5.6.17

The notebooks of Anna Magdalena Bach

Saturday 17 June, 7:30pm
Click here for tickets: £11 in advance (£12.50 on the door)

In 1725 Johann Sebastian Bach was two years into his post as kappelmeister in Leipzig and had been married to his second wife, Anna Magdalena, for four years.  Anna Magdalena was the daughter of J C Wilcke, court and field trumpeter at Weissenfels, and a fine singer in her own right.  She was of huge assistance to her husband, looking after his children (four had survived from his first marriage) and helping him copy out parts for performances.

Two collections of music survive in her hand designed for her private music-making. Much of the music is charming verse songs written by others and presumably used by Anna Magdalena for teaching and her own entertainment, but the notebooks also contain early workings of pieces by Johann Sebastien, later to be taken and created into great works in their own right.  

This programme, based around the 1725 notebook of Anna Magdalena offers a charming view to the more domestic side of the Bach household. Kate and Steven will perform sequences of short songs and preludes interspersed with longer pieces including ‘Ich habe genug’ and ‘Schlummert Ein’ as well as solo harpsichord music from the French Suites. 

Kate Semmens is a soloist with many leading groups and opera companies, and has sung with some of the UK's finest choirs with conductors including Sir John Elliot Gardiner, Paul McCreesh, John Butt and Eric Whitacre.  Her opera performances have included Cupid (Venus and Adonis), Mycene (Isis), Suzanna (Le Nozze de Cherubino), and Mrs P (The Man who mistook his wife for a hat). Kate is a regular performer for New Chamber Opera, with whom performances include Galatea (Acis and Galatea), Second Woman (Dido and Aeneas), Orgando (Amadigi), Atalanta (Xerxes), Semira (Artaxerxes). She was the title role in Mozart's 'Il Re Pastore' and most recently played Asteria in Handel's 'Tamerlano'. She created the role of Euridice in Caldwells' The Story of Orpheus.  Of her Ciro, in their production of Stradella's Il Trespolo Tutore, Opera Magazine wrote "the clarity and charm of Kate Semmens' soprano was dissarming".

Steven Devine enjoys a busy career as a music director and keyboard player working with some of the finest musicians. Since 2007 Steven has been the harpsichordist with London Baroque in addition to his position as Co-Principal keyboard player with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. He is also the principal keyboard player for The Gonzaga Band, Apollo and Pan, The Classical Opera Company and performs regularly with many other groups around Europe.

He has recorded over thirty discs with other artists and ensembles and made six solo recordings. His recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations (Chandos Records) has been received critical acclaim - including Gramophone magazine describing it as "among the best".

Kate and Steven have been giving day workshops for Early Music Fora across the country based on Restoration Music in the church and on the stage 'The secrets of our hearts' and also based around the music created for the Pleasure Gardens of London.

Their recording of the Notebooks of Anna Magdalena Bach is available from www.devinemusic.co.uk.

29.5.17

Anna Magdalena Bach

In 1725 Johann Sebastian Bach was two years into his post as kappelmeister in Leipzig and had been married to his second wife, Anna Magdalena, for four years.  Anna Magdalena was the daughter of J C Wilcke, court and field trumpeter at Weissenfels, and a fine singer in her own right.  She was of huge assistance to her husband, looking after his children (four had survived from his first marriage) and helping him copy out parts for performances.

Two collections of music survive in her hand designed for her private music-making. Much of the music is charming verse songs written by others and presumably used by Anna Magdalena for teaching and her own entertainment, but the notebooks also contain early workings of pieces by Johann Sebastien, later to be taken and created into great works in their own right.   This programme, based around the 1725 notebook of Anna Magdalena offers a charming view to the more domestic side of the Bach household. Kate and Steven will perform sequences of short songs and preludes interspersed with longer pieces including ‘Ich habe genug’ and ‘Schlummert Ein’ as well as solo harpsichord music from the French Suites. 

Find out more on 17 June! Kate Semmens (soprano) and Steven Devine (harpsichord) present a concert including music from the notebooks of Anna Magdalena Bach.

1.5.17

Mediterraneo: the inland sea

Saturday 27 May, 7:30pm

This is a musical evening full of sunshine and salt water; the programme wanders through the varied cultures of the Mediterranean Sea, taking in mediaeval Spanish ballads, Greek songs of the Islands and Asia Minor, Italian lute songs and madrigals, instrumental music of the Renaissance, the Arab lands and the Ottoman Empire, romantic songs from the Bay of Naples and the music of the exiled Sephardi Jews.

Italian singer Alessandra Testai is accompanied by Robin Jeffrey on the lute and its eastern relatives, the Arabian oud and Greek laouto, on the Spanish and Baroque guitar, and hand percussion.

Click here for ticket information, available in advance at £11 (£12.50 on the door). No charge for under-18s.

Alessandra was born in the port city of Livorno, Tuscany. She began her singing studies at the age of 16 at Liceo Musicale Pietro Mascagni, subsequently attending the University of Pisa. She continued her singing studies in London at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Alessandra has her musical roots in the varied traditions of Italian song – opera, classical recital repertoire and the popular songs of the street and countryside. She has sung as a soloist in opera and oratorio in several international festivals throughout Europe; roles include Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro (Cortona, Italy), Eve and Gabriel in Haydn’s Creation (Cyprus) and various roles in Cavalieri’s Rappresentazione di Anima e di Corpo (La Chaise-Dieu, France, and Southwark Festival, London), Purcell’s The Fairy Queen, The Island Princess and Dido and Aeneas, Monteverdi’s Orfeo and Cimarosa’s  Amor Rende Sagace.

