Introducing the 2019-20 season

from the Director of Music

It is a great privilege to have been appointed as the Nottingham Bach Choir’s seventh conductor, following Paul Hale’s exceptionally fruitful twenty-nine years in post.  I am greatly looking forward to starting work with this excellent choir, in an exciting 2019-20 season.

Two of Mozart’s greatest works make up the programme for our November concert:  The ‘Great’ Mass in C minor is one of Mozart’s finest liturgical works but tantalisingly, like the Requiem, was left unfinished. Lavishly scored for double choir and a large orchestra, the work combines Mozart’s devotion to the Baroque masters with his own inimitable melodic charm, including the sublime ‘Et incarnatus est’, first performed by Mozart’s new wife, Constanze shortly after their marriage in 1783. The Mass will be interspersed with movements from Mozart’s last (and longest) symphony. The “Jupiter” (a nickname stemming from its thunderbolt-like opening) is regarded as one of the greatest symphonies in the repertoire, full of mathematical symbolism and contrapuntal mastery.

Then in March, and the week that the Church celebrates the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Nottingham Bach Choir (along with a stellar line up of soloists) is delighted to return to the inspiring surroundings of Southwell Minster to present a programme of music devoted to this major feast in the Christian calendar.  Bach’s ever-popular and electrifying setting of the Magnificat will be preceded by one of his earliest cantatas, first performed on the Feast of the Annunciation in 1714.  The Nottingham Bach Players will also perform the thrilling Orchestral Suite in D major, with its famous second movement, later adapted to become “Air on a G string”.

In the Summer, we will present two of Benjamin Britten’s most popular and enduring works.  Though St Nicolas is today inextricably linked to the traditions of Christmas, the fantastical story of his life is anything but Christmassy, featuring shipwrecks, imprisonment, and even the resurrection of three boys pickled by a evil butcher!  Britten’s inspired music vividly paints each of these extraordinary pictures in a wonderful cantata originally written for Lancing College in 1948.  Christopher Smart’s text to Rejoice in the Lamb (famously written whilst the author was committed to an asylum) describes the worship of God by all creation – human beings and their musical instruments, flowers, mice, and even “my cat Jeoffrey”.  The programme is completed by Elgar’s delightfully summery Serenade for Strings.  This concert will be held at the earlier time of 3.30pm, with tea and cake served during the interval.

Details of all these performances are found on the choir’s snazzy new website.  I do hope to see you at one or more of what I’m sure will be wonderful concerts – do come and introduce yourself to me!

Peter Siepmann