Summer Tour 2017 in Review

As autumn gathers around us we thought it would be a good time to think back to the summer and share some thoughts and thank-yous from our third Summer Tour.

We kicked off with a live appearance on BBC Radio 3’s In Tune. Our third visit to W1A got off to a glittering start when we realised they were filming for Strictly Come Dancing right in front of the famous façade! With Josh still air-bourne on the way back from Australia it was a real pleasure to welcome Gopal Kambo for his first performance with the group. Gopal is a choral scholar at St John’s College in Cambridge and so is very used to singing with Joseph and although we threw him in at the deep end by performing some difficult repertoire live on Radio 3, he did a fantastic job.

With Josh restored to England, the next day we travelled to Cambridge, with Owain picking up the now familiar 7-seater rented car on the way. It’s always special for the group to return to our spiritual home in Trinity College Chapel. We last performed in the chapel in May 2015 and it was wonderful to be able to perform in the space again, and see some familiar faces in the audience. We hosted a small gathering in The Mitre, one of the local pubs afterwards to catch up with some of the audience, many of whom have been following the group since its inception. The next morning, a mercifully relaxed start allowed us to enjoy a long brunch in team-favourite Hot Numbers Cafe.

Soon after, we arrived North Luffenham in Rutland for the second concert of the tour. The town is home to the beautiful St John the Baptist church. It was a happy return to the church for Owain, who had performed there earlier this year with the Cambridge Fundraising Choir. An immensely successful dinner with our home-stays in the local Fox Inn followed our concert, and again allowed us to thank in-person some of the local musicians and friends whose hard work helped us put on the concert.

Mike and Guy’s host emerged to be a great cricket fan, and head groundsman for the adjacent cricket pitch so a plan was quickly hatched play the next morning in bright sunlight. Alex Chance’s huge six into a neighbouring garden from one of Guy’s less-pitched deliveries would make the highlights, as would his catch to dismiss Owain from one of Guy’s better balls to leave the 1st’s three runs adrift of the 2nd’s total.

With the roof-rack packed and various baggage and headphones retrieved from the pub, we were ready to press on to Northampton for our third concert in All Saints’ Church. We were warmly received by the local vicar and Jem Lowther, in whose beautiful country house we were fortunate to stay following the concert. All Saints’ was a lovely setting for Owain’s ‘A Sequence in Parenthesis’, which sets a medley of tunes from a memoire about the great war and features Sam in the unusual role of narrator. Always a very emotional piece to be involved with, it struck a particular chord with the audience in Northampton.

The fourth day of our summer tour started with a quick tour around the grounds of Jem’s family home in more lovely sunlight. Guy was particularly excited to learn that scenes from the somewhat infamous ‘Biggles’ movie were shot in the mews in the 80s. With a long journey ahead we set off to Hampshire and another church for All Saints in Odiham. The local parish obviously value music highly and have gone to great lengths to make the church an effective concert hall. We were pleased to be able to explore using various different acoustics during our concert and in celebration, Joseph was let loose on the new organ in the church as an impromptu encore for those who had stayed behind to lend a hand with staging.

The penultimate concert in our 2017 Summer Tour was in Bristol, at the huge and resonant church of St. Mary, Redcliffe, where Owain spent his formative years as a chorister. None of us shall soon forget starting the concert from the back of the church with Ego Flos Campi by Clemens non Papa, and then processing to the front of the church through the plainchant of Tallis’s Loquebantur. Renaissance polyphony is one of our favourite genres of music to sing, either in concert, in services or simply in rehearsals, and Lobo’s sublime Versa Est in Luctum made a perfect triptych for us to remember lush acoustics for the concert in Bristol. This was also Joseph’s last concert of the tour with us as he had to start his duties at Truro Cathedral the next day.

Rejoined by the unflappable Gopal the next day and refreshed by some more yard-cricket near Owain’s house, we set off to complete our little pilgrimage to St. James in Dursley, where Guy was a chorister. Delicious stew (well remembered by Michael Craddock from our tour in 2015!) met us in the Cotswold market town, at Guy’s family house and he was especially pleased to see a packed church of musicians and supporters enjoying the last concert of our 2017 Summer Tour. Complimentary pilgrimages to the local Old Spot pub and Dil Raj restaurant complete, the familiar 7-seater could be seen whizzing seven very tired but elated young men back to London through the September rain.

We’d like to once again thank enormously everyone who worked so hard to help us make our third Summer Tour such a success. It’s hard to think back to how far the group has come since our first tour in 2015 and it’s been very much aided by the dedication of our supporters and the enthusiasm for music wherever we go. Here’s to the next one!

VIDEO: Allegri’s Miserere with Blackburn Choristers

As part of our Spring Tour in March of this year we were lucky enough to work with the choristers of Blackburn cathedral as part of our concert there. We’re now extremely proud to be able to bring you a recording of that delightful collaboration, in which we perform Allegri’s famous Miserere as the lower parts of the main SSATB choir with the distant SSAT quartet being performed by older choristers of the choir. It was such a pleasure to meet these young singers and especially to have the rare opportunity to perform one of our favourite works, with much larger forces than we are normally able to sing with!

