St Albans Chamber Choir are celebrating American Independence Day, with an evening of jazzy pieces from both sides of the Atlantic.
Perhaps the most familiar of these will be the arrangements of some of George Gershwin’s most famous songs from the 1930’s, I got Rhythm from the Broadway musical Girl Crazy (1930), and Summertime and It ain’t necessarily so from his opera Porgy and Bess (1934).
The influence of jazz was felt beyond America and many European composers were soon incorporating jazz harmonies and rhythms into their own work. This could not be more apparent than in the spectacular symphonic jazz piece, The Rio Grande (1927) by the British composer, Constant Lambert (1905 – 1951), a setting of a poem by Sacheverell Sitwell. This exuberant piece was to become and remains Lambert’s best-known work.
The programme also features the little-known work, The Jumblies by the American Broadway composer F.J. Brown (1925 – 2008), known as Jim Brown to his friends and family. This setting of Edward Lear’s famous poem shows the composer’s love of rhythmic dance music and the sounds of a jazz band.
The Chamber Choir will also perform Songs of Love by their current president, British composer, Will Todd, who has written many jazz-influenced works. The most famous of these is undoubtedly Mass in Blue, which the Choir have performed twice in St Albans to great acclaim.
Please note the earlier than usual start time of 7pm.