King Charles Festival Concert

Wed Your Divine Sounds
Songs to the lute from the time of the Stuarts

3pm on Sunday 27th January

As part of the King Charles Festival - a weekend commemorating the execution of Charles I on 30 January 1647 - we are delighted to host a programme of songs and lute music by William and Henry Lawes, John Jenkins, Nicholas Lanier, Claudio Monteverdi and Henry Purcell, featuring Giovanni Carissimi's passionate cantata "The Lament of Mary Stuart". 
The concert is presented by Etrusca: Alessandra Testai, soprano, and Robin Jeffrey, lutes.
Tickets: £12 on the door, or £10 in advance. Email kcmconcerts@blueyonder.co.uk or visit Hall's bookshop after 5th January. Under-18s are FREE.

"Blest pair of Sirens, pledges of heaven's joy,
Sphere-born harmonious Sisters, Voice and Verse,
Wed your divine sounds, and mixed power employ,
Dead things with inbreathed sense abe to pierce..."
John Milton, At a Solemn Musick


Third Annual Youth Music Showcase

Saturday 10 November sees Music at King Charles' third annual Youth Music Showcase, in which talented youngsters from the area have an opportunity to perform in the concert series. It's especially for those who might be considering taking their studies further than school, or those who are just moving on to university or music college. The event has proved most rewarding for all concerned, and inevitably involves an entertainingly diverse programme.

The concert starts at 7:30pm, tickets costing just £10 on the door.

Our final concert of the season is then the organ recital given by Jonathan Hagger, on 25 November at 5:30pm (free, with a retiring collection).


Duruflé's Requiem: Sunday 4 November

These notes are provided by Michael Bacon, who is the organist for a performance of Duruflé's Requiem at King Charles for All Soul's, this Sunday at 6:30pm. This is a devotional performance in the church's calendar, with no entry charge.
Maurice Duruflé (1902-1986) gained his love of organ music and Gregorian chant while he was a boy in the Cathedral Choir at Rouen. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire before becoming Charles Tournemire’s Assistant Organist at S. Clotilde and he also deputised for Louis Vierne at Notre Dame. In 1930 he was appointed Organist at S. Etienne-du-Mont in Paris, where he remained until his health was ruined in a serious car accident in 1975. Duruflé was Professor of Harmony of the Conservatoire from 1942-1969 and  in great demand as a solo virtuoso, touring Europe and the USA many times. As a composer he was highly self-critical and published very few pieces, every one a superbly written model of its kind.
Although he admired his more progressive contemporaries, such as Olivier Messiaen, Duruflé was an ‘innovative traditionalist’, using old forms and ideas and relatively conventional harmonies. Like most French organists, plainsong was the foundation of his style, and he would have spent many hours improvising on it during Mass.
The Requiem was written over three long holidays, while Duruflé spent time with his mother in Louvier after his father’s death in 1945. He had for many years been working on an idea for a set of pieces based on the plainsong for the Mass of the Dead, and it was while working on these that he gradually heard the vocal lines above them. The piece was published in 1947 in two versions: one using full orchestra and another with organ accompaniment (there is also a later version for smaller orchestra).
There are striking similarities with Fauré’s Requiem – a meditative piece which plays down more wrathful aspects (unlike Verdi, and his cataclysmic Dies Irae) – and both end with a very beautiful setting of the In Paradisum from the Burial Service.
‘My Requiem … is entirely composed on Gregorian themes from the Mass of the Dead. At times I have entirely followed the text, with the orchestral part only coming in to support or comment. At other places I have only used it as a guide, or even left it out altogether – as for example in the Domine Jesu Christe, the Sanctus and the Libera Me. As a general rule, I have above all tried to feel deeply the particular style of the Gregorian themes: and I have done my best to reconcile as far as possible the Gregorian rhythmic patterns, as fixed by the Benedictines of Solesmes, with the demands of the modern bar structure. As for the musical form of each of these pieces, it is generally inspired by the relevant liturgical form.


