Christmas Tour Blog – Day 3

Day the third comes from Alex Chance, who’s always trying his luck.
 
Day 3 was moving day for us: one which began bright and early in the balmy climes of the Cote D’Azur and ended in wintry Hampshire frost. We all came down for breakfast in our Monaco hotel remarkably punctually given Owain’s and Josh’s heroic exploits on the felt of Monte Carlo’s casinos in the early hours of the morning: that they had emerged with all their clothing was commendable enough; but to return with their wallets bulging was positively impressive. The views along the coast from the rickety train to Nice airport gave us one final glimpse of the Mediterranean luxury to which we had managed to grow accustomed in the space of 36 hours.
 
Back to reality in England, we set off on our journey down to Hampshire via an assortment of the best that British public transport has to offer – a Rail Bus service to Woking and a South West train down to Farnham. They ran impossibly smoothly – proving that the infection from Southern Rail has not yet spread westwards – and Owain’s best-laid travel plans and timings were left untouched.
 
We were picked up from Farnham station by Sarah Hard, a devoted supporter of ours who had kindly agreed to host an intimate concert in the ballroom of her stunning Hampshire house, Willey Place. After a lavish champagne reception (the beef-and-stilton sausage canapés were feasted upon with relish), we sang a wide-ranging programme featuring some christmas music alongside others from our core repertoire, as well as a couple of Purcell solo numbers with the in-house harpsichord.
 
The evening was a big success and we’re enormously grateful to Sarah and her daughter Clarissa for organising everything and hosting us so generously.

Young Composers’ Workshop – Monday 24th October

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.

The entire day is free to observers and members of the public and should be of particular interest to young musicians and composers who are interested in writing for vocal ensembles.
For more information about this event please visit the St. John’s Smith Square event page by clicking here.

Keep up to date with information about this event by attending our Facebook event which can be found by clicking here!

 

11.00am – Workshop 1

1.45pm – Discussion with Joanna Ward and David Bednall

2.15pm – Workshop 2

4.30pm – Recital

 

 

 

Two Spirituals – Live in Concert Series

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!

Meet our new countertenor: Alex Chance

We are thrilled to announce that we have appointed Alex Chance as our new Countertenor II. Alex recently graduated from New College, Oxford, where he read Classics and was a choral scholar under the direction of Edward Higginbottom and Robert Quinney. Born in London, Alex took up the recorder at the age of 7, and sang as a treble in the Eton Chapel Choir under Ralph Allwood before moving to countertenor for his last three years. Recent appearances have included a joint recital with his father, Michael Chance, in the 2015 Stour Festival, solo appearances under Richard Cooke and Mark Deller in Kent, as well as choral projects with Tenebrae, the Tallis Scholars and Vox Luminis. He is also a keen sportsman, and represented New College in both football and cricket, despite, in the case of the latter, often having to leave after the first innings to go and sing.

Alex will perform with us for the first time in St John’s Smith Square on 19 June, a performance that includes the winning entries of our composition competition. Here are a few words from him:

“The Gesualdo Six sing with such style and musicianship, and I’m delighted to be joining them as they continue to build their already impressive reputation. I was entranced by their recent recording of Rheinberger’s ‘Abendlied’, and I’m really excited to be able to be part of all their exciting projects, especially with a group of such lovely guys.”

Alex Chance - The Gesualdo Six

Meet our new tenor: Josh Cooter

We are delighted to have appointed Josh Cooter as our new Tenor II. Josh began his musical studies as a chorister at Chichester Cathedral before accepting a music scholarship to Eton College. Having finished his degree at King’s College London, where he sang in the chapel choir under the late David Trendell, he began work as a freelance singer and now pursues a busy ensemble career, enjoying singing for some of the UK’s most prestigious consorts such as The Sixteen, Tenebrae and Britten Sinfonia Voices. Recent soloist highlights include singing the role of Evangelist in Bach’s ‘St. John Passion’, Jupiter in Handel’s ‘Semele’ and solos in Schutz’s ‘Christmas Story’ and Handel’s ‘Israel in Egypt’. Not just content with singing, Josh also teaches the trombone and aims to teach himself the harmonica in order to ultimately become the one man band he’s always dreamed of…

Josh will begin working with us next month, before taking the reins from August. Josh gave an outstanding audition in a field of very strong candidates, and we offer him our warmest congratulations. Here are a few words from him:

“I have been interested in joining the group ever since hearing their electrifying recording of Byrd’s ‘Vigilate’, so when the tenor vacancy came up I leapt at the opportunity! I’m delighted to be joining at what is an exciting time for the group as it rapidly progresses.”

Josh Cooter - The Gesualdo Six

Hiroshi is moving on

It is with sadness that we announce that Hiroshi will perform his last concert with us in June. Hiroshi joined the group in September 2014 and has since performed with us all over the UK, delighting audiences with his charming renditions of Poulenc’s Les Petites Voix and characterful interpretations of Ligeti’s Nonsense Madrigals. There are still several opportunities to see Hiroshi perform with us before his last concert on 19 June in St John’s Smith Square. Whilst being an outstanding musician, he is also a great friend to us all. We wish him all the very best in his future endeavours.

HA

Video Release & March Update

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.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Composition Competition 2016 Launch!

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: http://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!

Review: Tenebrae Responsories in SJSS

“The Gesualdo Six have everything going for them – talent, youth, stamina, confidence and years of experience of singing the most difficult vocal polyphony in the repertoire.

“they sang with utter conviction, perfect intonation, impeccable blend, just balance and even a little humour.

“they created the stillness and peace of night in the hushed awe that greeted each Responsory. They sang the Latin as if it were a second language.

“Each Responsory contains a fast section, usually of short frantic phrases across the parts, which are the most difficult to integrate, but the sextet knew exactly where their harmonies were heading, often illustrating the text with impromptu looks and body gestures, the tenor’s little wake-up kick at vigilate (“be watchful”), the shiver that ran through the voices at fugam (“flee”). They were completely involved with text and score, singing their own part while meshing with the others so that Gesualdo’s gorgeous Poulenc-esque phrase on ego vadam, justified its several repetitions. The blend is superb; but the line-up consists of soloists who will surely also appear as Evangelists, lieder singers or lute-song recitalists in time.

“Owain Park moulded the beat with fluency and a sense of momentum.”

Published in The Tablet on 11/02/16: http://www.thetablet.co.uk/arts/11/7960/lenten-promise