We teamed up with Ely Cathedral to release five videos for Holy Week as part of their #LiveHolyWeek initiative. We really enjoyed getting to sing in the incredible acoustic of the Ely Lady Chapel, and we’re very pleased to be able to share the results with you.
An early start heralded the beginning of our Spring projects, with me meeting Owain, Joseph, and the familiar rented 7-seater just outside Cambridge on Sunday morning. Engineering works, a hasty U-turn and three hours of driving later saw more of us than we were expecting arriving in the car in Monmouth for our first concert of 2017 on home soil, in Wye Valley Music’s 2016/17 season, with a lovely programme covering the whole range of our repertoire. Featuring several pieces that help us with preparations for recording this week! The church and Monmouthshire were stunning and we really enjoyed performing there and seeing some familiar faces, many of whom had travelled down from Herefordshire. Being one of the members of the group who suffers from standing at a normal height, I found myself in the familiar position of being pressed up against Josh and our luggage in the back of the car for the drive back to Cambridge, where we are now installed and from where we are very excited to bring you news from our recording in the beautifully sunny Trinity College over the next few days!
Our first venue, the beautiful Priory Church in Monmouth.
Trinity chapel in the sun.
The set up begins in the chapel vestry – miles of cabling and a welcome return to working with group favourite David Hinitt accompanied by our producer Adrian Peacock.
Now we’re safely nestled in the first week of 2017, it feels like a good time to have a little reminisce about our recent Advent exploits. We were very proud to perform abroad for the first time in Monaco and also enjoyed returning to Salisbury and St. John’s Smith Square, a venue that has felt like a second home this last year. We also returned to the nation’s airwaves, and were pleased to be reunited with Sean Rafferty for Radio 3’s ‘In-Tune’. Performing on the radio can be nerve-wracking but we always love the ‘In-Tune experience’ and we will look forward to going back to perform there again, hopefully sometime over the coming year.
Our ‘Veni, Veni Emmanuel’ tour repertoire featured music by many of our favourite composers including J.S. Bach, William Byrd, Thomas Tallis, Herbert Howells, Jonathan Rathbone and John Rutter. We also performed works written for The King’s Singers and Opus Anglicanum, plus John Tavener’s stunning setting of ‘The Lamb’.
We wish all our supporters and followers a happy and prosperous 2017. We can’t wait to share with you all some of the very exciting developments that we’re currently working hard on bringing to you all over the next 12 months!
Mike writes about our concert in SJSS and the last day of The Gesualdo Six’s 2016 season:
Saturday morning brought with it something not yet experienced on this tour: a lie-in, and a much needed one, after a lively wine and perudo evening after our Salisbury concert. The group stumbled blinking from their dens at times between 10 and 11, to enjoy a delicious Wicks family breakfast, before heading off to Salisbury station and back to the big smoke. Three pieces of left luggage and one slightly broken family car later (Sam is stronger than he looks), we were on the train to London.
We got to Smith Square just before 3pm, and rendezvoused with our sleep-addled director, who was already one concert down for the day, having travelled 200 miles to conduct Cambridge Chorale in a Christmas carol concert at 11am that morning (glutton for punishment that he is). With that in mind, we had a leisurely rehearsal getting used to singing in the venue again, which after 5 concerts there this year, feels like home for us. A couple of hours later, we went for the customary pre-concert Pizza Express, and hurried back afterwards to try and dodge the miserable weather.
No such misery in the concert, which was a tremendously enjoyable experience. The SJSS audience, bolstered by friends and relations, was wonderfully appreciative, and it felt quite sad to bid farewell to a programme which we are all hugely fond of. I’m sure some of these pieces will be getting many repeat G6 airings! Post Jingle Bells (which included some classy Santa hats from our tenor section), we retired to the crypt to indulge ourselves in a bottle of prosecco or five, before going our separate ways. It has been a most enjoyable first Christmas tour, and as I sit writing this blog on the way to my Sunday singing on a beautiful winter morning, I’m already looking forward to the next one!
A photo from the curtain call of the final concert of our Christmas Tour on the 10th December in St. John’s Smith Square, featuring Joseph’s Santa Hat.
Due to technical difficulties with our website, (which we hope are now fixed once and for all!) we weren’t able to publish our last two tour blogs when they were ready. Presented here in all it’s slightly-delayed glory we have Day 5 (Salisbury), written by local boy Joseph:
Friday began with an early start (which for me always requires the use of several alarm clocks). However, on this occasion I was raring to go!
Having been a chorister at Salisbury Cathedral, it was to be a very special morning for me as we prepared to sing for the pupils, staff and parents of the Cathedral School during their Friday morning assembly, which takes place in the cathedral itself. We arrived and sang through our two pieces, and immediately began to enjoy singing that bit louder to project the length of the quire. The children were such attentive listeners, and it proved to be a very successful performance, which was greatly appreciated by the school. Huge thanks to my parents (who teach at the school), the Chaplain and to the Headmaster for making us feel so welcome, and for making it happen at all!
Then proceeded a rather extended, excellent brunch at Boston Tea Party and some well earned free time before we welcomed back Owain from Cambridge and Josh from London (apparently he sings in some other groups).