The Ensemble playing Schubert is The Schubert

On Saturday 13 October, in association with the Tunbridge Wells International Music Festival, we are thrilled to welcome the renowned Schubert Ensemble to King Charles.

Butler: American Rounds
Schumann: Piano Quartet
Schubert: Piano Quintet "The Trout"

"To say they play with seasoned eloquence, a unanimity of feeling born of deep communal consideration, is an understatement, for they demand superlatives."
Sunday Times Feb 2011

Tickets: £12.50 in advance from Hall's Bookshop, or box office 01342 851 168 (£15 on the door)

See details of Organ recitals, and all this season's concerts


Rosenkavalier waltzes at King Charles

In a change to the programme for tomorrow night's concert, Nathaniel Vallois and Charles Wiffen will now perform the following:

Sonata in G for violin and piano, op. 96 - Beethoven
Sonata in E flat, op. 81a, Les Adieux - Beethoven
Sonata in G minor - Claude Debussy
Walzer from Der Rosenkavalier - Richard Strauss (arr. Vasa Prihoda)
Spanish Songs - Joaquin Nin

This is a reprise of a recent concert they have staged, and it promises to be great fun!

7:30pm at King Charles the Martyr, TN1 1YX, Tickets £12 on the door or £10 from kcmconcerts@blueyonder.co.uk


Organ series 2012

Three organ recitals by some of the best local players, arranged by Michael Bacon. Each concert starts at 5:30pm and lasts 30-35 minutes. (The evening service follows at 6:30, for those wishing to stay on.)
There will be a retiring collection.

Sunday 23 September, 5:30pm
Andrew Hanley
Andrew Hanley studied music at Bristol University, specializing in 17th-century English music and organ performance. As an academic his work has appeared in several publications, including Dictionary of National Biography and New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. For his MA (Mus) he specialised in the music of a rather obscure 17th-century English composer, Richard Mico. Andrew has been a church organist since the age of 14, and is currently Director of Music at All Saints, Langton Green. By profession, he is a music publisher, currently head of publishing at Edition Peters - before this he worked for the publishing division of Boosey & Hawkes.
His programme will feature baroque, and baroque-influenced music, ranging from Bach to Langlais.

Sunday 28 October, 5:30pm
Luke Navin
Luke is a very promising young player, currently organ scholar at Worth School, Sussex, where he studies both organ and piano. He began learning the piano when he was seven years old and the organ four years later. He has played various concerts at school and elsewhere on piano and organ - a recent highlight being a performance of the Saint-Saëns Organ Symphony in Worth Abbey. His programme will include music by Bach, Vierne and Howells.

Sunday 25 November, 5:30pm
Jonathan Hagger
Jonathan Hagger, has been playing for services at KCM for more than 20 years, gained his ARCM under Richard Popplewell (St Michael's Cornhill and Chapel Royal). He and his wife Anne met when she joined his church choir when they lived in Essex. He has played organs as far apart as Sydney Town Hall and Washington Anglican Cathedral but his favourite instrument is St Sulpice in Paris where he met the celebrated organist Marcel Dupré on several occasions.
His programme will start with a festive section, which will include the popular March from Scipio by Handel. The second half will be more meditative and feature a Mozart clock piece originally unearthed by Gillian Weir and copied by hand for Jonathan, Messiaen's timeless Banquet Céleste, one of Dupré's vespers and the Pie Jesu from the Requiem by Fauré.


Archaeus Quartet open series

Archaeus Quartet 15 September, 7:30pm
Ann Hooley, Louise Bevan - violins
Elizabeth Turnball - viola, Martin Thomas - cello

“Deeply committed performance by the Archaeus Quartet”

-         The Independent

The Archaeus Quartet will be performing as part of the “Music at King Charles” Autumn Chamber Music Series on Saturday 15th September. This firmly established group will be playing a late work by Haydn, overflowing with melody and musical invention; a group of “Cypresses” by the youthful and impetuous Dvorak: love songs of the utmost tenderness; and the dramatic and exciting “Rasumovsky” op.59 no.2 by Beethoven. An evening’s music making not to be missed!

