Archived Concerts 2013 – 2014

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2013 – 2014

Saturday 2nd November 2013 7:30pm
Albert Hall, Nottingham
VERDI Requiem

Kishani Jayasinghe – soprano
Catrin Johnsson – mezzo soprano
Jaewoo Kim – tenor
Quentin Hayes – bass


Richard Laing – conductor


Verdi’s Requiem is renowned for its drama and huge ranges of volume and emotion.

It was composed in memory of Alessandro Manzoni, an Italian poet and novelist much admired by Verdi. The first performance in San Marco in Milan on 22 May 1874 marked the first anniversary of Manzoni’s death. The work was at one time called the Manzoni Requiem.

Verdi started to write the Libera me about six years earlier. When Gioachino Rossini died in 1868, Verdi suggested that a number of Italian composers should collaborate on a Requiem in Rossini’s honour, and began the effort by submitting the conclusion, Libera me. During the next year a Messa per Rossini was compiled by thirteen (then famous) composers, most of whom have long since slipped into obscurity.

The premiere was scheduled for 13 November 1869, the first anniversary of Rossini’s death. However, the project was cancelled only a few days before the proposed first performance. Verdi blamed the conductor’s lack of enthusiasm.

Frustrated that the Requiem in memory of Rossini was unlikely to be performed in his own lifetime, Verdi continued to think about the Libera me. When Verdi heard of Manzoni’s death in May 1873 he decided to complete a Requiem for him. Verdi travelled to Paris in June 1873 and started work on the Requiem. The Libera me which eventually appeared in the Manzoni Requiem was not quite the same as the one originally written for Rossini.

Saturday 30th November 2013 7:00pm
Royal Concert Hall
HANDEL Messiah

Caroline MacPhie – soprano
Catrin Johnsson – mezzo soprano
Robert Anthony Gardiner – tenor
Grant Doyle – baritone


Richard Laing – conductor


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 21st December 2013 7:00pm
Monday 23rd December 2013 7:00pm
Royal Concert Hall

Nottingham Harmonic Choir
John Morehen – organ

Richard Laing – conductor


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.

Mendelssohn SYMPHONY No 2 “LOBGESANG” – 12th February 2014
Wednesday 12th February 2014 7:30pm
Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham

Nottingham Classics – Sinfonia ViVA


Sibelius Pélleas et Mélisande

Conductor Andrew Gourlay
Soprano Katherine Broderick
Soprano Lydia Teuscher
Tenor Andrew Staples

Review: Nottingham Post Wednesday 12 February 2014
Sinfonia Viva, Royal Cocert Hall
Thursday, February 13, 2014 Nottingham Post

by William RuffMost of the audience gathered in the Concert Hall on Wednesday evening will never have heard a live performance of Mendelssohn’s
2nd Symphony before and many may never again.It hasn’t had a good press over the years. ‘Turgid and overblown‘ is how one reference book describes it, so it’s perhaps
not surprising that orchestras and choirs have been put off staging it. So hats off to Sinfonia Viva and the Nottingham Harmonic
Choir for their fearless sense of enterprise.There is much to enjoy in this vast choral Lobgesang and perhaps after this outing the audience will wonder why they have
been denied so long the work’s great choruses and orchestral paeans of praise.Sinfonia Viva, under conductor Andrew Gourlay, captured Mendelssohn’s shamelessly upbeat opening movement, with its jaunty pomp
and circumstance. Gourlay’s skill was to lighten and brighten its tread, pacing the music so the ponderous never appeared.The Harmonic Choir sang with power and robust enthusiasm their opening chorus and brought special poignancy to their singing
of the chorale ‘Nun danket alle Gott‘. Soloists Katherine Broderick, Lydia Teuscher and Andrew Staples added tonal
beauty and a natural feeling for words and phrasing to the mix.In the concert’s one other work Sinfonia Viva caught the steadily darkening atmosphere of Sibelius’s <P&eacutelleas and
M&eacutelisande suite. The conductor’s control kept the Castle Gate piece (of Sky at Night fame) free from bombast,
and reached a devastating, quiet intensity in the music for M&eacutelisande ‘s death.
Come & Sing 2014 – Puccini and Verdi
Saturday 22nd March 2014 9:30am – 5:30pm

