www.london-concert-choir.org.uk

Previous Seasons

Here are some highlights of LCC's work over the past few years.

2014

Thursday 10 July 2014
Cadogan Hall, Sloane Terrace, London SW1

Haydn: The Seasons

Haydn's oratorio The Seasons is a joyous evocation of the world in which he had grown up. He was encouraged to compose it by the universal success of The Creation and it was his last major work, first performed in Vienna in 1801. His librettist, Baron Gottfried van Swieten, adapted the text from a popular poem of the same name by the Scottish poet James Thompson, but transposed its setting to the Burgenland, Haydn's Austrian homeland.

Four cantatas describe the changing seasons from Spring through to Winter and the daily life and activities of the peasants. From ploughing and sowing, tending the sheep and welcoming the summer sun, to harvesting, hunting, and shivering in the cold of winter, Haydn celebrates the pastoral world and its Creator in music full of vitality and imagination. The work will be sung in English, from the New Novello edition.


Child of our Time - flyer

Monday 17 March 2014
Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, SE1

Beethoven: Symphony No. 5
Tippett: A Child of Our Time
(70th Anniversary Performance)

Mark Forkgen conductor
Erica Eloff soprano
Pamela Helen Stephen mezzo soprano
Michael Bracegirdle tenor
David Wilson-Johnson bass
City of London Sinfonia

First performed in March 1944, Tippett’s oratorio was inspired by the Nazi pogrom of November 1938 which followed the shooting of a German official by a young Polish Jew (the Child of the title). The work warns against oppression and the use of violence and concludes with the need to accept both the darkness and the light within us. As in Bach’s oratorios, soloists and choir narrate, act out and meditate on the story, but here well-known spirituals take the place of chorales. Beethoven’s ground-breaking Fifth Symphony, with its four-note motto, may also be seen as a struggle between the forces of darkness and light.


2013

Cadogan 2013 Bach concert flyer

Tuesday 17 December 2013
Cadogan Hall, Sloane Terrace, SW1

Bach: Christmas Oratorio – Parts 1, 2 and 3

Mark Forkgen conductor
Nicholas Hurndall Smith Evangelist (tenor)
Helen Meyerhoff soprano
Christopher Lowrey counter-tenor
Giles Underwood bass
Counterpoint

Bach composed his oratorio in six parts for performance over Christmas 1734. Parts 1 to 3 depict the birth of Jesus, the appearance of the angelic host and the adoration of the shepherds. The tenor soloist sings the words of St Luke, aided by the choir as angels and shepherds, and the meaning of the Nativity is explored in reflective arias and chorales. From the exultant trumpets and drums of the opening and closing movements to the serene Pastoral Sinfonia, the oratorio is enriched by Bach’s vivid orchestration.


10 July 13 Barbican flyer

Wednesday 10 July 2013
Barbican Hall, Silk Street, EC2

The French Connection

Fauré: Requiem
Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé, Suite No. 2
Debussy: Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune
Poulenc: Gloria

with Canticum
Southbank Sinfonia
Claire Seaton soprano
Duncan Rock baritone

Scenes of pagan sensuality are framed by two very different sacred works in this celebration of French choral and orchestral music. Fauré's much-loved Requiem is serene and elegiac, in a deliberate reaction against earlier settings by Berlioz and Verdi. In contrast, Poulenc's joyful Gloria, described by the composer as having 'very clear, primary colours', ranges from the dramatic to the playful, yet is always sincere. Debussy's orchestral Prelude and Ravel's Daphnis and Chloé Suite for choir and orchestra are impressionistic and colourful evocations of mythical landscapes dominated by the seductive melodies of a flute; both were featured in the 1912 Paris season of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes.


March 2013 Bach flyer

Sunday 3 March 2013
Cadogan Hall, Sloane Terrace, SW1

Bach: St Matthew Passion

Nicholas Mulroy Evangelist
Colin Campbell Christus
Ruby Hughes Soprano
William Towers Counter-tenor
Nathan Vale Tenor
Robert Rice Bass
with Counterpoint period instrument ensemble

First performed in St Thomas's Church, Leipzig on Good Friday 1727, Bach's St Matthew Passion was conceived on a monumental scale. The story of Christ's betrayal, trial and death is told in the words of the Evangelist Matthew, while the soloists and double chorus take on the roles of Jesus, his disciples, Pilate and the crowd. Bach's imaginative setting of the narrative is interspersed with profoundly expressive choruses, arias and chorales meditating on the spiritual significance of the events. The result is a work of intense emotional impact.