For booking information email kcmconcerts@blueyonder.co.uk
Tickets may also be purchased from Hall's Bookshop, Chapel Place
Details of all concerts here


Tickets from Hall's Bookshop

We're very grateful to Peter and all the staff at Hall's Bookshop for being a point of sale for tickets to Music at King Charles. You'll find Hall's right next to the church, so next time you are passing you will be able to pick up some tickets from there.

Otherwise, just email us at kcmconcerts@blueyonder.co.uk to place your order.

The next concert is on 15 September.
See: details of all this season's concerts.


Past performers

Looking back over the past few years, we're very proud of the array of talent involved in Music at King Charles. Here is a list of people who have performed here in the last six years.

Adriano Graziani  | Aiso Quartet  | Anthony Zerpa-Falcon  | Archduke Trio | Barbirolli Quartet | Cambridge Taverner Choir | Cantabile | Cellists of the RPO | Charles Wiffen | David Campbell | Daniel Tong | David Owen-Norris | David Maw | Decimus Consort | English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble | Gilfillan family | Greg Tassell | Guy Johnstone | Jamie McVinnie | Jane Gomm | Jennifer Snapes | Karina Lucas | Kate Semmens | Katie Stillman | Konevets Quartet | Ken Aiso | London Bridge Ensemble | Michael Bacon | Owen Rees | Paul Clark | Paul Jeffrey | Paul Guinery | Raphael Wallfisch | Richard Egarr | Roselyne Martel-Bonnal | Rose Trio | Sara Lois Cunningham | Sarah Stuart-Pennink | Sasha Grynyuk | Simon Lane | Sophia Lisovskaya | Steven Devine | Temenos Chamber Choir | Teresa Caudle | Unexpected Opera

This year's concerts promise to continue the tradition!


Booking open for Autumn series

Booking is now open for the Autumn concert series, 2012.

Four top chamber music concerts for just £35.
Three organ recitals with free entry and retiring collection.
The first concert is on 15 September.
Full concert details here

After celebrating the 400th anniversary of the death of Giovanni Gabrieli earlier this year, the Autumn series at Music at King Charles features a range of highly acclaimed chamber music specialists.  In 2011, the music series was honoured by the Tunbridge Wells International Music Festival with an award for its contribution to the musical life of the area, and we continue to work with the Festival, hosting their opening concert in October.

In this short season of concerts, we feature every number of performers from one to five: solo organists, duos, a piano trio, a string quartet and a piano quintet. We are very pleased to repeat our very successful Young Musicians' Showcase, for which we welcome the very best of the region’s young talent, providing a genuine performing opportunity for gifted youngsters, especially those who may be considering music as a career.

Booking for all four concerts in advance is £14 cheaper than paying on the door. To order tickets, email us at kcmconcerts@blueyonder.co.uk.


Autumn series 2012

Here are updated details of this autumn's series of chamber recitals. Start times are all 7:30pm.

Saturday 15 September
The Archaeus Quartet
Ann Hooley & Louise Bevan - violins
Elizabeth Turnbull - viola
Nick Roberts - cello
HAYDN Quartet op.76 no.5 in D
DVORAK Cypresses
BEETHOVEN Quartet op.59 no.2 "Razumovsky" in E minor

Formed in 1990, the Archaeus Quartet has performed in music clubs and arts centres throughout the UK, and at the Purcell Room and Wigmore Hall in London. The group has appeared at the Warwick, Greenwich, King’s Lynn and Wooburn Festivals as well as broadcasting live for Classic FM.

Saturday 29 September
The London Archduke Trio
Nathaniel Vallois - violin
Gabriella Swallow - cello
Charles Wiffen - piano

The London Archduke Trio collectively made their London debut at the Royal Academy of Music in 1996 playing Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, and since then have toured together as far afield as Israel and Africa. They have performed in many festivals nationwide and at London’s South Bank, and the Trio regularly coaches and performes at the Dartington International Summer School.

