Brandenburg Choral Festival Concert – This Friday 30th October!

We’re very excited about returning to London to perform a programme of British music this Friday at 7.30pm. We’ll be performing in the intimate setting of Grange Wellington Chapel in Vincent Square, near Victoria station as part of the Brandenburg Choral Festival of London’s 2015 season.

The first half will feature renaissance masterworks by Cornysh, Taverner, Tallis, Byrd, White and Parsons while the second half will move several centuries forward in time to works by Gabriel Jackson, Joanna Marsh, Jonathan Harvey and Owain Park. We’re also very pleased to be performing some gorgeous folksong arrangements that we really enjoyed exploring on our Summer Tour this August.

Please do come along to support us in you’re free in London this Friday!

Tickets are priced at £18 and are available via this link: http://www.brandenburg.org.uk/gesualdo/fri-30-oct-730pm

Summer Tour 2015

The group before our first concert in Southgate, North London.

The first of many pre-concert selfies taken on tour

In August 2015, we embarked upon our first tour. Many months of planning went in to organising ten concerts over nine days across the South and West of England, starting with a concert in Southgate in North London on the 20th of August (only one day after finishing our recording!). We were really excited to start sharing our music with new audiences across England but it was also lovely to see some familiar and friendly faces in Southgate. We performed a wide selection of music for five voices on the tour, including Byrd’s amazing Mass for five voices. Remaining in London overnight, on Friday the 21st we performed in St. Andrew’s Church in Surbiton, South London, close to where baritone Michael Craddock lives. Here we performed a different programme built around Tallis’ wonderful Nine Tunes for Archbishop Parker’s Psalter, the third of which contains the theme that Ralph Vaughan Williams was to use 300 years later for his famous Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis. St. Andrew’s is a lovely church to sing in and we enjoyed performing in different parts of the church.

Preparation underway for our concert on the 21st August 2015 in St. Andrew's Church in Surbiton!

The group find something very thought-provoking in the score during rehearsal for the second of our tour concerts in St. Andrew’s Church, Surbiton

The first two concerts in London under our belt, next morning we headed west to Bristol, hometown of our director Owain, for a Saturday double-bill starting with a lunchtime concert in Christ Church, City Centre. Here we performed a selection from Flemish mass settings by composers including Ockeghem and Josquin des Prez. After an afternoon with Owain’s family in Bristol we performed a concert that Saturday evening in Westbury-on-Trym Parish Church, including two sets of fantastic works by Poulenc, including the five fun songs of Les Petites Voix, originally set for three-part children’s chorus, performed by Hiroshi, Mike and Owain.

With Sunday intended as a rest-day we headed in the morning to Dursley, 20 miles north of Bristol, and the hometown of our countertenor Guy James. It was a lovely opportunity to perform a shortened programme in St. James’ Parish Church to our largest audience to date. Afterwards there was a delicious tea in the church and the group enjoyed the opportunity to explore the area’s beautiful walks and local establishments.

The view from Stinchcombe golf course, Dursley on the 23rd August 2015.

The view south from Stinchcombe Hill in Dursley the day of our concert in St. James Parish Church, on the 23rd August

We were now halfway through our journey and it was time to head into the wilds of Herefordshire! Monday evening saw us performing in the beautiful and ancient St. Clydawg church in Clodock and it was a testament to how friendly and enthusiastic our reception was that we saw so many of the Monday night’s audience at our concert the next day in the stunning setting of Dore Abbey. There were many personal highlights for us all over the course of the tour, and the enduring silence after the end of Gesualdo’s madrigal Sparge la Morte is one that will stay with us all for a very long time. It was great to perform an extended programme in Dore Abbey and this set us up well for the remaining concerts.  Following the Dore Abbey concert we continued what had become a habit of eating late by driving what felt like rather fast down tiny country lanes in the pitch black to a very welcoming restaurant where we were able to share a much-required bottle of wine. The scenery in and around Clodock where we were staying was absolutely breathtaking and we were glad to be able to explore a little during the day.

Jonny with Offa's famous dyke.

