Friday, 12 March 2010

Valentine Singers tour to Amiens

Find the details of the Tour Concerts on our website

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Songs & Sonnets review

From Redbridge Recorder 11.3.10

Delightful songs and sonnets

THE VALENTINE Singers, under their conductor Christine Gwynn, gave a delightful programme of Songs and Sonnets on Saturday at Barnardo's Church, Barkingside.

The packed audience was promised music and poetry "from robust drinking chorus to tender love Iyric, from spoken words to songs without words".

The performance of the opening Tourdion, a popular dance from 1530 by Pierre Attaingnant, set feet tapping with its colourful drone effects, lively rhythms and fine blend of voices.

Central to this half of the programme were two sets of pieces by Mendelssohn.

Five of his Chorlieder were sung, with the men of the choir in particular sounding full, rich and exciting.

It was unusual and interesting to have the translations of the poetry involved spoken before the actual performances.

Tim Smith, the choir's expert accompanist, played several of the songs without words with his customary technical brilliance and fine musicianship.

The second half of the evening opened with a splendid and novel arrangement of Schubert's To Sylvia, followed by a most enjoyable Sweet Tea by Charles Beale.

We were then treated to Songs and Sonnets from Shakespeare, a series of pieces for choir, jazz piano and bass, composed by the legendary blind jazz pianist, George Shearing.

This mix of witty and tender music, with its fresh and youthful sound, is a homage to two remarkable Englishmen, and it became very evident just how much the Valentine Singers enjoyed these part songs.

Bass player Paul Bartels joined pianist Tim Smith.

During the evening, there were many contributions from within the choir providing narration and readings, although the acoustics made difficulty for some members of the audience to hear clearly.

Tim Smith performed the famous Listz Liebestraum early on in the programme, and later, two of the Gershwin song transcriptions for piano were superbly played.

Christine Gwynn expertly guided this excellent choir throughout.


Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Electric Upright Bass

Many people asked about Paul's amazing bass on Saturday. Find out more here!