Posts by jl

Gloria! Music to celebrate Christmas

Our Christmas concert this year featured music from the Baroque period. The Magnificat by Pergolesi has been wrongly attributed to him for the past century, having in fact been composed by Francesco Durante (1684-1755), an Italian composer of mainly church music who was Pergolesi’s composition teacher. We will also sing a stunningly beautiful chorus from The Christmas Story by Heinrich Schütz. Schütz is considered to be the finest German composer prior to J. S. Bach, and his prolific output had an enormous influence on music in Germany. To finish the programme: Antonio Vivaldi’s Gloria. Along with Bach and Handel, Vivaldi (1678-1741) ranks as one of the greatest baroque composers, with a prolific output of more than 500 concertos, 50 operas and many choral works, of which his Gloria RV 589, is probably the best known and loved. For this performance we were joined by soloists and a chamber ensemble led by Patrycja Radzi-Stewart.

Music by Pergolesi, Schütz and Vivaldi presented with instrumental accompaniment.
Saturday 9 December 2023 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM

All Saints Anglican Church
Cnr Noble and Talbot Streets, Newtown Vic 3220

2023 Gloria A4

 2023-12 Choir

Reviews

Chorale’s Glorious Baroque Concert
Gloria! Music to Celebrate Christmas The Geelong Chorale’s directed by Allister Cox, All Saints Church, Newtown Sunday December 9, 2023.

There’s one important word missing from this concert’s title. Baroque.
For this was Baroque Music to Celebrate Christmas, and as such Geelong’s Chorale was magnificent. Or should that be Magnificat, the classical 18th Century work that opened the event. Magnificat, literally meaning ‘The Song Of The Virgin Mary’, has been played and sung at this time of the year for centuries. There are many versions, instrumental and vocal, by numerous composers over the years and this concert opened with one of the more familiar by Pergolesi. Or was it? The Chorale’s musical director, Allister Cox, in his familiar informative introduction warned us before his choir had sung a note that the version had been wrongly attributed to Pergolesi for more than a century. It was actually composed by Francesco Durante (1684-1755), who was one of Pergolesi’s music teachers and nothing like as famous. But he would probably have been happy that his pupil’s name was bracketed with his work, Allister added, because it meant the piece was played much more often. And then the Chorale delivered an excellent version to illustrate the point. The enhanced 35-member Chorale – with 11 sopranos and an equal number of altos – sang each of the work’s familiar parts with delicacy when needed, precision throughout and celebratory gusto when called for. This Magnificat soared into the venue’s rafters confirming again the excellent acoustics built into Newtown’s All Saints Church.
Another aspect of this concert was that the Chorale had chosen not to invite guest vocalists to sing solo parts but to use Chorale members. Aside of this was the extra element that the works called for un unusual line-up of two soprano soloists, an alto, tenor and bass. So we audience were to hear the subtle differences between Fiona Squires’ clear and sharp soprano and Claire Elder’s warmer, softer delivery. Alex McAuley’s tenor tones blended perfectly with Alex Hunt’s bass, while Kathleen Rawson’s warm, lush alto added lustre throughout.

The Chorale was accompanied by a small orchestra led by Patrycja Radzi-Stewart with Jamie Parker joining her on violin, Edwina Sekine on viola, Ilana Idris on cello, Caroline Brenchley on bass and Kristine Mellens’s keyboard adding organ and harpsichord when needed.

Following that Magnificat opening, the Chorale presented a shorter and sweeter jewel of a piece by German composer Heinrich Schütz, the beautiful Chorus from his Christmas Story. Schütz is considered to be the finest German composer prior to J. S. Bach, and this elegant, joy-filled work showed why. It also allowed our Chorale – and conductor Allister – to display their expertise in delivering musical delicacies with polish and charm.

Following a short break to enlarge the orchestra with Stephen Moschner’s oboe and Britteny Ling’s trumpet, the afternoon’s final piece was the highly suitable Gloria! by Antonio Vivaldi. As Allister explained, Vivaldi, along with Bach and Handel, ranks as one of the greatest Baroque composers, with this piece, Gloria RV 589, probably among his best known and loved works Considering that he wrote more than 500 concertos and 50 operas, that’s high praise. But again, the Geelong Chorale with its soloists and guest musicians brought the work’s 11 passages to glorious life. This was the highly recognisable Vivaldi, with bright, colourful lead-ins to finely detailed passages, then intricately textured moments expanding to glowing crescendos – and all delivered vocally, joyfully and with a deal of Christmas finesse by our region’s premier choir.
At its conclusion, this concert’s neat and simple choice of familiar Baroque seasonal music drew long, warm, appreciative applause for every section and soloist from a highly-satisfied full-house audience.
Gloria! Indeed.