Robin Jeffrey studied at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge and the Royal College of Music. A versatile performer on instruments of the lute and guitar families, he has played and recorded with many of the well-known names in the early music field, including The Sixteen, The King’s Consort, the Purcell Quartet and Red Byrd.

15.4.17

Let us garlands bring

Saturday 29 April, 7:30pm

This entrancing recital is the perfect way to celebrate the spring and Shakespeare’s birthday.

It's rich programme of English music is presented by Cambridge-based duo, Rachel Godsill and Marie-Noelle Kendall. You’ll hear settings of poems by Shakespeare, whose birthday falls this week, as well as music by Britten and Elgar.

Click here to reserve your tickets at £11 (advance price - they are £12.50 on the door). Under-18s are admitted for free.

Rachel Godsill is much in demand as a soprano, and has worked with, amongst others, Richard Hickox, Simon Rattle and Roger Norrington, working with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Schutz Choir and Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Her oratorio repertoire spans Bach and Handel through Mozart and Rossini to Tippett and Orff. Her travels have taken her as far afield as China for performances of Handel's Messiah with the Academy of Ancient Music.

Marie-Noelle Kendall studied at the Liszt Academy in Budapest, and since being a finalist in the BBC Young Musician of the Year she has played at the major London venues including the Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Fairfield Halls, St.John's Smith Square and the Wigmore Hall. She has given concerts in the UK with the Philharmonia, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, London Soloists Chamber Orchestra, Manchester Camerata, Birmingham Ensemble, Cardiff Philharmonic and with several ABC orchestras in Australia.

The programme includes:
Let us Garlands Bring (Finzi)
Two Elizabethan songs (Gurney)
Four Shakespeare songs (Cecilia McDowall)
On this Island (Britten)
and songs by Elgar.

25.3.17

Spring series of Song

Between April and June we present a short series of contrasting recitals, with three wonderful sopranos. Ticket information here.


17.2.17

Imperial Male Voice Choir

Saturday 25 March, 7:30pm

The internationally acclaimed Imperial Male Voice Choir (IMVC), conducted by Deborah Miles-Johnson, will join South London’s Hasty Nymphs for this Mothering Sunday weekend concert.

Originating from Imperial College, London, the Imperial Male Voice Choir is a friendly group of over 30 men who meet to rehearse, perform concerts, occasionally enter singing festivals and tour overseas, raising money for good causes along the way. They celebrate their 40th anniversary this year with concert on 24 June at the Cadogan Hall in central London.

The Hasty Nymphs are a parlour choir based in South London who get together to sing and eat biscuits. They regularly perform at local events and celebrations, including at cafes, launches, festivals, and retirement home teas. They sing "whatever gladdens our hearts, from early music to Gershwin, Broadway to soul, and usually a capella".

Tickets available from www.ticketsource.co.uk/imvc

23.12.16

Looking forward to 2017

In another busy and successful year for Music at King Charles, in 2016 we were entertained by the Chelys Viol Ensemble, the Temenos Chamber Choir, the ESK Wind Ensemble, the Orpheus Male Voice Choir, the King Charles Singers, Ellen Smith, Alex Metcalfe, the Archaeus Quartet, Christopher Sayles, Michael Bacon and James McVinnie.

What does 2017 have in store?

Plans are being made for a series of song recitals in the spring, and a further series of chamber music concerts in the autumn. We hope to work again with our friends at the Tunbridge Wells International Music Festival and Merry Opera.

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We welcome any suggestions for repertoire, performers or programme ideas and we are always looking for volunteers to assist at concerts, either with publicity or helping on the day Do get in touch if you would be interested in helping out.

Contact kcmconcerts@blueyonder.co.uk
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We wish all of our supporters and friends a very Happy Christmas and fulfilling New Year.

23.11.16

Michael Bacon: Organ Recital

Saturday 16 November, 7:30pm

Marking Max Reger's centenary. Programme includes Reger's 'Halleluja! Gott zu Loben', Chorale Preludes by Bach and new pieces from The Orgelbuchlein Project, together with music by Howells and Bridge.

Free admission. Retiring collection.

Michael Bacon read Music at Liverpool University, where he studied the organ with Terence Duffy, Organist of the Metropolitan Cathedral. Subsequently taking lessons with Thomas Trotter and Anne Marsden, he was for ten years Director of Music at King Charles the Martyr, where his performance of Olivier Messiaen’s Nativité du Seigneur was a feature of the Christmas celebrations. He is now Principal Organist at King Charles, and has given many recitals at the church and elsewhere, notably two concerts in France on Classical French organs in conjunction with the King Charles Singers, and as accompanist of that choir he has also become accepted to play for Evensongs at Westminster Abbey - a carefully guarded honour! In November 2013 he concluded a journey through the complete Bach organ works, having played all 300+ pieces at concerts or services. As a Sound Engineer for Radio 3, Michael has recently had particular responsibility for organ music, as well as specialising in recording early music performances.

10.11.16

Howells Requiem: 13 November

Sunday 13 November, 6:30pm
Evening Service for Remembrance Sunday
The King Charles Singers

Herbert Howells’ Requiem is a short work, composed in 1932 or 1933. Howells used elements of it for his Hymnus Paradisi, a much larger-scale work which he wrote in response to the death of his son Michael, aged nine, in 1935; but the Requiem itself remained unpublished until 1980, three years before the composer’s own death. The music and the choice of texts express a sense of deep sense of loss as well as hope. The climactic moments occur at ‘lux perpetua’. In the third movement, the words shimmer in chord clusters like light through stained glass. Then, in the fifth movement, the mood of solemnity is broken by a bright declamation, leading to a sense of utter peace in the final movement.
This is a church service and not a concert, but followers of Music at King Charles may be interested in attending. There is no charge for entry.