John Rutter, the legendary composer and conductor of choral music, came to lead a Singing Day at The Minster School, Southwell, on Saturday at the invitation of the Bingham and District Choral Society. Judith Unell, Publicity Officer for the choir, says, ‘We just couldn’t believe our luck when John agreed to do this for us because he has such an incredibly busy schedule of international commitments. We feel very honoured’ The Singing Day was widely advertised and quickly sold out with more than 300 people attending. Four young members of the Minster Girls’ Choir helped ensure that things ran smoothly on the day and also took the opportunity to pose for a photo with John.
His exuberant and warm personality enabled everyone to relax and experience the joy of singing, but also to benefit from his immense knowledge of vocal technique. There were plenty of highly entertaining anecdotes too, drawn from his rich musical career. The choice of musical pieces ranged from the poignant and delicate ‘Who is Silvia’ by British composer George Shearing to the storming adaptation by John himself of `When the Saints go Marching In’ at the end of an uplifting, entertaining and unforgettable day.
“It was a real privilege to have the chance to sing with John Rutter; he is a superb facilitator and raconteur as well as an outstanding musician, and he is so right that people rarely get the chance just to sing good music, not prepare for a performance! His suggestions for improvement were so well paced and mostly limited to the morning when we could all expect to be fresher. And the Hallelujah chorus after lunch is the best solution I’ve come across to what I have usually heard described as ‘the graveyard slot’!”
“I am dropping you a note to say thank you to you and to everyone in the Bingham Choral Society for organising the wonderful day we all enjoyed so much last Saturday. I have sung many Rutter works over the years including his Gloria and Requiem but had never had the opportunity to experience working with him or to be able to thank him for the joy he has given. Sadly, my husband died at the end of July last year and I chose The Lord Bless You and Keep You as the choir anthem for his funeral, it was very special and very poignant when we sang it on Saturday.”
“Just a note to say thank you to all concerned for the John Rutter singing day on Saturday. It was a wonderful day when if we weren’t singing we were smiling. So uplifting!
The whole choir was very sad to hear of Tony Goldstone’s death, on January 2nd. Tony and his wife and duettist partner Caroline Clemmow had become our firm friends and musical collaborators over a number of years, and our thoughts and sympathies go out to Caroline.
Anthony Goldstone was born in Liverpool in 1944. His family moved to Manchester where he attended Manchester Grammar School. He studied piano at the Royal Manchester School of Music, and continued with Maria Curcio, who had been a pupil of the legendary Artur Schnabel. Tony enjoyed early success, appearing at the Last Night of the Proms in 1976, playing an early Britten work for left hand piano and orchestra. After the concert was broadcast, the composer wrote to him, ‘Thank you most sincerely for that brilliant performance of my Diversions.’
Tony and Caroline began playing together in 1984, quickly having great success, and they married in 1989. There is a surprisingly large repertoire of music, better known in other formats, which has been arranged for either piano duet or two pianos. Tony added extensively to this by making many of his own arrangements. Their discography includes over twenty CDs, with music by a full range of composers from Mozart to the present day. Last December they issued a disc of Vaughan Williams arrangements, including his Symphony No. 5 and the Tallis Fantasia, that is especially recommended (Albion Records ALBCD031).
Tony and Caroline lived near Scunthorpe, and it was through Neville Ward’s work with Scunthorpe Choral Society that they came to the notice of the Bingham Choir. In 2006 they played with us in a concert of music by John Rutter, Bob Chilcott and George Gershwin, with Neville conducting. We repeated that programme in autumn 2015, when it became the first concert that Guy Turner conducted on becoming our Musical Director in succession to Neville. It was a great success and the joy given to the audience by some additional duets that Caroline and Tony played was duly noted. We therefore invited them to give us a complete concert of duets.
