Tag Archives: roden boys choir

Lully, lullay ~ for Newtown

This song by composer Philip Stopford was sung by the Roden Boys Choir last year during the Christmas season. The words are based on the Coventry Carol, which takes its inspiration from the account of the murder of the innocent children, in the Gospel of Matthew. I was reminded of this song again today and felt a shock when I realised the words could have been written today, for the victims of the shooting in Newtown.
May this haunting piece of music serve to remind us that no matter how shattered we may feel, we can always sing a song of grief for those who were made silent.


Roden Boys Choir in Haarlem

Well, what do you know? My boyfriend said “I wonder if they’ll sing the same service as two weeks ago?” and I said that would be unlikely, as they’re bound to have a different repertoire up their sleeves. And I was wrong. The only change from the service in Amsterdam was a different closing hymn, and the closing hymn from last time was now the processional hymn. But even though I was disappointed at first to see this in the program, afterwards I was really happy because the two services were a completely different experience. And the Haarlem one was much better in all respects. We were seated closer to the choir, they stood in a semi-circle instead of opposite eachother and the magnificent organ was placed right above their heads, instead of at the other end of the building. All this made for a much more riveting and emotionally rewarding listening experience.

What was more, the vicar doing the readings and leading the prayers was the same who had led the wedding ceremony of my boyfriend’s parents almost 32 years ago, and has been the vicar of my boyfriend’s grandmother for years! Unfortunately we didn’t find him after the service, so we couldn’t say hi and introduce ourselves, but it was a very nice coincidence all the same πŸ™‚

So, as said, no difference in the program but the start was already a much different feel, as in Haarlem they make use of a traditional Introit, that is: the choir sings in the back of the church and their voices are floating through the space which gives a very chilling effect. It’s truly like angels singing – you hear them but don’t see them and the sound is quite ethereal. Then, the choir enters, singing a processional hymn (the same as the closing hymn of two weeks earlier, which liturgically speaking is quite strange!) in which the congregation joins. Already I could hear each voice group much better – yay basses! The line up was the same as in Amsterdam, I think.

During the Preces my attention was drawn to the treble line at the cantoris side, which has some very strong voices. The amazing thing was I couldn’t find out who had the strongest as they seemed to blend so seamlessly. Also there was a countertenor on the far end who now and then really caught my ear.

The Psalm was great and I really love the pleading melody by Sir Ivor Algernon Atkins which suits the bitter tone of the words. It really is a haunting prayer for mercy, with a remembrance of good times and a hope for the future.

A mystery was the voice of Roman Krjemenevsky, former treble soloist who now sings with the men. I figured his voice must have changed but as I tried to make out his voice when only the men were singing a line, it sounded to me he still has a high voice. Perhaps he sings alto? It’s things like these that make me want to check with the choir director to know what the heck my ears are hearing πŸ˜‰ But I tend not to let technicalities get in the way πŸ˜‰

As said, I could really hear the lower voices this time, and there was one bass in particular on the decani side who often stood out with a clear bronze ring, almost to the point where he stood out too much and didn’t fully blend with the others anymore. Though it’s only a minor complaint – after all, individual voices are bound to stand out in a setting like the St. Bavo Evensong where the choir members and the congregation are relatively close to each other.
Oh, and one more thing about sound – the echo is much longer in Haarlem and there were some beautiful moments where the closing chord vanished into the air and into the silence, and these moments really formed the last part of a piece.

What was also great this time was seeing Rintje te Wies conduct. He’s so enthusiastic and commanding, and with effect, as the boys and men almost constantly had their eyes fixed on him rather than on their scores – though ofcourse singing familiar repertoire helped too. I couldn’t help feeling he directed with more gusto than normally, and perhaps the choir needed that as there seemed to be a minor lack in their regular intensity. Though they still sing effortlessly and with such focus that it’s difficult to talk about them in these terms. And in fact, during the Nunc dimittis and the anthem I stopped paying so much rational attention to the singing and was really just swept away by the music.

