really I hope we can revisit and, who knows, perhaps even stay for a few days to make a recording there.

Various stunning venues in Switzerland

I had a terrific day up in Durham working with the University Chamber Choir on Path of Miracles. This was a nice chance to say hello again to Hannah Cox who did a little work experience with Tenebrae last year when we were tearing up and down the length of the UK giving performances of the same piece. I was seriously impressed with the quality of voices and musicianship in the choir – equal to any University students anywhere I’ve heard to date – and delighted that their new director Josh Ridely opted for the challenge of taking on this amazing piece of choral music. I’m eagerly awaiting news of how their performance went but have no doubt it will have been a huge success.

With Durham University Chamber Choir

Now looking forward to our trip to the US, for which we all had to go to the new very swish and wonderfully efficient USA Embassy in Battersea. Visas all in the bag, now we just need to get packing. Very much looking forward to our first performance for the ACDA in Pittsburgh, revisiting the incredible Basilica in St Louis, Highland Park Church in Dallas, Ann Arbor and of course the home of our dear friend Gabriel Crouch Princeton University. It’s going to be lovely to see our US rep Christie Starrett and have Gabs singing with us for the whole tour. Can’t wait.

Finally on the list of things to look forward to is the second year of our Holy Week Festival at St John’s Smith Square. We’ve got a stellar line up of choirs and vocal small ensembles for people to come and hear and I hope we have at least as many people as last year attend the late night liturgical events. These had a very special atmosphere and probably got closer in terms of emotional intensity to how I’d envisaged this Festival than any of the concert performances. The best things in life are free….! We are extremely grateful to the Adam Mickiewicz and Polish Cultural Institutes for their support for the Liturgical events as this has made it possible for Tenebrae to sing music by the Polish composer Paweł Łukaszewski. It’s wonderfully atmospheric, beguiling, beautiful and dramatic  to say the least! Hope to see you there and perhaps in the Footstool restaurant downstairs for a little light liquid refreshment afterwards.

BBCSOChiltern Arts FestivalDurhamFebruaryHoly Week FestivalHWF 2018LukaszwskiNigel ShortSwitzerlandUSA Tour 2018