That concert took place last September, before a packed audience in Bingham Church. One of the highlights of a spellbinding evening was the second half wholly devoted to Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the animals, with the poems of John Lithgow narrated by Guy Turner. Sadly, that wonderful concert was to be one of Tony Goldstone’s last public performances.
The Choir promoted a concert by the acclaimed duettists Anthony Goldstone and Caroline Clemmow pictured left at the piano. A packed Bingham Parish Church heard a programme which in the first half had music by Schubert: Marche Militaire No. 1 and variations from the Trout Quintet, Rimsky-Korsakov: Scherezade and Vincent Youmans: Tea for two. The second half was devoted to Tony Goldstone’s own arrangement for piano duet of Saint Saens’ Carnival of the animals. Poems written to accompany the work by American actor John Lithgow were performed by Guy Turner, our Musical Director (pictured on the right.) Many people feel that Lithgow’s poems are better than those written by Ogden Nash. As an encore, Tony and Caroline played a short work by English composer Eric Thiman (1900 – 1975), whose archive is held at Southwell Minster and administrated by Guy Turner.
An extensive range of discs by the Goldstone-Clemmow duo can be found at (Link) and their future concerts will include a performance of Brahms’ German Requiem with the Choir.
With about forty CDs to their credit and a busy concert schedule stretching back more than thirty years, the British piano duo Goldstone and Clemmow is firmly established as a leading force. Described by Gramophone as ‘a dazzling husband and wife team’, by International Record Review as ‘a British institution in the best sense of the word’, and by The Herald, Glasgow, as ‘the UK’s pre-eminent two-piano team’, internationally known artists Anthony Goldstone and Caroline Clemmow formed their duo in 1984 and married in 1989.
Their extremely diverse activities in two-piano and piano-duet recitals and double concertos, taking in major festivals, have sent them all over the British Isles as well as to Europe, the Middle East and several times to the U.S.A., where they have received standing ovations and such press accolades as ‘revelations such as this are rare in the concert hall these days’ (Charleston Post and Courier). In their refreshingly presented concerts they mix famous masterpieces and fascinating rarities, which they frequently unearth themselves, into absorbing and hugely entertaining programmes; their numerous B.B.C. broadcasts have often included first hearings of unjustly neglected works, and their equally enterprising and acclaimed commercial recordings include many world premières.
Having presented the complete duets of Mozart for the bicentenary, they decided to accept the much greater challenge of performing the vast quantity of music written by Schubert specifically for four hands at one piano. This they have repeated several times in mammoth seven-concert cycles, probably a world first in their completeness (including works not found in the collected edition) and original recital format. The Musical Times wrote of this venture: ‘The Goldstone/Clemmow performances invited one superlative after another.’
The complete cycle (as a rare bonus including as encores Schumann’s eight Schubert- inspired Polonaises) was recorded on seven CDs, ‘haunted with the spirit of Schubert’ – Luister, The Netherlands.
When Bingham and District Choral Society and Southwell Choral Society performed their joint concert of French music in the beautiful venue of Southwell Minster last weekend (7th May 2016), they were supported by a wealth of local talent. Each of the soloists performing with the choirs has strong links to the area. Abigail Broughton sang the solo soprano part in Poulenc’s Gloria, while baritone Stephen Cooper and treble Alfie Smith were soloists in the Fauré Requiem. Roger Bryan performed the Poulenc Organ Concerto.
Abigail Broughton was born in Sutton-in-Ashfield and began singing when she was six. She attended the Minster School in Southwell and also became a principal soloist in the Cantamus Girls’ Choir before winning the title of Nottingham Young Musician of the year in 2009. Since then, she has continued to scale new heights. She graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in 2015 with a First Class Honours degree and is currently enrolled on the Master of Arts course. Equally at home on the stage or in the recital room, Abigail is developing an impressive career at home and abroad. She made her Aldeburgh Festival debut in 2014 and has performed in a number of concert venues in the UK. Last year she undertook a tour of concerts in Boston, New York, Leipzig and London in collaboration with the Juilliard School under the baton of Masaaki Suzuki.