2012

Flyer

Tuesday 23 October 2012
St Sepulchre's Church, Holborn Viaduct, EC1

Rachmaninov:
Liturgy of St John Chrysostom

Rachmaninov's glorious setting for unaccompanied choir of the Divine Liturgy, the communion service of the Orthodox Church, was written in 1910. (St John Chrystostom was Archbishop of Constantinople from 398-404.) The words of the Liturgy are in Church Slavonic and the music, while strongly influenced by Orthodox chant, is entirely original. Rachmaninov may have intended the work for church performance, but the authorities considered it to be too modern, although one conceded that it was “absolutely wonderful, even too beautiful.”


Chalk Legend flyer 14 July 2012

Saturday 14 July 2012
HMV Forum, Kentish Town, NW5

Stephen McNeff: The Chalk Legend (London premiere)

with members of Kokoro, Dorset Youth Orchestra, Ealing Youth Orchestra, and youth choirs from London and Dorset

London Concert Choir presents the London premiere of an exciting community-based music and dance event by award-winning composer Stephen McNeff. Given in promenade performance in an unusual venue, this vibrant and spectacular work is inspired by London 2012.

The fertile landscape of Dorset conceals secrets from a dark time when Viking hordes pillaged the coast. When one of these secrets is suddenly unearthed during preparations for 2012, a promise made over a thousand years ago is kept… and a prophecy fulfilled.

www.chalklegends.com


Gerontius flyer

Wednesday 7 March 2012
Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, SE1

Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius

Adrian Thompson tenor
Jennifer Johnston mezzo soprano
Brindley Sherratt bass
with Canticum and Southbank Sinfonia

First performed in 1900, The Dream of Gerontius is based on a poem by Cardinal Newman depicting a man's death and his soul's journey through the next world, led by a guardian angel and encountering demons and angelic beings on his path to Judgment. Breaking with the conventions of Victorian choral writing, Elgar's music is so full of dramatic intensity and expressiveness that the work was soon recognised as a choral masterpiece.


2011

Messiah flyer Dec 2011

Wednesday 14 December 2011
Cadogan Hall, Sloane Terrace, SW1

Handel: Messiah

Erica Eloff soprano
Christopher Lowrey counter tenor
James Geer tenor
Giles Underwood bass
and Counterpoint period instrument ensemble

Messiah was composed in a fever of creative inspiration in about three weeks and had its premiere in Dublin in 1742. It soon became the best-loved of all Handel's sacred oratorios and today receives countless performances every year all over the world. This will be the first time that the choir has sung Messiah with Mark Forkgen, whose interpretation will highlight the dramatic qualities of this endlessly rich score.


September 2011 flyer

Tuesday 27 September 2011
Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, SE1

Haydn: Mass in Time of War
Vaughan Williams: Dona Nobis Pacem

The Mass in Time of War (Haydn's own title) was written in 1796 as Napoleon was advancing on Vienna. It is one of his finest compositions, symphonic in scale and richly devotional in spirit. Vaughan Williams composed his profoundly moving cantata in 1936 to words taken principally from the Bible and the poems of Walt Whitman. The martial sounds of trumpets and drums feature prominently in both works and each ends with the heartfelt plea 'Dona nobis pacem: Grant us peace.'

Also taking part in the concert are City of London Sinfonia and soloists Helen Meyerhoff, Jeanette Ager, Nathan Vale and Colin Campbell.

This concert repeats the programme from the joint performance with the Augsburg Basilica Choir which was given in July as part of the Augsburg Peace Festival.