Saturday 13 October
The Schubert Ensemble (Tunbridge Wells International Music Festival)
MUSIC includes the famous TROUT QUINTET

Acclaimed worldwide, from Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw to America’s top venues, and among the world’s most admired exponents of music for piano and strings, the Ensemble has played in over 40 different countries. It has over 80 commissions to its name, has recorded over 30 critically acclaimed CDs.

Saturday 10 November
Youth Music Showcase Facebook page for this event
Come and hear the young stars of tomorrow. We welcome enquiries from anyone of around Grade 8 standard or above who would like to take part and gain some genuine performance experience.

There will also be organ recitals (details to be published soon), and a performance of Duruflé's Requiem on Sunday 4 November.

Email kcmconcerts@blueyonder.co.uk to be kept informed, or follow us.


Photos from 12 May

Pictures of the latest concert, Dies Natalis, with Greg Tassell singing and Anthony Zerpa-Falcon at the piano.


Dies Natalis

Saturday 12 May, 7:30pm
Dies Natalis: Music of the English Springtime
Greg Tassell, tenor
Anthony Zerpa-Falcon, piano
String orchestra led by Jane Gomm

Greg Tassell is a past winner of the John Kerr Award for English Song, and is quickly coming to nationwide prominence as an expert interpreter of English music. In this concert, we are very excited to be bringing Greg together with other well-known local artists for the first time.

The main work is the secular cantata Dies Natalis by the 20th century English composer Gerald Finzi, for tenor soloist and string orchestra. This is a tremendously evocative setting of texts by Thomas Traherne about the wonder of the natural world and the innocence of youth. Writing in the seventeenth century, Traherne was one of the second generation of 'Metaphysical' poets, after the better-known George Herbert and John Donne. His most famous lines seem to strike a chord with everyone who reads them, and are given special prominence in Finzi's setting: "I was a stranger, which at my entrance into the world was saluted and surrounded with innumerable joys; my knowledge was divine. I was entertain'd like an angel with the works of God in their splendour and glory... The corn was orient and immortal wheat, which never should be reap'd nor was ever sown. I thought it had stood from everlasting to everlasting."

Tickets for this concert are just £12 on the door, but you can also gain a discount by booking in advance. Simply email kcmconcerts@blueyonder.co.uk or visit Hall's Bookshop, next to the church.


Bach at King Charles, 5 May

There is nothing like programming music by Bach for focusing the attention. He provides I think the ultimate challenge for musicians. It is impossible to feel that the music has entirely been done justice in performance, but striving to do so is immensely rewarding.

Saturday 5 May, 7:30pm: The Decimus Consort of Voices
- J S Bach (attrib) "Ich lasse dich nicht", "O Jesu Christ, meins lebens Licht" and "Komm, Jesu, Komm"
- H Shütz, from Kliene geistliche Konzerte
- F Cavalli "Salve Regina"
- D Buxtehude "Quaemadmodum sicut cervus"
- G F Handel, arias from Ottone and L'Allegro

Kate Semmens, Caroline Preston Bell (sopranos)
Fergus McLusky, Toby Gee (altos)
Neil Thornton, Alex Churchill, Paul Bentley (tenors)
Keith Bryant, Toby Barrett (basses)
Rupert Preston Bell (director)
with Duncan Aspden (organ)

Tickets: in advance just £10 (£12 on the door). To book in advance, call in at Hall's Bookshop or email kcmconcerts@blueyonder.co.uk

The next concert is Dies Natalis on 12 May, with Greg Tassell, Anthony Zerpa-Falcon and string orchestra led by Jane Gomm.


Concerts in May

Here are advance details about our two concerts in May, 2012.

Saturday 5 May, 7:30pm
J S Bach: Komm, Jesu, Komm
The Decimus Consort of Voices perform some exciting solo and ensemble repertoire of the Baroque period, including one of Bach's challanging double-choir motets.

Saturday 12 May, 7:30pm
Dies Natalis: music of the English springtime
Greg Tassell (tenor) sings the wonderful song cycle by Gerald Finzi, accompanied by a string orchestra (leader, Jane Gomm). He will also be accompanied by Anthony Zerpa-Falcon in some English songs.