This time I also noticed the different dynamics of the Evening Service canticles by Herbert Brewer much better. Traditionally, the Magnificat is more energetic than the Nunc dimittis, as the Magnificat is the song of praise of the Blessed Virgin Mary after receiving the news she will give birth to Christ, whereas the Nunc dimittis is the prayer of thanksgiving of the old man Simeon holding the newborn baby Jesus. Brewer sticks to this distinction but two weeks ago I did not really get that difference in energy and feel. This time I did. The Magnificat is very gentle but full of radiance, and the Nunc dimittis is much more quiet and peaceful, and much more moving because of it. In that respect, the two forces, so to speak, really complement eachother as two parts of a whole, rather than two pieces of the same thing.

The Collects and Responses were, as always, sung beautifully by bass Jan Vonk. His pronunciation is very good and his voice sounds great in the acoustics of the St. Bavo. It was, just like in Amsterdam, the only ‘solo’ of the evening, which I thought was a pity, and makes me wonder if this is due to the current voices available in the choir (on both occasions I was hoping for a solo by Ischi Magna or perhaps a new soloist as the Roden Boys Choir has a reputation of great soloists).

This evening there were also spoken prayers by the vicar, quite elaborate and with an emphasis on social awareness, so when the anthem came, the atmosphere, for me at least, had gotten very solemn (all the more so because the readings during the service were two of my favourites – Deuteronomy 6,4-9, the Jewish creed, and Luke 10,25-37, the parable of the Good Samaritan). Once again Rintje te Wies really took out all the dynamics of Sumsion’s evocative composition and I noticed how much the organ plays a role in this as well. The frenzy that appears halfway and the calm that ends it, were all very convincing. I also love the seemingly endless repetition of the phrases “his wonders”, which sounds almost obsessive as it describes how much there is to marvel at in the works of the Lord, and “the haven where they would be”, which really sounds like finally arriving at inner peace.

The final part of the service was reserved for the organ which, just as in Amsterdam, was played to full force to support the closing hymn. The voluntary that followed can only be described as ‘golden thunder’.

All in all this evening was full of intensity and I’m glad I went. I now know for sure that when my favourite Dutch choir sings in Haarlem, it’s not to be missed.

Introit: Lord, for thy tender mercy’s sake (Richard Farrant)
Processional hymn: Strong Son of God, immortal Love
Preces (John Sanders)
Psalm 80 (Atkins)
Evening Service (Herbert Brewer)
Collects and Responses (John Sanders)
Anthem: They that go down to the sea in ships (Herbert Sumsion)
Closing hymn: The duteous day now closeth (tune: Innsbruck)

Roden Boys Choir in Amsterdam

It was another fine summer evening yesterday with great singing as the Roden Boys Choir visited the St. Nicolaas church in Amsterdam. I had forgotten how beautiful and spacious the church is and as we were there just as the doors opened we could find seats all the way in the front of the church, under the massive dome which felt pretty special.

It had been a long time since I last heard my favourite Dutch choir sing (the last time was during Advent!) so I was curious what I could expect. I was happy when I saw they would sing one of my favourite anthems recorded by them, They that go down to the sea in ships by Herbert Sumsion.

Earlier that afternoon the boys and men had sung at a special Bach afternoon where everybody had to show up in baroque costume and were introduced to baroque music and dancing. I could not attend, but later learned that they had sung Lobet dem Herrn and Jesu bleibet meine Freude, as well as pieces by Sweelinck. I’m sure it must have been a treat and I would love to experience them singing German.
This however was a classic Anglican Evensong, minus the sermon though (not sure why). For your information, the Nicolaas church is in fact Roman Catholic but they hold choral Evensong every Saturday – I blogged about that before. During the summer there are organ recitals which I’m told are very good (if only I had more time on my hands…!).