Jonny with Offa’s famous dyke in the background, very near where we were staying in Herefordshire

Wednesday morning saw the group decamping to Cheltenham for a concert in Cheltenham College Chapel. We really enjoyed performing in the chapel, which is one of the largest school chapels in the country. The afternoon saw most of the group on the college lawn practising our cricketing skills! The pitch is home to a cricket festival in the summer and is also used by Gloucestershire Cricket Club to train and relaxing on the grass with the chapel and picturesque college dining hall in the background was a real treat. That evening saw a post-concert reception in the Beehive local pub and after a night staying in Dursley we set off to Salisbury for a concert in the St. Martin’s Church there. The acoustics of the church were absolutely enchanting, making Tallis’ Lamentations of Jeremiah particularly special to perform. Tenor Joseph Wicks is a resident of Salisbury and his family were very kind to set up a BBQ and accommodate us all. A few rounds of the addictive dice game Perudo and a delicious late dinner followed our concert and the following morning the Six were travelling again, heading to Boxgrove Priory for our final tour concert. On the journey the group stopped by the beautiful Cathedral in Chichester for some afternoon tea under clear blue skies. Somehow we had survived 12 days of continuous recording and performing. As Owain put it at our concert in Southgate, “Some people would describe it as ambitious. We think it’s insane.”

Cricket on Cheltenham Lawn

Sometimes the best concert preparations happen outside

We were very lucky to sing in some incredible churches over the tour, and Boxgrove priory certainly didn’t disappoint for our final venue: Situated in a beautiful part of the world, the priory really is a hidden gem, providing the perfect setting for an emotional end to the tour. After the last set of folksongs from all around the British Isles, we invited our tour manager Hannah King to the front in order to recognise and thank her for her continued work and support for the group. Hannah’s level-headedness and willingness to put up posters, go in search of lights, water and/or power sockets, often in the rain or at the end of a long day was a constant inspiration and we are all very grateful to her and indeed to all those who came and supported us to whatever extent over the tour. The Gesualdo Six would also like to specifically thank all those who welcomed the members of the group into their homes during the tour. A lovely variety of family and friends, old and new! We are very much looking forward to exploring more of the country in the future. Watch this space!

The tour team after our final concert in Boxgrove Priory - feeling a strange mixture of exhileration, sadness and relief!

The tour team in Boxgrove Priory after our last concert, feeling a strange mixture of exhilaration, sadness and relief

Broadcast and Recording!

Wow! What a summer it has been for The Gesualdo Six! The group have been by far the busiest we have ever been. Starting on August the 13th we had a fantastic time performing some of our favourite pieces live BBC Radio 3’s In Tune and meeting Sean Rafferty and the team at the BBC. A few days later we gathered together where it all started for the group, in the Chapel of  Trinity College Cambridge, to record our first disc. We felt very blessed to be working with the truly extraordinary John Rutter who produced our recording and the inimitable David Hinitt who was engineer for the recording. Keep a look out for our debut CD featuring Gesualdo’s Tenebrae Responsories for Maundy Thursday, which will hopefully be released in spring 2016! The group then immediately headed to London for the first of 10 concerts as part of our Summer Tour, which we all enjoyed immensely and shall report upon presently.

Suffice here to say that we are extremely grateful to everyone who has supported and continues to support us, with special thanks to those who signed up for our new Friends scheme! The group are preparing feverishly for a busy Michaelmas term and we shall be in touch soon with new developments and more exciting news! Do keep up to date with where to hear us in the coming months on our concerts page.

 

Live on BBC In Tune

The Gesualdo Six will be appearing on BBC Radio 3’s In Tune programme on Thursday 13th August at 4.30pm. Tune in to hear three pieces of Renaissance music that will be included in the tour programme across parts of the UK this summer. Visit the In Tune website here.

Joseph Wicks: Bringing The Gesualdo Six to Salisbury

Tenor Joseph Wicks writes about returning to Salisbury with us this summer:

“Ever since the group performed its first concert 18 months ago, I’ve wanted to bring them down from Cambridge to Salisbury, and in particular to the glorious acoustic of St Martin’s. It will suit the size and sound of The Gesualdo Six absolutely perfectly, and this concert will be a good opportunity to say thank you for the help that Salisbury’s musical scene gave me for so many years.” 

