BCS at War

On Saturday 6th December BCS was proud to take part in a Christmas Concert organised by Basildon Heritage, lottery funded, and consisting of a drama by local playwright Dawn Knox accompanied by musical offerings from members of Basildon Choral Society, Fricklesome Amsel. a folk group from Basildon’s German twin town Heiligenhaus, and Pitsea Junior School. The play followed the fate of three young combatants from the 1st World War, men from Basildon, Heiligenhaus and Meaux. The production was rendered all the more poignant for being performed in the presence of the daughter of the young French airman depicted, Louis Vallin.

“That was fantastic!”

Just one comment from an enthusiastic member of the audience on 29th November. And actually it was too. Given the fact that the musical director, Stephen Hope, had had a near-death experience in a head on car crash the previous week and had to conduct from a seated position, choir and orchestra (the Sinfonia da Chiesa, leader Levine Andrade) came together in sweet harmony and treated the audience to Duruflé and Haydn at their best.

But what a shame there were only about 100 in that audience. A first class orchestra, professional musicians, and a talented local choir – it doesn’t get much better than that outside of London. If you were a member of the audience in Basildon on 29th November, and if you enjoyed what you heard, please help spread the word. These great composers deserve a wider hearing – and so do the people who sing their works !

Duruflé and Haydn

Centuries apart in time and musical style from Haydn’s choral masterpieces, Duruflé’s “Requiem” has become a modern – well, 20th Century –  classic. With echoes of plainsong and even stronger echoes of Fauré’s work of the same name it manages to combine an almost dreamy other worldliness with moments of red-blooded passion. If you don’t know it, come and hear it opn the 29th – and be charmed !

In early November Linda and I travelled to Cornwall. We sustained ourselves through the trials and tribulations of the M25 and the A303 by listening to a batch of Haydn masses, including of course, The Nelson, Missa in Angustiis. Other composers produced great masses, of course, but there’s something about Haydn that just gets your fingers drumming and your feet tapping. It’s glorious music to drive by – but do watch your accelerator foot !

By the way, on Remembrance Sunday we attended a Solemn Requiem in Truro Cathedral, to the wonderful muisic of Fauré’s Requiem.

BCS Rehearsals….

Don’t forget: from Wednesday 1st October we’re back at our usual rehearsal venue – Langdon Hills Methodist Church, High Rd., Langdon Hills.

And something else to remember: please don’t park on the grass !

LH Meth Ch

Autumn 2014

Basildon Choral Society is rehearsing Duruflé’s Requiem and Haydn’s Nelson Mass this term for its November concert.

Rehearsals take place on Wednesdays at Langdon Hills Methodist Church, High Road, Langdon Hills, from 7.45 pm.


LH Meth Ch











However on 17th and 24th September this venue is not available and we will be switching – for those 2 weeks only – to the Roman Catholic Church of St. Basil the Great in Luncies Road, Vange.

St Basil's Church










If you don’t know these pieces, take it from us that, if you know and love Fauré’s Requiem you  be equally smitten by Duruflé’s, and the Nelson Mass has all the exuberance of Haydn’s work. If you’d like to be a part of the experience, why not come along to a rehearsa, introduce yourself to our chairman, Jen Frizzell, and take it from there !

The November concert takes place on Saturday 29th at St. Martin’s Church, Basildon at 7.45 pm, and BCS will be accompanied by the Sinfonia da Chiesa.

St Martins in Snow











After that we’ll be into our Christmas season culminating in our Family Carol Concert also at St.Martin’s, on Friday 19th Decmber at 7.45 pm.


Excerpt: Jenkins’ Stabat Mater

Excerpt: Dvorak’s Mass in D

Amazing choir (Perpetuum Jazzile) uses their hands to simulate storm

The thing I love about singing with choirs is the phenomenal range of music, styles and singers. Take a look at this choir, Perpetuum Jazzile, Slovenia’s only jazz choir, simulating a storm with their fingers, hands and feet, before leading into a chorus with strong African themes.

The Choral Public Domain Library

Buried away on the internet is an absolute treasure trove of choral music. Accessed through a wiki page, the Choral Public Domain Library, which was started in 1998, permits unrestricted downloads of free music. For instance, since we first performed Gounod’s Stabat Mater, using copies photocopied with the permission of the British Library, someone has taken the time to enter the entire score via a music editor to allow choirs to download it for free.

A quick look at Rachmaninov revealed four versions (!) of Bogoroditze Devo, all in nice clear print.

Take a look – and see if you can find a hidden gem for BCS or the BCS Small Choir to sing.

Gabriel Fauré

FauréExcerpted from Wikipedia, which has a very extensive biography:

Gabriel Urbain Fauré (12 May 1845 – 4 November 1924) was a French composer, organist, pianist and teacher. He was one of the foremost French composers of his generation, and his musical style influenced many 20th century composers. Among his best-known works are his Nocturnes for piano, the songs “Après un rêve” and “Clair de lune”, and his Requiem.

Born into a cultured but not unusually musical family, Fauré revealed his talent when he was a small boy. He was sent to a music college in Paris, where he was trained to be a church organist and choirmaster. Among his teachers was Camille Saint-Saëns, who became a life-long friend.

In his early years, Fauré earned a modest living as an organist and teacher, leaving him little time for composition. When he became successful, holding the important posts of organist of the Église de la Madeleine and head of the Paris Conservatoire, he still lacked time for composing, retreating to the countryside in the summer holidays to concentrate on composition.

By his last years, Fauré was recognised in France as the leading French composer of his day. An unprecedented national musical tribute was held for him in Paris in 1922 headed by the President of the Republic. Fauré had many admirers in England, but his music, though known in other countries, took many decades more to become widely accepted. His music has been described as linking the end of Romanticism with the modernism of the second quarter of the 20th century. When he was born, Hector Berlioz was still composing, and by the time of his death the atonal music of the Second Viennese School was being heard.

The Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, which describes him as the most advanced composer of his generation in France, notes that his harmonic and melodic innovations affected the teaching of harmony for later generations. In contrast with the charm of his earlier music, his last works, written when increasing deafness had struck him, are elusive and withdrawn in character.

If you are interested in reading more about Fauré’s Requiem, Wikipedia has a specific page dedicated to his interpretation.

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