The organ, played by Sytze de Vries, accompanied the choir and the serving pastor as they filed in procession to the altar where the Introit was sung, a mesmerizing polyphonic piece by 17th-century composer John Hilton. It was a bit difficult to hear the basses, perhaps due to the acoustics from where we were stting, perhaps due to the choir’s very strong and many trebles – with three probationers attending, so good hopes for the future. Two former trebles were now placed among the men, a sign of maturing voices. Not seeing a choir in over six months can make you note how fast choristers at a young age grow up. Wonderful to see the continued dedication to a choir in a period of their lives where choices abound. A sense of belonging and loyalty must play a part in their long-term dedication, as well as the joy of singing and an interest in music.

As for the men, they were treated with a piece just for them, as they sang a Sarum plainchant piece devoted to the Blessed Trinity, the melody of which is used in a simplified form in the current Protestant church songbook, as my boyfriend later explained (he’s a walking church song catalogue ;)). The Psalm was, surprisingly enough, the same as when we attended Evensong with the Roden Boys Choir in Advent, and the first lesson, from the Book of Lamentations, could well be from Lent. So a lot of sadness and gloom, which was answered with a gentle and compact canticle setting by Herbert Brewer. His Magnificat in D builds up to a glorious crescendo with a roaring closing chord on the organ which was a real joy to hear. About that Psalm: I thought their pronunciation was really good and precise, very tight and clear, even though some faces seemed a bit tired, perhaps from spending a long day in the capital, far from home.

After the Creed, sung by all on a single note, which made it very solemn, and the prayers, each with its own fitting repsonse (by John Sanders), it was time for the beautiful anthem which really paints the dramatic narrative of Psalm 107. It talks of shipmen on the sea and as the waves become very violent because of a storm “they reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man”. The tension gradually falls away to make room for a serene and calm ending. I love how English anthems often tell an entire story, and director Rintje te Wies really knew how to treat each section of the story with the right emphasis and build-up. I immediately thought of the time I heard the Choir of Westminster Abbey sing Elgar’s anthem Great is the Lord where director James O’Donnell employed the same sense of narrative and word-painting, so well written by Elgar.

The final prayers also included a moving poem by John Donne, which I first heard in another Evensong at the Nicolaas church. The poem speaks of a home of eternal rest and a glimpse of that heavenly vision was shared in the sights and sounds of the Evensong. Then Sytze de Vries really let the pipes blow to support the congregational singing of closing hymn Strong Son of God, immortal Love and treated us to an exuberant voluntary, always a privilege to hear.

At the exit two young choristers collected donations which was nice to see – being able to contribute directly to their wonderful efforts.
And now I’m already looking forward to their next apearance, in two weeks’ time at the St. Bavo church in Haarlem with its amazing organ!

Evensong for the Eve of the 4th Sunday after Trinity
Introit: Lord, for thy tender mercy’s sake (John Hilton; text: Christian Prayers and Holy Meditations, 1568)
Preces: John Sanders
Office Hymn: O lux beata Trinitas (Sarum Plainchant)
Psalm 80
Canticles: Service in D (Herbert Brewer)
Responses after the Creed: John Sanders
Anthem: They that go down to the sea in ships
Closing Hymn: Strong Son of God, immortal Love

11 for ’11 – the final five

So, it’s time to look at the final five highlights of 2011 for me, your dedicated choirfan. Here they are! πŸ™‚

5. Roden Boys Choir

A discovery that keeps surprising and delighting me and the finest choir of the Netherlands as fas as I’m concerned. I first saw them in May at the Three Choirs Festival in Breda where they sang together with the choirs of the Cathedral in Haarlem and the Sacrament church in Breda. They stood out for me because of their concentration and the intensity and clarity of their singing. Their discipline, their diction – absolute class. They really had me glued to my seat. The highlight that evening was William Henry Harris’ Strengthen ye the weak hands. All the singers looked constantly at their director Rintje te Wies who directed with such control and grace. I became an instant fan πŸ™‚ I found out more about them when I got home and was surprised to see they had used some of my pictures of the Three Choirs Festival on their own website. I contacted them and made sure they mentioned my name with the pictures πŸ˜‰

I was lucky enough to catch them again two months later for Evensong in the St. Bavo church in Haarlem with its magnificent MΓΌller organ. The Preces, by Peter Nardone, had a powerful closing chord on the word ‘praised’ and I noticed the magnificent echo of the church. The choir really sent a beautiful and glorious sound into the air, like a prayer of sound going up.
But nothing prepared me for the amazing Magnificat and Nunc dimittis settings by composer Bryan Kelly who I had never heard of. The Magnificat in particular is very dramatic and dance-like, full of contrast and staccato notes. The ‘Amen’ ended with a really long high note on the ‘A’ (I think four bars) and an abrupt and powerful ‘men’, almost like a door slammed shut. Once again the echo they sent through the building was amazing.

