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21st September 2019

“Saint Nicolas” at Ipswich School


As part of the Britten Centenary Celebrations, Ipswich Choral Society presents ‘Saint Nicolas’ at Ipswich School on Sunday 17th November at 3pm, conducted by their Music Director, Stephen Rumsey. The concert also includes the world premiere of part of a newly commissioned work by renowned composer Stevie Wishart.

choralFirst performed at the Aldeburgh Festival in 1948, Britten’s cantata focuses on the life of Saint Nicolas, patron-saint of children and sailors and Bishop of Myra during the fourth century. Ipswich Choral Society are joined by local tenor Richard Edgar-Wilson performing the role of the saint with choristers from St Mary-le-Tower as the pickled boys.

The wide skies and flatlands of the Suffolk landscape inspired the new work by Stevie Wishart, written as a homage to Benjamin Britten, a past President of the Society. The text for two songs has been provided by Dr. Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury.

A legacy bequeathed to the Ipswich Choral Society from Judith Hawkshaw has been used for the commission. Judith was an active member of the Society for many years and would be thrilled that her gift to the choir was being put to such creative use. Particularly as Benjamin Britten was a former President of Ipswich Choral Society and also nephew of a past conductor of the choir.

Stevie Wishart was delighted to receive the new commission in honour of Benjamin Britten. “Britten has been very important in the formation of my own musical language. Growing up in East Anglia I attended master-classes at Snape. A genius at setting the English language and like myself, relishes English dialects and harks back to Chaucerian medieval English. But for all that, is thoroughly modern and pioneering.”

The concert programme also includes two pieces by Purcell, a composer who inspired Britten. “Come ye Sons of Art” was composed as an Ode for the occasion of Queen Mary’s birthday in 1694 and is one of many that Purcell wrote for courtly or ceremonial events. Soloists Fran Burn (Contralto), Chris Burn (Counter-tenor) and Tom Ping (Bass) will join the choir for this piece. A local orchestral group will also be performing Purcell’s Chacony in G minor.
As usual interval refreshments will be available in the form of delicious cakes and other home-made goodies, provided by Creative Cooks.

To book tickets contact the Box Office on 01473 738324 or visit the website: www.ipswichchoralsociety.org for more details

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