Saturday 30 July 2011
Augsburg Peace Festival Concert – Basilika St Ulrich und Afra, Augsburg, Germany

Haydn: Mass in Time of War
Vaughan Williams: Dona Nobis Pacem

with Basilikachor St Ulrich und Afra
and Bayerische Kammerphilharmonie


My Fair Lady

Thursday 9 June 2011
Cadogan Hall, Sloane Terrace, SW1

My Fair Lady

Book & Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, Music by Frederick Loewe. Adapted from George Bernard Shaw's play and Gabriel Pascal's motion picture "Pygmalion"

My Fair Lady is one of the greatest of all musicals. After opening on Broadway in 1956 it ran for more than six years, a record at the time. Almost everyone will recognise the succession of unforgettable songs in this marvellous show.

This semi-staged production features Arlene Rolph as Eliza, Toby Stafford-Allen as Professor Higgins and Martin Lamb as Alfred P. Doolittle. The choir provides the chorus of Cockneys, race-goers and servants.


Verdi requiem flyer 9th March 2011

Wednesday 9 March 2011
Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, SE1

Verdi: Requiem

London Concert Choir
Basilikachor St Ulrich und Afra, Augsburg
Southbank Sinfonia
Claire Seaton soprano
Jennifer Johnston mezzo soprano
Peter Auty tenor
Alan Ewing bass
Mark Forkgen conductor

London Concert Choir welcomes the Basilica Choir of St Ulrich and Afra from Augsburg, Bavaria, for this joint performance of Verdi's Requiem. Composed in memory of the Italian writer Manzoni, the Requiem was first performed in 1874 on the first anniversary of Manzoni's death. The sheer power of the music has ensured its lasting fame and popularity, with Verdi conveying the universal meaning and emotion of the traditional Latin words in a highly dramatic, even operatic style. From the terrifying Dies Irae to the sublime beauty of the Agnus Dei, the Verdi Requiem is a choral masterpiece of overwhelming impact.


2010

Wednesday 20 October 2010
Cadogan Hall, Sloane Terrace, SW1

Gluck: Orfeo ed Euridice (Concert performance)

Michael Chance Orfeo
Erica Eloff Euridice
Mary Nelson Amore
and Counterpoint period instrument ensemble

Gluck's retelling of the ancient myth of Orpheus and Eurydice adds a happy ending to their story of love and loss. First performed in 1762, Orfeo ed Euridice was an operatic landmark, conveying extremes of human emotion in a simple classical style, most movingly in the famous aria Che farò senza Euridice? The chorus plays an integral part in the opera, as nymphs, shepherds, Furies and Blessed Spirits.


Thursday 8 July 2010
Cadogan Hall, Sloane Terrace, SW1

Beethoven: Mass in C
Beethoven: Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage
Beethoven: Overture Leonore No. 3
Beethoven: Finale from Fidelio

Claire Seaton soprano
Arlene Rolph mezzo soprano
Adrian Thompson tenor
Giles Underwood baritone
and Counterpoint period instrumental ensemble

Beethoven’s Mass in C is a beautiful and moving masterpiece which reveals his intensely personal and dramatic response to the Latin text. Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage, an atmospheric setting for choir and orchestra of two Goethe poems, is followed by the Leonore overture – the greatest of the four versions Beethoven composed for the opera Fidelio, whose Finale is one of the most joyful and uplifting in all opera.


Wednesday 31 March 2010
Barbican Hall, Silk Street, EC2

Britten: War Requiem

Janice Watson soprano
Adrian Thompson tenor
Roderick Williams baritone
with Southbank Sinfonia

Benjamin Britten's War Requiem was first performed in 1962 to mark the consecration of the new Coventry Cathedral, built after the medieval cathedral had been destroyed in World War II. Britten's masterstroke was to interweave the Latin text of the Mass for the Dead with the uncompromisingly realistic poetry of Wilfred Owen, who was killed in action in November 1918. The Mass is sung by the soprano soloist and choir, while the words of Owen's soldiers are given to the tenor and baritone soloists. The result is a timeless and profoundly moving commentary on 'War and the pity of War'.