It was there I decided to become a Friend of the choir which involves an annual donation in return for a newsletter and benefits on CDs and concert tickets. I also had the chance afterwards to chat with their musical director, to introduce myself as the guy who made the pictures on their website and to compliment him on his fabulous choir. One of the first things he asked me was whether I sing too πŸ™‚

This month I caught them live for the third time (I already blogged about it here) and I hope to see and hear more from this exceptional choir next year. I will leave you with a sublime live TV performance of a song from their recent Christmas album, with my favourite current soloist of theirs, Ischi Magna:

4. New Libera songs

Finally, the top 11 reaches the choir that caused this blog in the first place: Libera! πŸ™‚ Apart from three international tours (Canada, USA and the Philippines), a lot of new faces and lots of live performances on TV, radio and online, this year Libera gave us two new albums: Miracle of Life and The Christmas Album. The mini-album Miracle of Life was released in Japan only and contained just one new song, Song of Life, the theme song for Madonna Verde, a mini-series in Japan. But it was one of the personal highlights of 2011 for me. I got to hear the world premiere of it at Libera’s concert in Epsom (see nr. 2) and it has played an important part as the soundtrack to an eventful year for me. I often sang it on my bike rides during the time I had just moved to my new apartment and quit my old job. The first words, sung by my current favourite soloist Ralph Skan, perfectly capture the meaning of the song for me: “There’s a whisper in the dark as a new life comes to be”. I wrote those words on one of the doors in my kitchen (which is painted with chalkboard paint).

The “endless song of life” puts me in mind of the Jewish people in exile who sang their stories of how they believed God made the world – the words which we now know as the book of Genesis in the Bible. Words that were originally sung, generation after generation, in order to keep their faith alive – telling of the breath of God breathing life into man so that man may be happy and free. The “whisper in the dark” – which is the same whisper that starts any creative process to this day. For me, there is a direct link between that first breath of God, that first dawn of life, and this song here, now. Libera’s Song of Life is like an echo of that ancient song of life that is still being sung day after day, through us and by us, as notes on God’s score.

Talking of scores, I also now have the score of Song of Life for piano and vocal, thanks to Mayu Hagy, a Japanese Libera fan who was kind enough to send it as a gift πŸ˜€

2011 also brought us The Christmas Album, which already came out in November but since I’m such a liturgy geek, I wanted to wait with listening to it at least until Advent had started. And on Libera Dreams I even blurted out I felt like waiting until after I got home from singing in Christmas Eve mass – and before I knew it, I had made a bet with LennesSL, another Dutch Libera fan (who I met at Epsom and who I then introduced to the forum ;)), to keep my word and wait. Which I managed to do! OK, I was allowed to listen to Veni, Veni Emmanuel during Advent but that was it.
I got home from a very joyful Christmas Eve celebration, made some hot cocoa with Christmas bread for me and my boyfriend, lit a few candles, put the CD in my CD player and… pressed ‘play’. The brass notes that form the intro to Joy to the World filled the room and it was Libera Christmas time! It was nice to finally hear what all the fans had already been talking about for so long πŸ˜‰ I love Still, Still, Still the best, as it really captures the spirit of Christmas and takes me to the stable where Jesus was born. It is followed closely by Coventry Carol (a unique song in Libera’s repertoire as it has a tenor solo and there’s an unidentified deep bass voice singing in the background!) and Jubilate Deo.

