Nottingham Harmonic Choir


In addition to its own concerts, for the past few years Notingham Harmonic Choir has performed regularly as part of the Nottingham Classics Series of concerts.


Saturday 7th November 2015 7.30pm
Albert Hall, Nottingham

C.P.E.Bach Magnificat

Haydn Nelson Mass

J.S.Bach Orchestral Suite No.3

Conductor Richard Laing
Bach Camerata
leader: David Le Page

Soprano Katie Trethewey
Mezzo soprano Cathy Bell
Tenor Nathan Vale
Baritone Angus McPhee

C.P.E Bach's setting of the Magnificat is an extended and celebratory setting of the words, possibly written to support his application for a post in one of the royal courts or possibly in Leipzig - thus C.P.E.Bach at his best. The Nelson Mass, written late in Haydn's life, is considered to be one of the finest examples of Haydn's liturgical compositions.

Haydn wrote this Mass when his world was in turmoil politically as Napoleon was inexorably expanding his military influence throughout Europe and had won four major battles with Austria in the previous year. The work's original title was thus "Missa in Angustis" or "Mass for Troubled Times".

However, almost coincident with its first performance, arrived news of Nelson's victory over Napoleon at the Battle of the Nile, finally a set-back for Napoleon and a cause of great celebration in Austria. Later when Nelson visited the Esterhazy court with Lady Hamilton, the mass was performed in their presence - hence the enduring generally accepted epithet of the Nelson Mass.

J.S. Bach wrote at least four Orchestral suites which he himself called Ouvertures. The name 'ouverture' really applied only to the opening movement of each suite as it was similar in style to the French 'overture' of that time, with a slow dotted-rhythm opening, a fast fugal central section followed by a recapitulation of the opening theme in triple time. In the baroque period in Germany the term 'ouverture' tended to refer to a suite of dance pieces in French Baroque style, preceded by such an ouverture.


Saturday 5th December 2015 7:00pm
Royal Concert Hall

HANDEL Messiah

Soprano Mary Nelson
Counter tenor Russell Harcourt
Tenor Christopher Turner
Bass Aidan Smith

Conductor - Richard Laing


Start your Christmas season with an evening of inspirational music. Handel's magnificent oratorio Messiah tells the story of Jesus' birth, life, death and resurrection, through many narrative and explanatory extracts from the Bible. This dramatic work features several of the greatest arias and choruses ever written.

This concert comes at the start of Advent, when we are all finally becoming aware that it really isn't long until Christmas, even though the shops have been anticipating it for months. Come and have an evening to escape from the bustle and let Handel's glorious music wash over you and renew you.


Saturday 19th December 2015 6:00pm
Monday 21st December 2015 7:00pm
Royal Concert Hall


Organ - John Morehen

Conductor - Richard Laing


Bring the whole family to enjoy Christmas music at these ever-popular, child-friendly concerts.

The choir and band lead the audience in well-loved Christmas carols, while the choir provides more peaceful interludes with celestial carol settings and the Thoresby Colliery Band adds sparkle in its solo items.

The Thoresby Colliery Band is one of the most exciting brass bands in Europe, and regularly wins countless accolades for its inspirational playing. Even if you think you don't like brass bands, this one will convert you. Over the years they have played pieces ranging from Frosty the Snowman to Rossini's William Tell Overture, Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture and Wagner's Procession to the Minster. If you get seats close enough to watch their percussion section, it is an amazing sight and sound.

Come & Sing 2016 - GLORIA & JUBILATE DEO

Saturday 20th February 2016 9:30am - 5:30pm

Vivaldi Gloria

John Rutter Gloria

Gabrieli Jubilate Deo

Conductor Richard Laing
Pianist Simon Hogan
Nottingham Girls' High School

9:30-10:00 Registration
10:00-12:30 Welcome & rehearsal
12:30-13:30 Lunch (all brought their own)
13:30-16:00 Rehearsal
16:30-17:30 Performance

About 120 singers assembled once again, some from Nottingham Harmonic Choir but also many friends and lovers of singing from a wide geographic area gathered to rehearse and ultimately, to perform these three glorious choral pieces in a range of contrasting styles.

The wonderfully sunny nature of the Vivaldi Gloria, with its distinctive melodies and rhythms, is characteristic of all of his music and has an immediate and universal appeal.

Giovanni Gabrieli's stunning 8-part Jubilate Deo represents the pinnacle of Venetian music with its use of expansive declamations and antiphonal effects - a joy to sing!

John Rutter has established himself as one of our leading exponents of contemporary choral music with the Gloria being one of his most ambitious works. Each of its three movements is in a different style, 'exalted, devotional and jubilant by turn' in the composer's own words. Typical of Rutter's works the whole piece is alive with rhythm, tunefulness and vitality.