– Colin Mockett
https://entertainmentgeelong.com/reviews-2/

Mozart Requiem

I am delighted that the Geelong Chorale are presenting Mozart’s Requiem for our August concert. An invitation to former choristers to join us has seen the choir swell to about 60 singers. We will also be joined by 4 excellent soloists and an orchestra of 21 instrumentalists to present Mozart’s final masterpiece.  We are grateful for the kind support from The Robert Salzer Foundation.

Allister Cox OAM, conductor

Mozart’s final work, incomplete at his death in 1791, is a choral masterpiece whose genesis is shrouded in mystery, making it a fascinating and emotionally stirring work.

Teresa Ingrilli – Soprano
Syrah Torii – Mezzo soprano
Ben Glover – Tenor
Manfred Polanz – Bass
Allister Cox OAM – Conductor

Sunday 20th August 2023 at 2:30pm
Wesley Uniting Church, 100 Yarra Street, Geelong

Tickets $40/$35

Reviews

Entertainment Geelong: https://entertainmentgeelong.com/reviews-2/

A Cultural High Point from Mozart

CONCERT: W A Mozart’s Requiem in D minor K626 presented by Geelong Chorale with orchestra, conducted by Allister Cox. Wesley Church, Yarra St. August 20 2023.


This weekend will be celebrated for a number of reasons: The world will remember Spain’s women winning a world cup despite loathing their coach. Australia will recall the time our entire nation fell in love with the Matildas despite their losing two games – and Geelong will remember this weekend as the biggest celebration of performing arts in our city’s history.
This was mostly centred on the dazzling opening of our multi-million dollar revamped arts centre that laid on wall-to-wall glamour, glitz and glossy performances all weekend.
Aside from this was the remarkable non-professional Blood Brothers musical in Belmont (see previous review) and then, on the final afternoon, came this once-in-a-generational performance in the city-centre’s Wesley Uniting Church.
Mozart’s Requiem exists as a challenging lyrical enigma that has puzzled musicians for centuries. lt was last performed in Geelong in 1991, in Christ Church, sung by the GAMA Singers conducted by their director Peter Sergeant. That group evolved into today’s Geelong Chorale, and it was their current director, Allister Cox OAM who took up the challenge this time.
Allister pulled together his most experienced and able vocal chorus, some 50 singers were squeezed into the church’s choir stalls; then he brought together an excellent 24-piece orchestra led by the delightful Patrycja Radzi-Stewart. He then engaged four excellent soloists in crystal-voiced soprano Teresa Ingrilli; the beautifully warm alto tones of Syrah Torii; the clear and precise diction of tenor Ben Glover and the full-bodied masculinity of bass Manfred Pohlenz.
Then he coached, rehearsed and persuaded them all into a single unit to create a memorable performance of Mozart’s most enigmatic musical work.
For this Requiem was unfinished when Mozart died in 1791 at the age of 35. It was completed by two others, Joseph Eybler and Franz Xaver Sussmayr at the request of Mozart’s widow Constanze, who needed the money. The finished work was delivered to Count Franz von Walsegg, who had commissioned the piece for a requiem service to commemorate the death of his wife Anna a year earlier. She had died at age 20.
This much we know, but then the story then becomes complicated. Just how much of this Requiem was Mozart’s original and how much was the work of the others? Was Mozart aware that he was dying and really creating a requiem for himself? Was he poisoned so that others, including von Walsegg, could pass it off as their own? Rumours have flown and grown over the centuries and that’s why the Geelong Chorale advertised this concert as ‘a choral masterpiece whose genesis is shrouded in mystery.’

None of the mysteries were solved by this concert; but a packed audience in a Geelong church was treated to a glorious, rare piece of sacred music performed by a highly accomplished group of musicians led by a masterful conductor.
Allister chose to precede the Requiem with two short motets written by Mozart, one of which, Veni Sancte Spiritus having been written when Wolfgang Amadeus was 12. This joyful singing piece involved everyone, Chorale, orchestra and soloists in its complex melodies, while the second piece, Quis Te Comprehendat K.V. anf110 was a simpler choral piece with elegant solo violin work from Patrycja.
Then followed the Requiem in full, without break or interruption – though personally, I did miss Allister’s always interesting introductions.
The Requiem comprised 16 different parts lasting in total for a little under an hour. Sung entirely in Latin, the composition covered the gamut of sacred music, from slow solemn funeral passages to the majesty, triumphs and joyful Alleluias of religious ceremonial works.

