Sunday, 24 October 2010

2011 season is announced

The 2011 season for RSCM Scottish Voices has now been finalised, and it's going to be a cracking year!

We kick off on Saturday January 22nd with a visit to the historic Dunfermline Abbey.  The photo below is by Paul McIlroy

Dunfermline Abbey

On Saturday 5th March we pay a welcome return visit to Dunblane Cathedral.  The photo of Dunblane Cathedral is by Kevin Rae.

Dunblane Cathedral

After our last visit in January 2009 which was slightly marred by appalling blizzard conditions causing numerous choristers not to make it, on Saturday 21st May we return to St Mary's Parish Church in Haddington where although we hope to get better weather we couldn't hope for a better welcome than we received last time.  The photo of St Mary's Church is by kind permission of RSCM Scottish Voices choir member gordonrasmith.

St Mary's Haddington

Coinciding with a planned weekend of events in the city held by RSCM Scotland, on Saturday 18th June the choir will be visiting Aberdeen for the first time, singing Choral Evensong in St Andrew's Episcopal Cathedral at 4pm.   The image below is from their own Website.

St Andrews Cathedral, Aberdeen

From Friday 5th to Sunday 7th August our 2011 residential rehearsal weekend will again be in the delightful surroundings of Strathallan School, Forgandenny, Perthshire.

Strathallan School
On Saturday 17th September St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral in Glasgow will be where we sing Choral Evensong at 4pm.  The photo of St Mary's Cathedral is by Finlay McWalter.

St Mary's Cathedral, Glasgow

To round off the year, on Saturday 5th November the choir will be back in Glasgow, this time in the glorious St Aloysius Roman Catholic Church in Rose St, where we will be singing in their 5.45pm Mass.  This will be the first time RSCM Scottish Voices has taken part in a Roman Catholic service, but it certainly won't be the last.  The photo of St Aloysius, which shows the stunning interior, is by Stephen Lipton, who happens to be a singer who has conducted his own group, Scottish Chorale, in St Aloysius a few years ago.

St Aloysius

Individual posts containing the music list and finalised times and directions will be made here nearer each service, and of course the RSCM Scotland site will also have details.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Review of Forfar Choral Evensong

After our recent Choral Evensong, the following article appeared in the magazine of St John's Episcopal Church, Forfar, and is reproduced here by kind permission:

Music at St. Johns

Royal School of Church Music Scottish Voices - Choral Evensong

We have been extremely privileged this year musically, in that St. Johns has hosted two very special occasions. The first was in April when the Tayside Organists held their President’s evening here, and a magnificent evening that was.  Readers may remember that it was described in professional detail by Robert Lightband, who captured the beauty and skill of the performances wonderfully.  The second was on September 11th, the Choral Evensong above.  This article will inevitably be much less knowledgeable, more broadbrush than his, but hopefully may convey the impression of three quarters of an hour of pure loveliness, an experience shared by about 40 lucky listeners.

As a member of St. Johns, it is a great pleasure to see the chancel packed with singers, all very colourful in their different choir robes, and to hear the very good acoustics of the church used to maximum effect.  There was a wonderful purity to the sound, which at times seemed to soar right into the roof space, but was never overpowering. We know we have a very special organ, and it was played beautifully by Rupert Jeffcoat.  As a member of St. Johns, also, I felt very proud to welcome the singers here, as the church was looking so good.  We know too that we have a lovely building, but when our eyes our being drawn all the time to the chancel, the brilliance of the brass on the cross was breath-taking.

The music was mainly modern, though the versicles and responses were by William Byrd, sixteenth century, and the final voluntary a Prelude and Fugue by Bach, neither of whom could hardly be described as modern!  But there was a timelessness about the whole service, an evensong one could simply lose oneself in.  The introit was an apparently very simple piece by John Bell, with very direct words; the psalm, a beautiful, slightly haunting chant, so clearly sung, then the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis, an adaptation fauxbourdon by John Bertalot, written post Second World War – it had a lovely Gregorian chant effect; and the anthem, the biggest, most complex piece was by John Ireland. They were, of course, all different, but the effect was of seamlessness – the service a complete whole.

Evensong, by its nature, talks of peace and quietness.  The day was specially poignant in this respect - September 11th - mentioned in the intercessions by Richard Finch, standing in for Andy.  Most pertinent of all, perhaps, was the final Vesper – a truly lovely setting of The Prayer of St. Francis, by Frikki Walker, the musical director.  The following day a member of the congregation described the service as ‘though the angels of heaven had come and filled the church with music’.  This may be a slightly flowery way of putting of it, but I suspect all of us there were thinking very much the same thing.  She just put it into words.  Please come again, Scottish Voices, and we’ll try to make sure that next time many more people will come to share this very special experience.