Live in Regensburg on BBC Radio 3

We were very excited to hear that the concert we gave in Regensburg this June as part of the Tage Alter Musik Festival, which was recorded live for German Radio was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on Early Music Lates with Simon Heighes. We’re really pleased that we can now share this wonderful programme with our followers in the British Isles. The programme features a journey through the Masters of English Renaissance Polyphony from Dunstable and Cornysh to Tallis and Tomkins, which was the central focus of of our recording sessions this summer, so it offers a sneak peak into our upcoming CD release. It’s available to listen again for the next month by following this link:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b093nqdn

BBC Radio 3 In Tune – August 2017

We had an awful lot of fun yesterday performing three pieces live on BBC Radio 3’s wonderful In Tune and speaking with Sean Rafferty about this year’s Summer Tour. We performed music from the whole range of our repertoire, including Thomas Tallis’ Loquebantur Variis Linguis, which will be appearing on our first disc sometime in the coming months. We also performed Ligeti’s wonderful Lobster Quadrille from his 6 Nonsense Madrigals and an arrangement of the Irish Folk-tune ‘Molly Malone’ by our very own Owain Park. You can listen again to our appearance for the next month on the BBC Radio iPlayer by clicking here.

Our tour kicks off today, Tuesday 29th August in Cambridge in the Chapel of Trinity College, Cambridge at 7:30pm.

Arvo Pärt’s ‘Passio’ in SJSS

We are really looking forward to presenting Arvo Pärt’s stunning Passio in St John’s Smith Square with Stephen Layton and the Holst Singers on 25 June. This concert will launch the London International A Cappella Choir Competition 2017, which celebrates Arvo Pärt as its featured composer.

G6 in SJSS - LIACC 2015

Completed in 1982, Passio is one of Pärt’s most popular works and employs his truly original tintinnabuli style.

Tickets can be booked here: https://www.sjss.org.uk/book?873571079.

Full competition details can be found at: liaccc.org.uk

G6 in SJSS April 2016

#LiveHolyWeek – Videos from Ely Lady Chapel

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.

We recorded pieces by Lassus, Tomkins, Byrd, Gesualdo and Łukaszewski, and they can all now be found on our new videos page.

Here is one of those videos. #LiveHolyWeek gave us the perfect opportunity to record for the first time all seven members of the group singing together, performing Vide, Homo by Lassus.

CD Crowdfunder 2017

In 2017 we raised the funds to make a recording of some of our favourite music from the English Renaissance, including works by Tallis, Sheppard and Byrd. Our crowdfunding campaign was a huge success and we’d like to thank our supporters for their generosity and for helping us reach our stretch targets for the project. If you would like to support our work or hear more about the project please don’t hesitate to get in touch through our contact form here.

Visit our now-completed Crowdfunding page with all the details about the project. 

Recording in Process!

Our recording team: Hinitt and Peacock

Spring is here!

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!

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Our first venue, the beautiful Priory Church in Monmouth.

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Trinity chapel in the sun.

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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.

Northern Tour 2017

St Anne's Manchester.jpgWe are delighted to be performing our first concerts in the North of England, taking place in Blackburn, Bolton and Manchester 31 March – 2 April.

“The coolest vocal group around – revel in the gorgeous sounds, the spellbinding music, the programmes with something for everyone. Don’t miss them, I guarantee you’ll have the best evening ever.” – John Rutter

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DATES

–  Friday 31 March at 6.30pm in Blackburn Cathedral. Featuring the Cathedral Choristers in a joint performance of Allegri’s stunning Miserere mei, Deus | Tickets (£8/Free under-18s)

–  Saturday 1 April at 5pm in Victoria Hall, Bolton. Concert and workshop for Bolton Choirs Festival | Tickets (£6/Free under-18s)

–  Sunday 2 April at 7pm in St Ann’s Church, Manchester. Featuring a work by local composer Douglas Mason as well as folksong and light music arrangements  | Tickets (£8/Free under-18s)

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ABOUT THE GROUP

The Gesualdo Six are a vocal consort directed by Owain Park. Formed in March 2014, the ensemble has since gone on to perform numerous concerts around the UK, including two summer tours.

Whilst focusing on early music, the group often programmes modern works, including pieces by Joanna Marsh, Sarah Rimkus and Paweł Łukaszewski in their recent concerts.

The group were St John’s Smith Square Young Artists 2015-2016, following a highly competitive audition process. The scheme invests in promising artists who show “enormous talent and energy”, endeavouring to help shape their futures.

The group’s first recording will be an album of English renaissance polyphony, due for release in late 2017.

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We are looking for some sponsorship with this venture. Read more in a blog post from Owain here: http://thinknowltd.com/guest-blog-owain-park-director-of-the-gesualdo-six/

Christmas Tour 2016 Review

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!

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