All were recognisable Mozart, by their intricate recurring musical patterns, linking soaring high points, textures and musical colours – and all were delivered with care and flair by the assembled Geelong performers.
At the end, the audience applause was warm, loud, long and highly appreciative.

For we audience members might not have fathomed which part was written by whom, and for whatever motivations.

But we were all aware that we had experienced a remarkable piece of music, in a concert that provided a piece of high-end culture to cap off an extraordinary weekend of performance.

– Colin Mockett

Mozart Requiem poster

Mozart Requiem poster

Music for Royal Occasions

Over the centuries, some of the finest choral music has been composed to celebrate coronations, weddings and funerals of members of the British Royal Family. This recital of famous and less well-known items will be a suitable prelude to the Coronation of His Majesty, King Charles III, a few hours later.  Join us for this festive celebration and feel especially patriotic!

Saturday 6th May at 2:30pm
All Saints Church, Cnr Noble and Talbot Sts Newtown

Music for Royal Occasions

 

Reviews

The Choral Grapevine
Music for Royal Occasions
https://thechoralgrapevine.wordpress.com/2023/05/08/music-for-royal-occasions-the-geelong-chorale-saturday-may-6th-2023/

Entertainment Geelong
Music For Royal Occasions sung by The Geelong Chorale
It might have been seen as a bold move byGeelong’s senior choir to schedule this concert on Coronation Day – the biggest Royal occasion.
It could have contributed to a day of regal overload, but in the event our television companies did this by each providing identical coverage – while this Chorale concert allowed us a preview of what was to provide the best part of the coronation ceremony itself – the music.
Not that this church concert was all crowning anthems and fanfares; for in selecting his material, the Chorale’s musical director and conductor, Allister Cox, had widened the choice to include music written for Royal weddings, funerals and other occasions. But it was coronations that provided the majority – and the most stirring – of the afternoon’s songs.
The concert began with Hubert Parry’s I Was Glad, a rousing intro which backed the choir with strident organ chords played by Ken George with all the stops out.
This was followed and contrasted by William Child’s O Lord Grant The King a Long Life, a gentle, pretty tune with Ken joining the Chorale to sing it a capella.
Then followed a different element again, as piano accompanist Kristine Mellens joined for Samual Sebastian Wesley’s Thou Wilt Keep Him In Perfect Peace. As always with Chorale concerts, Allister provided short helpful commentaries to explain the works and illustrate their purposes. Thus we were told of William H Harris’s Holy is the True Light, then the respectful funeral rites of Henry Purcell’s short trio of Funeral Sentences, Man That Is Born Of Woman and Thou Knows, Lord.  Keeping to the theme came Edward Elgar’s They are at Rest, before Johannes Brahms’ lyrical How Lovely is Thy Dwelling. Then the Chorale’s bass singers quietly retreated to the very back of the church to provide a moving deep drone to back John Tavener’s lovely Song For Athene which was followed by a song chosen for the funeral of Elizabeth II James MacMillan’s Who Shall Separate Us? sung in eight-part harmony.
This led to a song for a very different occasion, John Rutter’s This Is The Day was previously sung at the wedding of William, Prince of Wales to Catherine Middleton.
It was followed by another stirring anthem, the Proms favourite Jerusalem, sung with gusto by the whole church audience with Ken George back at the organ before a final Royal flourish, George Frederick Handel’s Zadok, the Priest, accompanied by Patrycja Radzi-Stewart solo violin to appropriately close the concert.
Later this song was delivered by a much larger and more prestigious choir, used as a high point when King Charles III was screened and anointed with oils in Westminster Abbey.
I doubt the sovereign would have known it had been preempted five hours earlier in the city which contributed part of his education – but I’m sure that he and the other Royals would have approved. Because this concert made a fine contribution to a memorable occasion.

– Colin Mockett
https://entertainmentgeelong.com/reviews-2/

Concerts for 2023

The Geelong Chorale are delighted to announce our programme for 2023 and we hope to see you at our concerts.

