Festival of Chichester: new era for ensemble

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The Consort of Twelve return to this year’s Festival of Chichester as they continue to rebuild after the departure of their founder.

As spokeswoman Lynden Cranham explains: “In May the Consort of Twelve gave a very successful concert at St John’s, the Consort’s first performance of the 2017 season. More significantly, though, it was the first since the orchestra’s founder Ian Graham-Jones moved away from the area. Ian had been gradually handing over much of the back-stage organisation to the committee (there are six of us), and for this concert we were fully responsible for the running of the Consort.

“For months before we arranged concert/rehearsal venues, booked players, fixed leaders, discussed programmes and publicity, obtained the music etc. We all have tales to tell about the steep learning curve! For example, as the new librarian, I found that the preparation of the music took an immensely-long time: and when I was finally putting all this music round on the stands (in the minutes before the first rehearsal), I was hoping I’d made correct calculations about the numbers of parts needed for each piece – especially for the one so difficult to read that each musician had to have an individual copy. After all our hard work, actually playing the concert seemed to be the easy part! Afterwards we felt such a sense of achievement and great enthusiasm for our future concerts.”

Their Festival of Chichester concert is in St Paul’s Church, Chichester, at 6pm on Sunday, July 9: “We’re very pleased that we’ll be recreating a successful combination from two years ago: the New London Singers are returning, and we’ll be directed by the internationally-acclaimed violinist Catherine (Cat) Mackintosh. The concert is called Sacred and Bizarre: Choral and Orchestral Works from Three Great German Baroque Masters. One of these masters is Telemann as we’re marking the 250th anniversary of his death this year with works by him in all of our concerts. As its title suggests, the programme will be one of contrasts.

“The evening begins dramatically, with Telemann’s orchestral suite La Bizarre. This will be followed by arrangements that Cat has made of two Fugues from Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier. At various points during the programme the choir will be singing Telemann, Schütz and Bach, and there’ll be a further contrast when violinist Sara Deborah Struntz plays the well-known violin concerto in E major by Bach.”

Tickets from the Novium, Tower Street, Chichester PO19 1QH (01243 775888); Chichester Office Supplies, 4 Crane Street, Chichester; or by post from 02392 214494.

“Looking to the future, on September 10, the Consort will be giving a special charity concert in Bosham Church, in aid of a very worthy cause, the Royal Society of Musicians. Julia Bishop will direct.”

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