3. Libera’s US Tour in August

No, I didn’t attend any of those shows (sadly), but it was still a highlight for me as the fans who did go kept us all up to date with everything that happened and the boys themselves too blogged more than ever. But what was more, they sang in the morning service at the Moody Church in Chicago with the cameras rolling! So it was on one Sunday afternoon that I sat in front of my computer and had the time of my life. Goosebumps, tears, everything. They sang Gloria (with a very full sound throughout), Exsultate (where you could really hear all the different harmony parts, making it my favourite version so far), Glory to Thee (with an incredibly moving solo by newbie Eoghan McCarthy) and How Shall I Sing That Majesty? (with wonderful high notes and again a very strong sound). Being treated to their live voices so splendidly, in a church environment, kept me spellbound as if I was there. There have been other Libera live performances captured this year which moved me (Carol of the Bells on ASAP Rocks and Himig Ng Pasko come to mind), but Eoghan’s solo on Glory to Thee definitely stands out as the most special for me.

But that was not all – Tom413, Lauren and Lexi from Libera Dreams managed to get a copy of the US Tour programme signed and sent to me, along with an actual concert ticket and a couple of flyers from the tour! It was such a nice gift and serves as a souvenir of the tour, which gives me happy memories even though I wasn’t there myself πŸ™‚

2. Libera live at Epsom

Luckily enough I did get to see Libera live this year: in Epsom, a suburb of London, a week after my birthday :). It was great to meet fans from all over the world and the overall experience was amazing (and over way too soon ;)). These were the highlights of the set for me:

Always with you – Freddie Ingles and Jakob De Menezes-Wood made this song sound really, really good. Very good choice of soloists. I also loved how Jakob looked like an apparition the way the lights shone on him, great visual effect. The sound, the lights, the way the boys were standing in a line with Freddie alone up stage and Jakob towering alone in the back – everything was just right.

Lament – amazing that they included this!! And just the gesture of all of them – except nine (?) – putting up their hoods brought tears to my eyes. Everytime Libera goes all the way in expressing their church roots it’s becoming the most moving for me. Loved everything about this, also the dark and the blue lights. Just amazing.

The Fountain – the moment I had been waiting for, hearing this song live with Ralph singing solo. I think I must have nearly fallen off my chair, because I was leaning forward so far to not miss anything πŸ˜€ The high notes by Kavana Crossley blew me away. Ralph didn’t get the high notes of “again” in the chorus the first time and coughed right after, but the second time he was totally there again.
I have to say it was really his night that night. He was the main soloist in every way and carried the difficult parts bravely and without any nerves. A strong leader of the group with a very distinct personal charm.

Stay with me – I think in hindsight the song that moved me the most. The way Daniel Fontannaz delivered his solo, with such joy and conviction, touched me deep in my heart.

Going Home – Soloist James Mordaunt sounded like Michael Horncastle in his Far Away years to me. And Daniel complimented him perfectly. I dared to say right after the show that for me I thought this version beat the one on the Angel Voices DVD (which is saying something since that version made a huge impression when I first got to know Libera). But I still say it. I was just blown away by this live version and very, very moved.

Afterwards, I had the opportunity to compliment Daniel on his solo in Stay With Me. I was waiting outside with some fans when I suddenly saw Stefan Leadbeater, Ralph, Daniel and Ben Philipp walk out of the Playhouse in front of me. I did’t know what to say, thinking I should, thinking I shouldn’t – and in the end I just let it be. Because I don’t want to be a part of the “fame culture” that is hovering around the boys. I want to be able to express my gratitude in a pure way. By acknowledging at the same time that they are just boys. On stage they might be magical – but that’s due to what happens on stage, and in rehearsal. Something comes together that is bigger than all of us. They have been blessed with their voices and their training and the creativity of Robert Prizeman and others. I finally decided to take a shot when Daniel was given his peace again, and before he would scoot off, I complimented him on his performance. I told him “you sang to my heart” and he seemed genuinely thankful for that. That was enough for me. Because it was not just his voice that moved me but the way he sang it as well. May he never lose that.