Music for Royal Occasions – Saturday 6th May, 2:30pm, All Saints Church, Cnr Noble and Talbot Sts Newtown 3220

Mozart Requiem – Sunday 20th August, 2:30pm, Wesley Uniting Church, 100 Yarra St Geelong 3220

Christmas Concert – Saturday 9th December, 5pm, All Saints Church, Cnr Noble and Talbot Sts Newtown 3220

The Very Best Time of Year

This year, our Christmas concert featured the carols of John Rutter. Born in 1945, Rutter is considered to be the most celebrated and popular composer of Christmas music alive today. His music displays influences of the English and French choral traditions of the 20th century as well as light music and American classic songwriting. A review in the London Evening Standard said, “For the infectiousness of his melodic invention and consummate craftsmanship, Rutter has few peers”. The Geelong Chorale performed a selection of his best known original compositions along with some of his masterful arrangements. There were also other popular carols, some with audience participation.

Saturday 10th December 2022 5pm
All Saints’ Church, Cnr Noble and Talbot Sts Newtown

Reviews

Entertainment Geelong
Rutter and Kookaburras – a beaut Chorale Christmas Celebration

The Very Best Time Of The Year presented by The Geelong Chorale conductor Allister Cox, December 10, All Saints’ Church, Newtown.
Each year since the mid 20th Century, the Geelong Chorale has staged a Christmas concert in a suitably elegant and acoustically pleasing local venue. For many years this was the Geelong Gallery but for the past decade or so, the annual event has been held in Newtown’s All Saints Church. Every concert has been different and eclectic but with common themes. You won’t hear songs about Santa, reindeer or jingling bells at a Geelong Chorale Christmas concert. You’re much more likely to be taken back to celebrations from Yule times of yore. You’ll also get a glimpse of how the season is celebrated internationally.
This year, the Chorale’s musical director, Allister Cox, chose to feature the carols of a living composer, John Rutter. An Englishman born in 1945, Rutter is considered to be the most celebrated and popular composer of Christmas music alive today. He’s particularly popular in America. His music carries influences of English and French choral traditions as well as from America’s light music songbooks.
The Chorale dedicated the entire first half of this concert to his works, then, following a short interval, presented a mix of Carols old and new, with an invitation for the audience to join them.
The concert’s overall title The Very Best Time Of The Year was lifted from the first song, a sweet, lyrical opening introduction to Rutter’s composition skills. The 30+ Chorale voices blended lyrically to present it with a high Geelong polish that continued through the entire concert. The second piece, Shepherds’ Pipe Carol, was a jaunty air featuring the Chorale’s tenor voices, while the next, What Sweeter Music, featured the soprano section who were, indeed, sweet. Then followed the first of five songs that Rutter had not written, but arranged for the group that he founded, the world renowned Cambridge Singers.
The French Carol Born To Earth, the Divine Christ Child was followed by a Cornish traditional piece Sans Day Carol – instantly recognisable as the more familiar The Holly And The Ivy.
A Little Child on the Earth Has Been Born was set to a traditional Flemish melody and Quem Pastores Laudavere a 14th Century German carol sung in Latin.
These were themselves arranged around John Rutter’s own Nativity Carol and neatly topped off with his bright and cheerful Star Carol.
The concert’s second half Carols Old And New alternated well-known Christmas songs – where the audience was invited to sing along – with some well-chosen new works.
It began with the standard O Come All Ye Faithful, nicely delivered by the Chorale, though we audience were a little bashful. The new work that followed, O Magnum mysterium was a solemn 1994 piece written in Latin by Morten Lauridsen. It was followed by the traditional The First Nowell, again neatly delivered by the Chorale, with tentative audience participation. The Angels and the Shepherds was next, a traditional Bohemian favourite that was much loved by Chorale tenor Milena Idris when she was a child, according to conductor Allister Cox’s introduction. Then, before the next traditional piece, Good King Wenceslas, he told of the song’s controversial beginnings, of how it began as a traditional European Spring celebration song that was appropriated and reworked to become a Christmas staple much to the annoyance of purists. This brought an immediate audience response as we found our voices to match the Chorale and deliver a rousing version.
Then followed a lyrical German piece Susanni (Lullaby) then Silent Night, Holy Night, a stirring Hark The Herald Angels Singbefore the afternoon’s finale, a modern Australian song by Matthew Orlovich, If Christ had been born in another time which posed the questions ‘If Mary and Joseph had travelled through the Australian outback, would there have been no room in the pub?’ ‘Would they have been turned away while drovers and stockmen jostled the bar toasting the end of the day?’ And ‘Would the Wise Men have brought gifts of perfume and oil from the eucalypt tree or gold from a river’s bed?’
The writer called for this song to be opened and closed with the sound of Kookaburras, a challenge which the Chorale joyfully accepted to bring their 2023 Christmas concert to a unique – and delightful – conclusion.