2009

Carmina Burana flyer October 2009

Wednesday 21 October 2009
Cadogan Hall, Sloane Terrace, SW1

London Concert Choir 50th Anniversary Concert

Carl Orff: Carmina Burana

with two pianos and percussion
Erica Eloff soprano
Andrew Radley counter-tenor
William Berger baritone

and English and American Music of the last 50 years

The choir launches its 50th Anniversary Season with Carmina Burana (songs of Beuern) in which Orff set the verses of a roving band of medieval clerics, celebrating the coming of spring, the pleasures of the tavern and the delights of love. Framed by the famous appeal to Destiny - 'O Fortuna', the work's exuberance and sensuality, simple melodies and driving rhythms have ensured its lasting popularity.

The concert begins with a sequence of unaccompanied choral music from the last 50 years by English and American composers, including William Walton, John Tavener and Morten Lauridsen.


Thursday 9 July 2009
Cadogan Hall, Sloane Terrace, SW1

Handel: Coronation Anthems
Handel: Foundling Hospital Anthem
Handel: Music for the Royal Fireworks

Handel, who died 250 years ago, wrote four splendid anthems for King George II's coronation, the best-known being 'Zadok the Priest'. As a generous benefactor of Coram's Foundling Hospital, he contributed a new anthem for a fundraising concert. The Foundling Hospital Anthem incorporates music from several previous works and ends with the 'Hallelujah Chorus' from Messiah. That same concert also included his exultant Royal Fireworks Music.


Saturday 28 March 2009
Barbican Hall, Silk Street, EC2

Mozart: Coronation Mass in C
Mendelssohn: Symphony no. 2 'Lobgesang' (Hymn of Praise)

with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Mozart's 'Coronation' Mass is one of his best loved and most popular sacred works. Composed in 1779 for the Easter Day service in Salzburg Cathedral, it later gained its name from being performed at the coronations of both the Emperor Leopold II and his son Francis II. The Mass setting is extremely varied – ceremonial and celebratory in style, but concise in form.

The bicentenary of Mendelssohn's birth is marked by a performance of his magnificent choral symphony. This was written in 1840 for a grand festival in Leipzig, celebrating the 400th anniversary of Gutenberg's printing press and its contribution to human enlightenment.

A three-movement orchestral sinfonia leads to an extended finale for soloists and chorus – a cantata on biblical texts, praising God and rejoicing in the triumph of light over darkness. While the structure of the symphony is reminiscent of Beethoven's Ninth, the choral movements are strongly influenced by Bach.


2008

Thursday 6 November 2008
Cadogan Hall, Sloane Terrace, SW1

The Duke Ellington Sacred Concert
with Nina Bennet (soprano) and Big Band

Duke Ellington, bandleader, pianist and composer of big-band jazz, had a deep religious faith. In his last decade he composed the music for a series of remarkable Sacred Concerts that he and his orchestra gave from 1965 onwards. London Concert Choir presents a suite of this music, which combines jazz, classical, spirituals and gospel, blues and dance. As Ellington himself said, "Every man prays in his own language, and there is no language that God does not understand".


Thursday 10 July 2008
Guildhall, Gresham Street, EC2

Haydn: The Creation (sung in English)
with Counterpoint period instrumental ensemble

During his visits to London in the 1790s Haydn was greatly impressed by the oratorios of Handel and resolved to emulate his example. The words of The Creation, derived from the Bible and Milton’s Paradise Lost, describe the successive creation of the universe, the Earth and its inhabitants and finally, Adam and Eve. There are fine solo arias and joyful Handelian choruses of praise and thanksgiving, while Haydn’s orchestration vividly depicts the wonders of the natural world. The Creation represents Haydn at his finest and its continuing popularity is well deserved.

Thursday 20 March 2008
Barbican Hall, Silk Street, EC2

Beethoven: Mass in D (Missa Solemnis)

with Canticum
and the English Chamber Orchestra

Beethoven himself regarded his monumental setting of the Latin Mass as his greatest work. Completed in 1823, it is one of the supreme choral masterpieces, combining awe-inspiring grandeur with a fervent spiritual intensity. Beethoven's musical interpretation of the text stretches its performers to the limit as he seeks to give the deepest expression to every word, within the architectural structure of the whole. The score bears the heading "From the heart – may it go to the heart".