We then returned to St Martin’s Church, 15 months after our first concert there, and proceeded to wallow in the near-perfect acoustic. We enjoyed using the entire building during our evening concert, moving to the very front and very back of the church, as well as singing Brian Kay’s catchy arrangement of Gaudete in procession down the side aisles (successfully remaining in time!). We were fortunate to welcome a lovely audience of some of our old friends, some people who had not heard us before, as well as family and friends who live in Salisbury, including several of my former teachers from the cathedral school.
I would like to thank my parents, on behalf of the group, for hosting all of us so well as always including chauffeuring, feeding, hosting a small party after the concert, and for promoting the concert locally for us. We can’t wait to return!
A photo taken during the concert in St. Martin’s Church in Salisbury on the 9th December 2016.
On Monday 24th October we will convene in St John’s Smith Square with some of the young composers who entered our 2016 Composition Competition.
We were delighted with the positive response we received for the competition and we are very excited to be able to workshop with some of the talented individuals who wrote for us. We are running two workshop sessions either side of a discussion with Joanna Ward, our 18-and-under category winner, and leading choral composer David Bednall. At the end of the day there will be a public recital of some of the pieces given by the group.
One of our favourite parts of our summer tour programme was exploring some lighter compositions and arrangements. Of these, my personal favourite was a fabulous arrangement combining ‘Sometimes I Feel like a Motherless Child’ and ‘Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen’ by the talented Dale Adelmann and it’s our second release as part of our Live in Concert series. We performed the piece many time on tour this summer and this video shows you a selection of the wonderful venues we were lucky enough to perform in!
Despite not having any scheduled concerts in March, the team have been hard at work rehearsing and planning over the last few weeks for some exciting developments this summer. We can’t say too much yet, but we’re very excited about the prospect of releasing our first disc and performing abroad for the first time!
Meanwhile, entries for our Composition Competition 2016 continue to arrive from all over the globe! We’re very proud to be curating what is now a truly international competition, and we can’t wait to get together to sing through some of the entries. Do please help us by spreading the word about the competition – it’s free to enter, there’s a 18-and-under age category and also a veritable smörgåsbord of wonderful prizes. The deadline for entries is the 15th April so there’s still well over a month left to get writing and send in your scores!
There’s so many exciting projects with The Gesualdo Six to look forward to this year, but right now we’re very pleased to be able to share our new video with you! Kindly produced by our friends at St. John’s Smith Square, it highlights some music from our Young Artist’s Series. Do come along on Tuesday April 12th for our next concert in this glorious Westminster venue where we will be presenting a secular ‘Old and New’ programme, with madrigals by Schütz, Monteverdi and Gesualdo alongside Ligeti’s amazing Nonsense Madrigals. We’ll also be performing some lovely arrangements of British Folksongs, including Oh my love is like a red, red rose, a snippet of which can be heard here as the last excerpt, in an arrangement by Simon Carrington, with a solo by Mike Craddock: both our resident baritone and our resident romantic.
The Gesualdo Six are very pleased to announce the launch of our first Composition Competition! There are some fabulous prizes available, with £1000 up for grabs across the two age categories, a world premiere at a fabulous London venue – St. John’s Smith Square in Westminster and the potential for the score to be considered for publication by Novello, part of the Music Sales Group. Full details about the competition can be found here: https://www.thegesualdosix.co.uk/composition-competition-2016/
We can’t wait to see all the entries, and to rehearse and perform the winning compositions. Best of luck to everyone!
The vernal season is upon us! Spring brings new life and this year has brought The Gesualdo Six a new bass: Sam Mitchell, who we are very pleased to welcome to the team. We’re all looking forward immensely to working and performing with Sam, who’s first appearance will be (very appropriately!) Carlo Gesualdo’s exquisite Tenebrae Responsories for Maundy Thursday. The programme of The Gesualdo Six’s first concert just under two years ago in Trinity College, Cambridge, this work is still very much at the heart of our repertoire. It is always wonderful to be reacquainted with Gesualdo’s extraordinary setting of the events of Maundy Thursday, which we have happy memories of performing most recently in the world-famous Chapel of King’s College back in March.
‘..what Owain Park and the singers have managed to achieve is an ensemble with extraordinary potential … who surely have a promising future ahead.’
– Varsity, March 2015
In Gesualdo’s 450th anniversary year we are very proud to present the Tenebrae Responsories in the glorious setting of St. John’s Smith Square on the 4th of February at 1:05pm. This lunchtime recital is the opening concert of St. John’s Smith Square’s Young Artist Programme Concert Series for 2016, and the first of three such concerts given by The Gesualdo Six. Further information about this concert can be found by clicking here, while for box office and more information about the Young Artist Programme can be found on the St. John’s Smith Square website, here.
Themes of betrayal, sacrifice, despair and discipleship are woven throughout the Responsories, providing a reflective text as we near Lent, however despite these grave themes, Gesualdo’s writing is full of passion and colour. Presented with plainsong propers, the Tenebrae Responsories are also the major work on our debut record which we are currently in the midst of preparing! We look forward immensely to sharing this (and much, much more!) with you all over the course of the coming year.