1. Attending morning service at St Philip’s – twice!

Being a Libera fan, attending a Sunday morning service in the church of St. Philip’s in Norbuy, South London, was an experience I shall never forget. Because it is here that Libera started and where the boys are still rooted in the tradition of singing and worship. St. Philip’s is a very simple, unassuming but very warm church with a welcoming and friendly community. The last thing they want is to turn into a kind of Libera pilgrimage site so details of my experience there will be brief. But there is no doubt that attending Sunday worship there twice this year was the number one highlight for me in terms of choral singing.

The first time was on the second Sunday of Lent. As I entered the building the boys were still rehearsing Anton Bruckner’s Locus iste. I knew right then and there that it was a blessed moment and all was right. I was so happy. Because the words of Locus iste are very, very dear to me. And as the words are traditionally sung at the dedication of churches, to hear them the minute I set foot in St. Philip’s couldn’t be more symbolically perfect. Hearing it again during Communion was the icing on the cake. We also sang To God be the glory, as closing hymn, the chorus of which begins with the very appropriate words: “Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Let the earth hear his voice! Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Let the people rejoice!” Which was ofcourse exactly what I did πŸ™‚

The second time I visited St. Philip’s was on the feast day of Pentecost, the celebration of the Holy Spirit. It marks the end of the Easter period, the most important part of the year on the church calendar. Being able to celebrate this feast at that particular place was a once in a lifetime experience and one that I shall cherish forever. As closing hymn we sang Thine be the glory, a song of praise which is very dear to me in Dutch. Singing it together with the choir boys and congregation of St. Philip’s, on that particular day, looking up at the altar piece depicting the nativity of Jesus, the stained glass window above the altar which depicts His resurrection at Easter, and the altar cloth depicting a dove as symbol of the Holy Spirit, was perfect beyond words.

Afterwards, I asked Paul, the site admin for Libera Dreams and a regular at St. Philip’s, to take my picture outside the church.

I hope 2012 brings all of you moments of joy and harmony – wherever you are, whoever you are. Happy New Year!!

Evensong Roden Boys Choir on Sunday Gaudete

What better way to celebrate Sunday Gaudete than by treating yourself to a wonderful Evensong by your favourite Dutch choir? Sunday Gaudete is the 3rd Sunday of Advent, a joyful look towards Christmas in what is still a period of waiting. In a darkened, quiet and a little chilly Laurenskerk in Rotterdam three candles were burning under the towering Marcussen organ, and two modest choir stalls were placed in front of that. A quiet, hushed mood was prevalent as the people slowly filled the seats. Earlier that afternoon, the Roden Boys Choir had sung in a performance of Benjamin Britten’s A Boy Was Born in Amsterdam and despite a significant delay as a result of that, they had just finished rehearsing (already looking sharp in their black suits) as the church doors were opened.

The Laurenskerk is a huge, impressive church, with many colourful details for those who, like me, tend to wander around with a camera before taking their place to study the program and get into the appropriate mood for Evensong. Final touches were made as the candles were lit while someone else ran to the car to get the robe which music director Rintje te Wies had absent-mindedly left there. No sign of any hurriedness though as the Introit by Bird was begun. A reverent atmosphere descended as the polyphony filled the space. The procession revealed a tired face here or there, but the choir, perhaps a tad more tense due to the day’s hectic schedule, retained its truly remarkable concentration while singing. Especially the trebles at the Cantoris side sang with unfailing focus.

I loved hearing the setting of Psalm 80 which reminds me I listen to Anglican psalm chant far too rarely than I would like. I was struck by the metaphor of water, as described in the imagery of rivers and seas in this psalm, a theme which was to occur throughout the entire service, as the pastor vividly pictured a desert spring after the first rain. For some reason this imagery of water in Biblical terms is something I always have a special feeling for, and it felt reassuring to experience it again today. By the way, the pastor delivered his reading and short sermon from a lectern clad in beautiful pink, especially for today, and wore a matching stole πŸ™‚

The Evening Service that was sung was the one the choir’s organist Sietze de Vries wrote himself. The Magnificat has a wonderfully lovely final part with a splendid solo by new ‘star’ Ischi Magna, set to the words “He hath filled the hungry with good things”. I had hoped to hear this chorister sing a solo and was not disappointed. Not only does he have a very gentle and pleasant round voice, the way he delivers his solo with such ease and grace, blending perfectly in the whole, not showing any sign of self-consciousness, is very touching to witness. The same can be said of some moments when the choir gave very convincing starts of a new vocal line – the sheer confidence with which their vocal force was delivered tells tales of the commitment and love of music of everyone involved, from the choristers to the music director to the organist to all the parents and people in the organisation.

