Colchester Classics – Classical Music Picks for May 2017



Many of the concerts featured here are in and around Colchester, or, involves local musicians performing at events further afield. Hope you find this information useful.

It is not every day that a choral society celebrates an important anniversary with its founder still actively involved in the music-making.  Saturday 6 May the Lexden Choral Society will be doing just that at its 25th Anniversary concert with many much-loved choral works and a few new ones too.

Lexden Choral Society was formed by Sarah Blake in 1992 from a few members of the Lexden Church Choir, augmented by a number of friends. Sarah is still actively involved and tomorrow evening John Chillingworth will conduct the choir accompanied by the Kingfisher Sinfonietta in a programme of music by Verdi, Jenkins, Handel, Tavener, Fauré, Borodin and Rutter.

Tickets: £13 (01206 766906) Saturday May 6, 7.30pm in St Botolph’s Church, Colchester.

At the same venue on Sunday 7 May at 3pm Samantha Christopher (clarinet) will be accompanied by pianist Ian Ray and on Saturday 20 May the Colchester Symphony Orchestra returns with a concert including Finzi’s Clarinet Concerto with soloist Andrew Cory.

Further information next week.

Back to this weekend and this Sunday there is an opportunity to hear Puccini’s one-act comic opera, Gianni Schicchi. As you may know, this opera includes one of Puccini’s best known and most popular aria, O mio Babbino Caro. This beautiful aria is often sung as a stand-alone piece and used commercially, such as in the opening to the film A Room With a View. Sunday’s production, sung in Italian with English surtitles, was first staged at the 2016 Summer Opera Course in Scheggino in Umbria just before the series of earthquakes in the area.

Tickets are £8 in aid of the Italian Red Cross Earthquakes Appeal. Sunday 7 May at 5pm in Chelmsford Cathedral

If you are near Chelmsford Cathedral on 20 May, there is a performance of Handel’s most popular oratorio, Messiah, with James Davy, the Cathedral’s Organist and Master of the Choristers, conducting the Choirs of Chelmsford Cathedral, Canzona and soloists including Colin Baldy.

Tickets from £10 (0333 666 3366)

Based at the Colchester-based University of Essex, its choir continues its 40th birthday celebrations with a concert of beautiful British music. Founded in 1977, choristers are drawn from University staff and students and also from the local community. Since 1981 the Music Director has been Richard Cooke and at this concert he will be conducting Vaughan Williams’ haunting first symphony entitled ‘A Sea Symphony’ based on the poetry of American Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. This symphony was one of the first where a choir was used throughout and was an integral part of the musical texture.

Colchester Classics was delighted to offer the choristers a highly regarded CD of ‘A Sea Symphony’ with soloists Susan Gritton, Gerald Finley, the London Symphony Chorus and Orchestra, under the late Richard Hickox. For further details on this CD please telephone 0800 999 6994.

The University choir will be accompanied by the Essex Sinfonia who will also perform Elgar’s internationally-loved Variations, Op.35 popularly known as the Enigma Variations, which had its first performance a decade before the Sea Symphony.

Saturday 6 May at 7pm in Snape Maltings Concert Hall. Tickets from £12 (01728 687110).

Also on Saturday, May 6 but at 7.30pm pianist and composer Matyas Bacso presents ‘Hungarian Rhapsody’ including Gershwin’s popular Rhapsody in Blue plus music by Scott Joplin and Debussy along with some Hungarian Rhapsodies. Matyas was recently heard performing in Tubular Bells Live! at the Mercury Theatre. This concert is the fifth and final evening event for this years’ Lexden Arts Festival in St Leonard’s Church, Lexden Road, Colchester.

Tickets £10 each on the door.

The fourth annual Frinton Festival presents music performed in and around this charming small seaside town. Alongside the five festival concerts (26 – 29 May, 2017) there are special free events such as the string quartet, Gut Reaction playing at The Red Lion Pub in Kirby-le-Soken on Sunday 7 May at 8pm.

Free Festival tickets for those aged 8 – 25 years old are available for some concerts including Friday 26 May at 7.30pm in St Mary’s Parish Church, Frinton when The Barbican Piano Trio, the Festival’s resident artists, is joined by violist Adam Newman to perform Piano Quartets by Dvorak, Mozart and contemporary composers.  Free pre-concert Wine Tasting courtesy of Mr Wheeler for Ticket holders.

The Festival has a Choral Evensong service on Sunday 28 May with an open invitation to singers to perform music by Mozart, Stanford and John Rutter.

To find out more about rehearsals and the service please email Duncan Archard or click links here

If you have a forthcoming concert of classical music, you would like previewed, contact Liz Leatherdale on 0800 999 6994.

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Liz Leatherdale

Liz Leatherdale