Tickets are available from our Box Office, can be reserved in advance or bought on the door. 
Online booking: Salisbury Concert
Email: info@thegesualdosix.co.uk


Joseph Wicks Tenor JW

Joseph Wicks is currently studying for a degree in Music at Cambridge University whilst being Junior Organ Scholar at St John’s College. He spent a gap year as Organ Scholar of Hereford Cathedral, and before this was the Sixth Form Organ Scholar at Lancing College. He began his musical education as a Chorister, later Bishop’s (Head) Chorister of Salisbury Cathedral, singing there for six years where he first enjoyed the daily round of evensong and the rich repertoire of an English Cathedral Choir.

Joseph is an Associate of the Royal College of Organists (ARCO) and twice won the Lancing College music competition on the organ. Recent recital venues include Hereford Cathedral, St John’s College, Cambridge and St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol. Joseph’s ultimate ambition is to be a Cathedral organist and Director of Music.

In addition, Joseph has remained a keen singer, now being taught by David Lowe in Cambridge. He is a graduate of the prestigious Genesis Sixteen, a training scheme for talented young singers run by internationally renowned choir The Sixteen and its director Harry Christophers.

Guy James: Thoughts on returning home

Countertenor Guy James writes about returning to Dursley with The Gesualdo Six this summer:

One of my earliest musical memories is of standing next to my mum, Lynn James, singing with the Parish choir of St. James the Great in the parish centre in Dursley. I was effectively on probation with the choir and despite this I was applying myself with some gusto when a sudden drop in dynamics left me performing my very first (totally unintentional) solo. Thankfully this oversight didn’t prevent me from joining the choir properly when I was 7 and I then enjoyed the best part of 10 years with the choir before a change of schools prevented any more weekly contributions. I continue to be humbled that my 10 years singing at St. James constitute barely a fraction of the service of the more venerable members of the choir. During my time I was extremely lucky to benefit from the enthusiasm and talents of everyone in the choir and especially it’s director and organist Nigel Davies. Not only did I receive much of the most formative years of my musical education for free but also access to innumerable opportunities for performance and the concerts and tours that the choir provides, not to mention a little pocket-money. Undoubtedly however, the most valuable gift I received over my time with the choir is a love for the music and heritage of the English choral tradition.

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SJSS Young Artists 2015/16

We are delighted to announce that we will be St John’s Smith Square Young Artists for the 2015/16 season! Here’s a note from Richard Heason, the director of SJSS:

‘As a concert hall it is crucial that we don’t just give voice to established artists but that we also invest in future talent. Through our Young Artists’ Scheme we are able to select musicians who have shown themselves to have enormous talent and energy and help them as they shape their careers.’

Read more here: http://www.earlymusictoday.com/slider/sjss-2015-16-young-artists-announced/

May 2015 1

 

★★★★★ Five-star review for King’s concert

We’re delighted to end the term with a five-star review for our one-year anniversary concert of Gesualdo’s Tenebrae Responses for Maundy Thursday in King’s Chapel.

“…what Owain Park and the singers have managed to achieve is an ensemble with extraordinary potential, who stand head and shoulders above any other vocal group in Cambridge, and who surely have a promising future ahead.”

Read the full review here: http://www.varsity.co.uk/reviews/8454

The team are looking forward to returning to Cambridge for the summer term and for a concert in Kingston in Cambridgeshire on 1st May. Keep an eye out on our website, facebook and twitter for the latest details. We’re also busy preparing for the summer and beyond!

Update: January 2015

A big “hello” to 2015 from everyone in Team G6! We hope you all had a lovely Christmas and enjoyed wonderful New Year celebrations. We’re here with exciting news about plans for 2015, which include four concerts in the next three months, at home in Cambridge.

First, we travel to Jesus College Chapel on Saturday 17th January, to perform English masterpieces by composers including Byrd, Sheppard (who [probably] celebrates his 500th anniversary this year) and Cornysh, before visiting St John’s College Chapel on 13th February with a juxtaposition of Madrigals by Ligeti and Monteverdi. We then bring music of the Italian masters to Caius College Chapel on 21st February, before finishing in the majestic setting of King’s College Chapel on 11th March to perform Gesualdo’s Tenebrae Responsories for Maundy Thursday. Phew!

We’re really looking forward to welcoming you to one or more of our concerts, and we’ll also be adding clips and tracks to our YouTube and Soundcloud accounts over the coming months. Happy 2015!