As lovely and tender as the Magnificat ended, so glorious and powerful was the ending of the Nunc dimittis. Such strength in that single word “glory”, and the drama of it was aptly visualised by Rintje te Wies, who conducts with such command and artistry that it was sometimes more than enough to just look at him to see what the words of that particular piece conveyed.
The church’s acoustics helped a lot tonight too. I was moved near to tears by the way bass Jan Vonk delivered the Collects. It was one of the shortest and cheapest flights to a British cathedral I ever had the privilege to take.

To my feeling, the Evensong was over before I had noticed it and perhaps the Anthem, despite its graceful flowing lines, could have been a bit better (and, dare I say it, craving as I am, longer) but to be honest, complaints are out of place. On a final note, I applaud both the choir and their organist, who my boyfriend suspected of throwing in an improvisation of several Advent hymns as organ voluntary (which I just had to tap my foot to, it was that contagious).

Sunday Gaudete – I think expectation of a feast rarely felt this festive already.

Evensong for the 3rd Sunday of Advent (Gaudete)
Introit: Gloria tibi Domine (Byrd)
Processional Hymn: The advent of our God (Coffin; New Universal Psalmodist, 1770)
Preces (Reading)
Psalm 80 (Atkins)
Evening Service: Roden Service (Sietze de Vries)
Responses (Reading)
The Lord’s Prayer (Stone)
Anthem: O Thou the Central Orb (Wood)
Hymn: Veni Redemptor gentium
Organ voluntary (improvisation Sietze de Vries?)

It’s A Life (9)

Ever wonder what goes on in a chorister’s life when they’re not singing a service? A few Youtube clips lift the veil for us. This week, my favourite choir after Libera and the pride of my country the Netherlands: the Roder Jongenskoor (Roden Boys Choir)! The clips feature mostly singing, which is great as there can’t be enough of that πŸ˜‰ In between are interviews with some of the soloists and other choristers, with basic questions like how they started in the choir, what it’s like to sing solo, if they play an instrument and so on. Head chorister of the decani Jelte de Jong explains that the decani usually sing the first soprano voice which means they often sing higher than the cantoris. We also get to see footage of rehearsals and the special method developed by choir director Rintje te Wies, where aspiring choristers get a musical training by learning to play the cymbal. I am always amazed at the tricks and turns that are used to get ‘ordinary’ boys to sing like angels πŸ˜‰ Included in this 20 minute mini-documentary are pieces by Stanford, Walmisley, Victoria and Wesley (a gorgeous solo by Ischi Magna). Enjoy… πŸ˜€

First post :)

This is my first post, just to get things started and try some things out… And already I have good news to share, because yesterday I received two very nice packages in the mail, both choir related.

First, the CD I had been trying to get my hands on for a long time – New College Oxford’s Monteverdi Vespers. I’mΒ  so glad it can now finally sit in my collection πŸ™‚ And it’s beautifully packaged, so well worth the purchase. Many thanks go to webmaster Benjamin Sheen and director Edward Higginbottom who offered help when I wasn’t able to purchase the CD online via a credit card. But here it is, and my first impression is: spectacular, festive, joyful!

The other nice choir related item in my mailbox was the application form to be a Friend of the Roden Boys Choir, my 2nd favourite choir after Libera πŸ˜€ In return for an annual donation I get 1 free CD, 4 newsletters a year and reduction on CD prices. But what was even better was that they included a full colour magazine dedicated to 25 years Roden Boys Choir 1985 -2010! So I have some lovely reading to look forward to (maybe while listening to my new Monteverdi CD ;)).