Stephen Cooper also has close links with Southwell Minster, where he is an Auxiliary Lay Clerk. He is a member of Nottingham Bach Choir and frequently takes solo roles in its concerts, including Christus in Bach’s St Matthew Passion at the Minster in 2012 and baritone soloist in Brahms’ German Requiem in 2013. In July this year, Stephen and his father John will be marking the centenary of the the Battle of The Somme in a Friday lunchtime recital at the Minster, to include songs by George Butterworth, who died at The Somme in August 1916.
Alfie Smith, treble, is a pupil of Minster School and a chorister at the Minster.
Organ soloist Roger Bryan, who lives and works in Newark, has had a distinguished career as a recitalist at home and abroad, performing with many leading orchestras. He has made an enormous contribution to musical life in the region. From 1992 until 2009, Roger was Master of the Song School at Newark. He was also for several years Musical Director of the Lincoln Chorale, Lincolnshire’s well-established chamber orchestra. He is currently Musical Director of Newark Choral Society and also of the Trent Chamber Academy, based on Newark’s internationally famous School of Violin Making. He was for many years the accompanist to the Bingham and District Choral Society, retiring from that role last year. Roger also has a considerable reputation as a choir trainer, conductor and teacher.
With such a strong team of soloists and two fine choirs drawn from local communities, the concert filled the Minster with a glorious sound. The conductor was Guy Turner, who is Music Director of Bingham and District Choral Society and also a Lay Clerk at Southwell Minster.
We have had two enjoyable and successful events this Spring Term: the Choral Workshop on 13th February 2016, led by Guy Turner, with Ed Turner accompanying, was well attended, and made a profit of about £450. Some of Guy’s Songs and Legends of Robin Hood was sung, and also some items from ‘European Choral Music’.
An Evening of Comic Songs, again with Guy and Ed, filled Colston Bassett Village Hall to capacity on 5th March 2016. A light supper was served, the bar was kept busy, the raffle was popular, and Guy provided a relaxed and amusing programme of material. A profit of about £1100 was made.
Neville Ward (right) and Guy Turner exchange a warm handshake at a concert given by the Bingham and District Choral Society at St Mary’s Church, Radcliffe-upon-Trent on 21st November 2015.
Neville formed the choir in 1972 and continued as its Musical Director until his retirement this year, when Guy was appointed to take on this role. Guy is holding a copy of his settings of Three Poems by W.B. Yeats, which he composed at the request of the choir as a tribute to Neville’s outstanding leadership over 43 years. The work was given its World Première at the concert, to the delight of the audience and to Neville in particular, who commented,
They are so skilfully composed and show such a sensitive and expressive response to the text. They will certainly provide a valuable addition to the choir’s repertoire and we feel privileged to have been present at their first public performance.’
Harriet Astbury graduated from the University of Huddersfield with First Class Honours in Music and was awarded the Music Department Singing Prize. Harriet is a former member and soloist of the internationally renowned Cantamus Girls’ Choir and pupil of Pamela Cook MBE. During her 10 years as a member of the choir, Harriet performed extensively in Europe and Asia participating in international concerts and competitions. Some of these include the Maasmechelen Music Festival in Belgium, European Choir Games in Austria and The Voyage of Song competition in Malaysia and Singapore. She has also performed with the choir at St David’s Hall, Cardiff and at the BBC Proms at The Royal Albert Hall.
As part of a small ensemble, Harriet has performed operatic scenes of Mozart, Verdi and Bizet and was featured as a soloist on a broadcast for BBC Radio 3 as part of the University of Huddersfield Chamber Choir. She also holds the Michael Peake award for Outstanding Oratorio Performance. Harriet’s recent solo performances include Vivaldi’s Gloria, Haydn’s Little Organ and Maria Theresa Masses. Past performances include the works of Finzi, Faure, Britten and Mozart.