A joyous & emotional return to singing with Fauré Requiem
Date Posted: Wed, 20 Oct 2021
Howard Ionascu, EPC’s musical director, talks about the return to singing after the silence imposed by the pandemic, as he prepares the choir for our 13 November concert:
“The Fauré Requiem is a much-loved choral work around the world and will be familiar to many of our audiences. After many months without live music-making, it made sense to me to choose a well-known work of great beauty to launch us back into live concerts and performing. We are joined by two wonderful young professional soloists - Lucy Cronin and James Geidt - who I know with enthral our audience.
“The European theme of the first half of the concert - singing in a range of languages - gives the audience a chance to enjoy short pieces of music in a variety of styles and languages. Ranging from the polyphonic brilliance of Palestrina to the popular sound-world of Patrick Hawes’ Quanta Qualia.
“After 18 months of not singing in person, the choir has had to work especially hard at forming a solid core to its sound, and in particular regaining the special blend and sound that EPC is well-known for. We have also had to all build back up our choral stamina in rehearsals. It will be a joyous and emotional moment when EPC once again takes to the stage in the nave of Exeter Cathedral, a place we have all missed so much during these long months of the pandemic.”
Songs of the Soul along St Michael's Way
Date Posted: Mon, 27 Sep 2021
Songs of the Soul along St Michael’s Way Members of Exeter Philharmonic Choir and friends received a very warm welcome in Cornwall over the weekend of 24 to 26 September as they walked the ancient pilgrimage route of St Michael’s Way, singing as they journeyed. The singers, who had renamed themselves as the Pilgrims’ Chorus, gave three short concerts, at St Uny’s Church in Lelant, St Paul’s Church in Ludgvan and, at journey’s end, in the Castle Chapel at St Michael’s Mount. Stephen Tanner, EPC’s associate director of music, conducted an eclectic programme featuring Monteverdi, Palestrina, Bruckner and Haydn, alongside madrigals, folk songs and traditional spirituals arranged by the Soweto Gospel Choir. It was a privilege for the Pilgrims’ Chorus to perform the première of Stephen Tanner’s most recent composition, a setting of Ave Verum Corpus, as well as to sing a work by the choir’s former director of music, Andrew Millington, entitled Give me my Scallop Shell, an arrangement of words from Sir Walter Raleigh’s The Passionate Man’s Pilgrimage. The walking was as wonderful as the singing, along varied paths, through contrasting landscapes. Mist obscured the panoramic view from the highest point, the Iron Age hill fort on Trencrom Hill. But, as the walkers descended, St Michael’s Mount came into view, as well as the tower of St Paul’s Church, Ludgvan. And on the final day the sun shone, lighting the walkers’ path along the causeway and up to the Castle Chapel, where the Pilgrims’ Chorus gave its final performance, ending with Parry’s moving settting of Tennyson’s Crossing the Bar.