Tickets for each concert are available from kcmconcerts@blueyonder.co.uk or from 01892 547835, at £10 if purchased in advance and £12 on the door.


Thanks for a wonderful concert

Here are some pictures from the 'From Venice to Dresden' concert on 18 March, which was enthusiastically received by the audience.

"Congratulations on the concert last Sunday- an amazingly exciting and vibrant ensemble, - thoroughly enjoyable."

"What a wonderful concert you and your group gave us. Beautiful singing and playing. The whole thing was fantastic."

Many thanks to everyone who attended, participated, and helped behind the scenes, including Hall's Bookshop and Il Vesuvio restaurant!


From Venice to Dresden: Gabrieli and Schütz on 18 March

Masterworks of the Colossal Baroque
The Cambridge Taverner Choir, director Owen Rees
Sunday 18 March, at 7:30

Programme includes:
Giovanni Gabrieli: Jubilate Deo | O magnum mysterium | O Jesu mi dulcissime | In ecclesiis | Hodie completi sunt
Heinrich Schütz: O bone Jesu | Ach Herr, du schöpfer | Deutsches Magnificat | Herr wenn ich | Selig sind die toten | Singet dem herrn

In 1609-12 the young Heinrich Schütz stayed in Venice to study with one of Europe's most famous musicians, Giovanni Gabrieli, and to learn the modern Italian styles of composition with him. Schütz went on to become the principal composer of sacred music in these expressive Baroque styles in northern Europe.
For this concert, the choir will be joined by I Musici Della Contessa, a small instrumental ensemble comprising cornetts, sackbuts, curtal and continuo.

Tickets: £12 (£10 if booked in advance) available from Hall's Bookshop, Chapel Place or email kcmconcerts@blueyonder.co.uk

Owen Rees
Owen Rees is Fellow and Director of Music at The Queen’s College, Oxford. Through his work as director of the Cambridge Taverner Choir, Contrapunctus, and The Queen's College Choir he has brought to the concert hall and recording studio substantial repertories of magnificent Renaissance and Baroque music, including many previously unknown or little-known works from Spain and Portugal. His interpretations of these repertories have been acclaimed as ‘rare examples of scholarship and musicianship combining to result in performances that are both impressive and immediately attractive to the listener’, and he has been described as ‘one of the most energetic and persuasive voices’ in this field.
He has conducted at festivals in the UK, USA, and throughout Europe, and is increasingly busy as a leader of workshops on performance of Renaissance polyphony. He has broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and 4, and on Portuguese, Spanish, and Norwegian radio. He has released CD recordings on the Hyperion, Herald, Guild and Unicorn Kanchana labels, to consistently high critical acclaim.


The Cambridge Taverner Choir

It's just a month to go now until the second of our Gabrieli concerts, From Venice to Dresden, on Sunday 18th March, performed by the Cambridge Taverner Choir with a fabulous group of Baroque instrumentalists.

The choir recently celebrated its 25th anniversary, with a concert in the Cambridge Summer Festival. The picture shows the them rehearsing for a performance of Monteverdi's Vespers, in the chapel of Trinity College, Cambridge, in 2008. Thanks to the devoted librarianship of its Secretary, every performance the choir has given can be reviewed online in the choir archive.

A founding principle of the Cambridge Taverner Choir has been to apply academic rigour and historical context to all performances. The very first concert took place in Tattershall church in Lincolnshire, and featured a reconstruction of a complete mass with the Missa Gloria Tibi Trinitas by John Taverner, who was a member of the college at Tattershall in the early sixteenth century.

The choir's director, Dr Owen Rees, is now Fellow and Director of Music at The Queen’s College, Oxford.  Together, he and the choir have released four recordings. A further CD, of music by Monteverdi, will come out later this year.


Gabrieli in the snow

The first flakes of the promised snow fell as the choir and instrumentalists made their way into church for last night's concert. Thankfully, not too many people seemed to have opted to stay at home, and the church was full with an expectant and enthusiastic audience!