CARMINA BURANA with BBC Symphony Orchestra

Saturday 12th March 2016 7:30pm
Royal Concert Hall



Hindemith Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes by Weber

BBC Symphony Orchestra

conductor Gergely Madaras
soprano Sarah Tynan
tenor Sam Boden
baritone Marcus Farnsworth
Choristers of Southwell Minster

Review: Nottingham Post Sunday 13 March 2016
BBC Symphony Orchestra/Nottingham Harmonic Choir at Royal Concert Hall
by William Ruff

Nottingham Harmonic Choir joined BBC Symphony Orchestra for a night at the Royal Concert Hall.
When Saturday's BBC Symphony Orchestra/Nottingham Harmonic concert is eventually broadcast on Radio 3, listeners should stand well back from their radios. If the engineers truly capture the experience in the Royal Concert Hall, the effect could well be explosive.

Faced with a forest of microphones, a choir could well be intimidated. But not the Harmonic. Orff's Carmina Burana may not be the world's most complex music, but it needs scrupulous attention to fine detail if it is to avoid sounding repetitive or superficial. The freshness which the Choir (together with the Choristers of Southwell Minster) brought to their roles made a concert warhorse seem like a frisky young colt. The singing was vividly characterful, irresistibly energetic and had the impact of a sonic tsunami. And more than anything the performance featured the best choral diction I have ever heard.

The soloists were splendid too. Tenor Samuel Boden played the comically poignant role of the strangled, roasted swan to perfection. Soprano Sarah Tynan was lyrically tender, unfazed by her stratospherically high notes. Baritone Marcus Farnsworth brought operatic relish to his multi-faceted part, equally convincing either celebrating the joys of spring or being an outrageously drunk cleric.

The Choir's own soprano quartet in 'Chramer, gip die varwe mir' also rose magnificently to the occasion, as did the semi-chorus in 'Veris leta facies'.

Conductor Gergely Madaras handled the vast choral and orchestral forces with great panache, digging out fine detail from Orff's score and adding some of his own (such as the raucously entertaining crowd noises in 'In Taberna').

He also brought energy and insight to the first half programme: Ibert's sensuously dynamic Bacchanale and Hindemith's Technicolor orchestral showpiece Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes by Weber. The BBC Symphony Orchestra, percussion well to the fore, was on sparkling robust form throughout.

The recording from this performance, was broadcast on Radio 3 at 2pm on Monday 4th April 2016, and was now available on iPlayer for the following month.

Inspirational Music

Saturday 14th May 2016 7:30pm
Southwell Minster

Duruflé Requiem

Kodaly Missa Brevis

Tippett Five spirituals from A Child of Our Time

Conductor Richard Laing
Organ Simon Hogan

Duruflé's ethereal Requiem is a deservedly enduringly popular work. It is a Requiem which seems to look heaven-wards with hope rather than trying to fill the living with the fear of hell. This is a much more positive emotion for those left behind.
Kodaly Missa Brevis was first performed in the Budapest Opera House cloakrooms, during the siege of Budapest in 1944/45! At the time Kodaly, along with most of the civilian population of Budapest, had taken refuge in cellars and basements of the city in an attempt to survive the 24-hour a day bombing raids. It was in this environment that Kodaly wrote his Missa Brevis,, some parts were adapted from his earlier organ-mass, written in 1942.

In Tippett's A Child of Our TIme, the spirituals perform a similar role of relief and a time for contemplation amid the agonising action, that the Chorales perform in the Passions of Bach. Although most of the music in A Child of Our TIme is full of the angst and conflict, the four spirituals are beautiful contemplative settings which stand as complete works in their own right.

DRIVE TIME CONCERT - Thursday 25th June 2015

Thursday 25th June 2015 5:00pm
Royal Concert Hall
Hallé Orchestra

There's no better way to experience the sensational power of orchestral music than with a live concert - and the Drivetime Concert is the perfect place to start.

Full programme:
John Williams Star Wars: Opening Titles
Beethoven Symphony No 5: First movement
Sibelius Pelléas and Mélisande: At the Castle Gate (Theme from The Sky at Night)
Johann Strauss On the Beautiful Blue Danube (from 2001: A Space Odyssey)
Handel Zadok the Priest
Debussy Clair de Lune
Holst Mars: The Bringer of War from The Planets
Richard Strauss Also Sprach Zarathustra(opening titles of 2001: A Space Odyssey)
John Williams Star Wars: Duel of the Fates
Sibelius Symphony No 5: Finale