Friday, 18 November 2011

Royal Free Singers : Schubert and Swayne

November 26th, 2011, Windsor Parish Church

The Autumn Concert from the Royal Free Singers featured a modern work by Giles Swayne. Acclaimed by The Times as the finest choral composer writing today, Giles Swayne's Missa Tiburtina owes much to the experiences gained on his first visit to Africa in 1981, in particular an awareness of how the greed of the richer countries of the West was damaging Africa's environment and the culture and quality of life of ordinary Africans, a theme marked by the written verses which he uses to annotate the score. It is not a liturgical work, but gives a voice to the poor calling out for sanity to prevail.

The other main work in the programme was Miriam's Song of Victory by Schubert, a cantata based on the Israelites' hymn of praise and thanksgiving following their safe crossing of the Red Sea and the destruction of Pharaoh's army. The final item on the programme is the ‘Five Mystical Songs’ by Ralph Vaughan Williams, four meditative songs each with its own character, ending with a hymn of praise.

At this concert we raised more than £250 for the Save the Children Fund.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Royal Free Singers in Ireland, November 2011

St Mary's Church, Clonmel, Tipperary, was the venue for our Saturday evening concert when we visited Ireland for a weekend in November, and we sang for the mass on Sunday morning, too.

Some forty or so members of the choir came away with great memories. We all now understand why castle staircases are built the way they are, and our very entertaining guides for our castle visits told us much more besides. Particularly about sanitation!

Gavin's bar, where we met up with our host choir after the concert, offered the opportunity for even more Guinness (some of us had found places to sample the national brew earlier), ample portions of delicious dinners, and some excellent singing and dancing - thanks to you Linda C - to round off the evening. (Although some rounded it off again afterwards back at the hotel!)

It was a long way to Tipperary, but our hearts are still there!