Many thanks to Charles Vignoles, the Temenos Chamber Choir, and the English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble for a vigorous and joyful rendition of one, two, three and four-choir motets, madrigals and instrumental canzonas to celebrate Gabrieli. The choir has many years' experience of singing early music, which was evident in the confidence and intelligence of their performance.

In the slightly dated copies of one of the motets, the editor Denis Stevens, writing in 1970, noted that "problems of balance inevitably occur when modern brass instruments are substituted for the composer's cornetti and trombones, which in his day and age had a relatively soft and soothing tone". Thankfully, nowadays it is not necessary to follow Stevens' recommendation of deploying oboes instead! The English Sackbut and Cornett Ensemble are one of the country's foremost exponents of early Baroque music, and they brought with them a full band - cornetts, a 'lizard' (a longer, alto cornett, so called because of its double-curved shape), alto, tenor and bass sackbuts (trombones), violin and viola, curtal (a precursor to the bassoon) and organ, which was played magnificently by Duncan Aspden.

An ensemble of much the same instruments will be present for the second of our Gabrieli concerts, on 18 March, From Venice to Dresden. They will accompany the Cambridge Taverner Choir in music by Gabrieli and Schütz. If you attended or missed the first concert, we are delighted to offer you a second chance to be immersed in the music of this glorious period. Discounts are available for early booking.


Gabrieli 400

The 400th anniversary of the death of Giovanni Gabrieli falls in 2012, and we are hosting two concerts in celebration.

Celebrating Gabrieli on Saturday 4th February
From Venice to Dresden on Sunday 18th March

As organist at St Mark's Basilica in Venice, Gabrieli had at his disposal vocal and instrumental resources on a grand scale. This was, after all, one of the richest churches in Christendom, and significant feast days were an opportunity for a great deal of civic celebration and ostentation.

Much of Gabrieli's music makes use of cori spezzati (spaced choirs), and it's likely that groups of performers were sometimes placed some distance apart. At King Charles church we can reflect this practice, albeit dimly, with the use of the opposing galleries.

On the other hand, cornetts and sackbuts were particularly favoured for sacred music at the time because of their ability to blend with the human voice, and they would certainly have been used in amongst the choir, doubling or replacing vocal lines depending on the music or on the availability of singers. So a homegeneous and blended sound would have been prized just as much as the drama of antiphony.

In February's concert, there's a rare chance to hear live one of Gabrieli's most famous motets, the 15-part In Ecclesiis. We hope to see you there!


From Venice to Dresden

From Venice to Dresden; Masterworks of the Colossal Baroque
Music by Giovanni Gabrieli and Heinrich Schütz

Cambridge Taverner Choir, directed by Owen Rees

Sunday 18th March, 7:30pm

In 1609-12 the young Heinrich Schütz stayed in Venice to study with one of Europe's most famous musicians, Giovanni Gabrieli, and to learn the modern Italian styles of composition with him. Schütz went on to become the principal composer of sacred music in these expressive Baroque styles in northern Europe.

For this concert, the choir will be joined by I Musici Della Contessa, a small instrumental ensemble comprising cornetts, sackbuts and continuo.

Tickets: £12 (£10 if booked in advance)
available from Hall's Bookshop, Chapel Place (from February)


Celebrating Gabrieli

The English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble, and the Temenos Chamber Choir, directed by Charles Vignoles

Saturday 4th February 2012, 7:30pm

G Gabrieli: O magnum mysterium
G Gabrieli: Omnes gentes, plaudite manibus
G Gabrieli: Domine exaudi orationem meam
G Gabrieli: In ecclesiis
A Gabrieli: Magnificat for three choirs
A Willaert: Quasi unus de paradisi

with canzonas and madrigals

Tickets: £12.50 (£6 students) available from Hall's Bookshop, Chapel Place, Tunbridge Wells
or Sevenoaks Bookshop, High St, Sevenoaks
or on the door
or telephone 01959 522302

Further details from 01732 810063 or www.temenos-chamberchoir.org.uk