This was the original idea behind the early music programme Intimations of Mortality. In all the pieces chosen, either the words or the music were composed in the face of imminent death or in the hope of eternal life, but far from making for a miserable evening, the resultant music is sublime, for these works were written in the 16th and 17th centuries in a time of great religious faith. This is a rare opportunity to hear some spectacular pieces, large in scale both in the number of voices and in length compared to most works of this period.
The Chapel of the Pastoral Centre at London Colney will provide a sumptuous acoustic for this programme, and with the Centre due to close at the end of this year, this may be one of the last opportunities to enjoy such ethereally beautiful music in this special venue.
Choir jazz things up for church (Herts Advertiser 21 Jan 2011)
TOP quality jazz events are a rarity in St Albans, but if the size of the audience at St Saviour’s Church on Saturday is anything to go by, there is clearly an audience for them. This concert was a rare combination of a choir and fine jazz musicians – in this case the St Albans Chamber Choir, the Will Todd Trio and local saxophonist David Wigram together with jazz singer Bethany Halliday. Under musical director JohnGibbons, the choir worked superbly with the musicians and Bethany Halliday to produce a remarkable musical event focused on Todd’s stunning Mass in Blue. As one of the city’s most respected musicians commented at the end of the performance, “This could well be the highlight of the year”, and if the size and reaction of the audience are anything to go by, other groups have been set an extremely high standard for the future.
A capacity audience at St Saviour’s enjoyed an exciting evening of jazz-inspired music on Saturday 15 January 2011. Rutter’s Birthday Madrigals and Karl Jenkins’ A Parliament of Owls in the first half went down well, but it was Will Todd’s Mass in Blue that really seized the imagination of performers and listeners alike. This upbeat setting of the Latin mass is a brilliant blend of driving jazz grooves and clear, strong, choral writing, and the presence of Will Todd himself with his Trio, local saxophonist David Wigram and the thrilling young soprano soloist Bethany Halliday made this an evening to remember.
Banish those winter blues with a foot-stomping concert of jazz-inspired choral music. Will Todd‘s Mass in Blue combines driving jazz rhythms with strong choral writing and a soaring soprano soloist, the virtuoso Bethany Halliday. Karl Jenkins’s A Parliament of Owls is full of catchy melodies and exciting percussion, and John Rutter‘s Birthday Madrigals are a fitting tribute to the great jazz pianist George Shearing.
With the Will Todd Trio, Will Todd piano Conductor John Gibbons
Saturday 15 January 2011 at 7.30pm St Savour’s Church, Sandpit Lane
Bethany Halliday is best known for her recording of Will Todd’s Mass in Blue which was released on the Signum Classics label in 2006. Described as ‘An addictive listen’ by the Daily Express, Bethany premiered Mass in Blue at The Cambridge Corn Exchange in 2003 and has continued to perform the work frequently since that time. Venues have included the St-Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, London Barbican, The Sage Gateshead, Durham Cathedral, Snape Maltings, Wakefield Cathedral, and Bethany will be performing this work again with St Albans Chamber Choir and the Will Todd Trio on 15 January 2011 at St Saviour’s Church, St Albans
Bethany enjoys a wide range of performing throughout the UK including opera, oratorio and jazz. She was awarded the English National Opera Lillian Baylis Bursary for young singers and also won the William Cox memorial scholarship. Bethany has recently been performing with the Royal Opera House, Opera Genesis workshopping a new opera.