How very remiss of me, I've just realised I haven't publicised any of the Christmassy type stuff in which I'm involved this year. So here goes.
Sunday 13th December
Tonight at 6.30pm in Hyndland Parish Church at 79-81 Hyndland Road in Glasgow, there will be a carol service in which Glasgow Chamber Choir is taking part. In addition to GCC, there'll also be around 70 primary school children whose teacher is a member of GCC and they'll be singing some stuff on their own.
Also tonight St Mary's Cathedral in Glasgow has their regular Choral Evensong at 6.30pm. This isn't specifically a Christmas event, obviously, but is well worth mentioning because the introit they'll be singing is Jesus Christ the Apple Tree, an outstandingly lovely piece by Elizabeth Poston. Last year's performance of it in the Cathedral caused shivers in the spine when the sopranos sang their "solo" start and ending incredibly beautifully and tenderly, and I would expect tonight to be the same. Not that they don't normally sing beautifully, lest I get pelters from any of them for mentioning it as though it was out of the ordinary! The other music is by Orlando Gibbons, Thomas Ebdon, Tomas Luis da Victoria, and JS Bach. Anyway, I won't be singing Evensong tonight as I'll be in Hyndland with GCC.
Sunday 20th December
Next Sunday Glasgow Chamber Choir will be singing in the Usher Hall in Edinburgh at 3pm in the annual Christmas Classics - A Grand Christmas Gala extravaganza put on by the music entrepreneur Raymond Gubbay. It's not our own concert, which is good because we have no organising or selling of tickets for it, and we are effectively the main "chorus" along with the NYCoS Edinburgh Area Choir, the Scottish Concert Orchestra, and the tenor Iain Paton and trumpeter Mark O'Keefe, all conducted by Robert Howarth. Oh and we get paid for doing it, obviously. Not as individuals (lest a representative from Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs is reading this) but into choir funds. Tickets range from £13.50 to £30.
That night the Christmas Carol Concert at St Mary's Cathedral will take place at 6.30pm, and music includes The Lamb (John Tavener), Where riches is everlastingly (Bob Chilcott), Hail, happy morn (F. Walker), Cantemos a Maria (Dominican Republic traditional), Eg vil lofa eina þá (Bára Grímsdóttir), In the bleak mid-winter (Darke), and God to Adam came in Eden (John Barnard). Quite an eclectic selection and I'm sorry to be missing singing in it at least partially because having learned the Bára Grímsdóttir piece a couple of years ago it gives me a sense of smug satisfaction to sing in Icelandic even if I have no clue what the words mean!
Monday 21st December
Glasgow Chamber Choir will be doing it all again in the Raymond Gubbay Carols and Classics concert in the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow at 7.30pm, this time with the NYCoS Falkirk Area Choir instead of the Edinburgh one, but everything else is the same. Tickets range from £17 to £29.50 for this one.
Much more importantly though, before the Monday evening concert, that afternoon between 1pm - 2pm you can hear a much less grand but no less worthy rendition of traditional carols in aid of Save the Children. This will take place inside the Royal Bank of Scotland branch at 10 Gordon St, Glasgow G1 3PL. Taking part will be a modest number of singers (four to be exact) including yours truly, and this will be the inaugural (and possibly only) public performance by The New Quartet which was "founded" earlier this year with the twin purposes of singing and socialising! So if you're in Glasgow city centre on Monday 21st December at lunchtime, please pop in to the bank (it's next to the TGI Friday which is on the corner of Buchanan Street and Gordon Street) and show your support for this worthy charity and for the four members of The New Quartet. And on the subject of the RBoS, they have received a hell of a lot of largely deserved bad press recently, but they actually offer an awful lot of support to charities, almost all behind the scenes and almost all unreported and unrecognised. So all credit to them for that.
Thursday 24th December
On Christmas Eve Choral Eucharist (aka the Midnight Service) will take place in St Mary's Cathedral at 11.15pm and the setting is the Festival Missa Brevis by Frikki Walker, who is the Director of Music at St Mary's Cathedral and also of RSCM Scottish Voices amongst others. The anthem is the hauntingly good O Magnum Mysterium by Morten Lauridsen who is one of the increasingly famous and popular group of American contemporary composers which also includes Eric Whitacre. I've sung O Magnum Mysterium a few times before, and also his larger scale piece Lux Aeterna, and if you haven't heard his style of music before you should make an effort to, because it's worth it. As is Whitacre's. And that's high praise from someone who generally dismisses much of what has been written since the 17th century!
Friday 25th December
Finally, well as far as Christmas stuff goes, Sung Eucharist will take place at 10.30am on Christmas Day in St Mary's Cathedral, and the setting is by Proulx & MacMillan, with other music being Cantemos a Maria (Dominican Republic traditional), and Hail, happy morn (F. Walker).
And then ....
And then begins a short break from singing. Well, a week anyway! The Cathedral choir gets back in harness on Sunday 3rd January 2010, and Glasgow Chamber Choir starts rehearsing on Thursday 14th January for our next concert of British Classics which is on Saturday 20th March 2010 in St Mary's Cathedral in Glasgow (small world!) and Sunday 21st March 2010 in St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh, and music includes:
William Walton (1902-1983) - Coronation Te Deum; The Twelve
Jonathan Harvey (b. 1939) - Come, Holy Ghost; I love the Lord
Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625) - O clap your hands; Drop, drop slow tears
No doubt further adverts will appear before that though!
Other music things? Well RSCM Scottish Voices will next meet on Saturday 16th January to sing a service in St Mary's Parish Church in Haddington, just east of Edinburgh. Keep an eye on our Blog for more details of all our services, and of what to do if you feel you'd like to audition for the choir.