– Colin Mockett

The Very Best Time of Year

The Very Best Time of Year

St John Passion – JS Bach

As part of the Windfire Festival Program The Geelong Chorale is pleased to join the Windfire Choir in presenting

St John Passion by JS Bach

ABOUT
Joseph Hie, Conductor
Robert Macfarlane, Evangelist,
Adrian Tamburini, Christus
Henry Choo, tenor,
Lee Abrahmsen, soprano
Danielle O’Keefe, mezzo soprano,
Tom Healey, baritone
Windfire Choir and the Geelong Chorale and orchestra

DATE
Friday 7 October 2022 7:30 PM – 9:45 PM

LOCATION
The Basilica of St Mary of the Angels
136 Yarra Street, Geelong Victoria 3220

TICKETS
www.trybooking.com/BZPBQ

REVIEWS
St John Passion: Windfire Festival opening concert – Friday, 7th October, 2022
https://thechoralgrapevine.wordpress.com/2022/10/08/st-john-passion-windfire-festival-opening-concert-friday-7th-october-2022/

 

2022 SJP A4 SJP poster

 

 

Around the World in 80 Minutes

Sunday 10th July 2022 at 2:30pm in All Saints Church, Noble Street

Having been delayed in making this overseas journey for the past two years, we are were delighted to finally present “Around the World in Eighty Minutes”
Although restrictions have generally eased, overseas travel still remains a challenge.
So come on an overseas journey with us, no need to check in or stand at the luggage carousel, as we take you on an epic journey via the world’s treasury of folk songs.

Allister Cox OAM

All Saints Church, Cnr Noble St and Talbot St, Newtown, Sunday 10th July at 2:30pm

Tickets $35|$30 concession

Reviews

The Choral Grapevine review

Entertainment Geelong review

Around the World in 80 Minutes

Around the World in 80 Minutes

Around the World in 80 Minutes

Vaughan Williams – A Life in Music

2022 marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of one of England’s finest composers. In a long and productive life, hardly a music genre has been left untouched or failed to be enriched by Vaughan Williams’s work. We will mark this significant milestone with a selection of his finest choral music.

Amelia Wawrzon, soprano
Syrah Torii, mezzo soprano
Ben Glover, tenor
James Emerson, baritone
Ken George, organ
Kristine Mellens, piano
The Geelong Chorale
Allister Cox, conductor

Sunday 15th May at 2:30pm
All Saints Church
Cnr Noble & Talbot Streets, Newtown, Geelong

Reviews:

Colin Mockett Entertainment Geelong https://entertainmentgeelong.com/reviews-2/

Choral grapevine https://thechoralgrapevine.wordpress.com/2022/05/16/vaughan-williams-a-life-in-music-sunday-may-15th-2022/

Vaughan Williams flyer

Upcoming concerts

The Geelong Chorale are pleased to announce that we are in rehearsal again and will present a feast of singing in three major concerts this year.

Our first concert will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Ralph Vaughan Williams, the quintessential English composer of the 20th century. For this concert we will be joined by four soloists to present a selection of some of his finest choral music: grand anthems, partsongs, folksongs, and movements from the Mass in G minor. Sunday 15th May at 2:30pm in All Saints Church, Noble Street.

Having been delayed in making any overseas journey for the past two years, we are delighted that we can finally present “Around the World in Eighty Minutes”: a veritable whistle-stop tour of many countries via the world’s treasury of folksongs. Sunday 10th July at 2:30pm in All Saints Church, Noble Street.

In October we will combine with Music at the Basilica’s Windfire Choir to present the monumental ‘St John Passion” by J.S. Bach. This moving work has rarely, if ever, been performed in Geelong. First-class soloists and orchestra will accompany the combined choir, all conducted by Joseph Hie.

Concerts for 2020

POSTPONED – from Sunday May 3 to a date to be determined

Brahms – A German Requiem
Brahms’ beautiful German Requiem performed with the accompaniment in his own arrangement for piano 4 hands.

CANCELLED – Sunday August 16 at 2.30pm

Around the World in Eighty Minutes.
A veritable world tour with folksongs of many nationalities followed by a multicultural afternoon tea.

CANCELLED – Saturday December 5 at 5pm

Christmas Through the Ages
A selection of Advent and Christmas music spanning four centuries