Puccini Messa di Gloria

Verdi Sacred Pieces

Conductor Richard Laing
Pianist Philip Robinson
Tenor Roberto Garcia-Lopez
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, some from Nottingham Harmonic Choir but also many friends and lovers of singing from a wide geographic area gathered to work on these choral gems and ultimately,
to perform them over the course of the day.Puccini’s Messa di Gloria is full of glorious melodies. It is thoroughly exhilarating to sing and cannot be performed
without a smile!
It was written early in Puccini’s life, as his graduation piece at the end of his study at the Conservatoire.
Verdi’s Four Sacred Pieces were written late in his life and contain stunning choral lines for
singers to relish. We concentrated on the first two pieces, namely the Ave Maria and Stabat Mater.
The Ave Maria is woven around an obscure somewhat a-tonal scale the ‘scala enigmatica’ which had been published as a challenge
for any composer to use as a basis for a work. Verdi’s solution to the problem is an amazing feat of harmonic invention. It is not known
if any other composers rose to the challenge.
Bach B MINOR MASS – 10th May 2014
Saturday 10th May 2014 7:30pm
Southwell Minster

Bach Camerata
leader: David Le Page

Conductor Richard Laing
Soprano Katie Trethewey
Soprano April Fredrick
Mezzo soprano Cathy Bell
Tenor Julian Forbes
Baritone Andrew Mahon

Bach’s Mass in B Minor stands at the very pinnacle of achievement in the
composition of sacred choral music. It is a work of monumental scale, quite impractical
in a liturgical context; yet its sheer vastness is surely a reflection of the depth of its spiritual devotion.
Its history is unclear, researchers have never discovered quite how its various parts fit into the chronology of
Bach’s compositional output. At the heart of the enigma are two questions, which are still a source of speculation
to musicologists:i) At what point did Bach, a Lutheran Protestant, plan to write a full Catholic Mass?
ii) Did he himself really regard the resulting composition as a performable work?Some parts of the Mass have a known history. Early in 1733, the King of Poland and Elector of Saxony died and during five months of
mourning following his death all public music making was suspended. At the time Bach was Musical Director of thw two largest churches in Leipzig,
cantor at St Thomas’ School in the same town and had taken over as director of an orchestra of local professional town musicians and university students.
His musical genius had already been well established during his Time at Leipzig, with the composition of complete cycles of church cantatas, Passion settings and many orchestral works and choral pieces.
However he was often in conflict with his colleagues and the town authorities over disputes concerning fees, which were vital to him as
he had a large family to support. As a result he was feeling somewhat unappreciated.The enforced temporary musical inactivity gave Bach the opportunity to write a ‘Missa’ – a setting of the Kyrie and Gloria.
Its ecumenical quaities stimulated Bach to produce a musical setting that he, a Lutheran, could duly dedicate to his new sovereign,
Augustus III, a Catholic.In July of 1733 Bach visited Dresden, where his son had recently started to work as an organist, and while
there visited the new Elector’s court, presenting the Missa as ‘this insignificant example of the skill that I
have acquired in Musique
, along with a request to be given a court title. Bach hoped that such a title would improve his
standing at Leipzig and give him some measure of security from what he conisidered to be the insulting treatment from the Leipzig
authorities. Bach did eventually get his title, but not immediately. He was made court composer to Augustus in 1736.Quite when the Missa was expanded to a full setting is not really known. The Credo may have been written
between 1740 and 1742, but some think it predates the Missa and was first performed in 1732. The Benedictus, Angus Dei and Donna Nobis Pacem were added in
the late 1740s along with the Sanctus, which was a reworking of a setting that Bach had produced about 20 years earlier.We do know that Bach admired the Italian masters of sacred music from Palestrina to Pergolesi. Perhaps he wanted, like them, to leave
his own musical essay on the subject of this timeless text. He certainly followed the Italian fashion of using a richly diverse mixture
of styles and in choosing to re-use earlier material. He may have felt himself to be selecting his finest work, laying it out for
inspection and putting it to the service of praising God. Whether or not he intended it, Bach has produced a moving,
and notwithstanding its disparate origins and styles, a highly unified work, transcending religious denominations.

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