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BCS - Concert Notes
BCS Next Concert

Concert Notes
Midsummer Light

3.00pm
20 June 2015

Prior Park College, Bath BA2 5AH

Knut Nystedt (1915 - 2014) Stabat Mater Op. 111 & Immortal Bach. Knut Nystedt was professor of music at Oslo university from 1965 to 1985. His Stabat Mater, written in 1986, has a pervasive cello accompaniment while the choral voices, chanting and tumbling down arpeggios give the impression of church bells ringing out.
Immortal Bach is an ingenious reworking of a simple Bach chorale. After the plain chorale is sung, five groups repeat the same music at different speeds and with different pauses between repeats. The resulting 'overlaps' and subtle clashes produce new sonorities through which the underlying beauty of the chorale is fully exposed: a simple idea resulting in a far-reaching effect.

J S Bach Cello suite in G major BWV 1007 & Lobet den Herrn (Psalm 117). The suite in G major is the first of six suites for unaccompanied cello by Bach, most likely composed during the period 1717–1720. The suites have been transcribed for numerous instruments, among them the marimba, the tuba, and even the ukulele!
Lobet den Herrn is the only surviving Bach motet written for four-part chorus. It begins with two fugal sections, which is to say, the different voices successively imitate each others' entries at different pitches. The third section is more hymn-like and the next develops into a climax with long held notes painting the word, 'forever'. The final section is a delightful dance-like 'Alleluia'.

Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943) Bogoroditsye Dyevo (Hail Mary) & Magnificat from Op. 37. These pieces are respectively Parts VI and XI of the composer's Vespers, from the all-night vigil ceremony of the Russian Orthodox church. Composed in 1915, they are among the last liturgical musical settings before religious suppression following the 1917 revolution meant that the works had to wait until the 1960s before becoming widely known.

Jean Sibelius (1865 - 1967) Rakastava Op.14 & Be Still My Soul. Rakastava is derived from one of the many ancient folk-tunes in the Finnish epic, Kalevala. The singer is searching for his lover (Eila?) who has disappeared. Whether they become reunited at the end is oddly uncertain.
The melody of Be Still My Soul will be familiar from the composer's tone-poem 'Finlandia'. It became a nationalistic hymn and has been set to many other lyrics, in several different languages. This choral version dates from 1941.

These are some highlights from our concert programme. For full details of all the works to be performed, please click here.


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