Ancient and modern meet for double date
TONY COOPER Popular ancient and modern works feature in this year's international choral and orchestral concerts organised by the Yorke Trust and taking place at Houghton Hall on Tuesday and South Creake on Wednesday.
Popular ancient and modern works feature in this year's international choral and orchestral concerts organised by the Yorke Trust and taking place in The Stone Hall, Houghton Hall, on Tuesday, April 3 (6.30pm) and St Mary's Church, South Creake, on Wednesday, April 4 (6.30pm), featuring the Creakes Student Chorus and Sinfonia under the direction of Robert Houssart, assistant director of music at Gloucester Cathedral.
This is Houssart's first time at Creake. He is an outstanding organist with many recordings to his credit and as a conductor he works with the St Cecilia Singers as well as his own orchestra. He's also conductor of the Gloucester Cathedral Youth Choir.
The concerts are a culmination of a short (but intensive) course that brings to Creake a host of bright young things who come from all over the UK as well as overseas to work with course director Alexander Crowe, currently head of vocal and opera studies at the Royal Northern College of Music.
Handel's popular Dixit Dominus forms the central part of the programme. Scored for five-part chorus, soloists and strings, the work dates from 1707.
Two settings of the Lenten text from II Samuel, When David Heard, follows. The first is by the American composer, Eric Whitacre (born 1970), who's something of a cult figure in his native country. In contrast, the unaccompanied choral setting of the same text by Thomas Tomkins (1572-1656) represents a cornerstone of pre-Restoration choral repertoire.
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The final work in the programme, Shaker Loops, by American minimalist composer John Adams, was completed in 1978 and is widely considered to be his first real masterpiece.
It's titled due to both the “shaking” of the strings as they oscillate between the notes and the idea of Shakers dancing to repetitive and energetic music, evoking childhood memories of a Shaker colony near Canterbury, New Hampshire.
Written for string septet, it buzzes with rhythm, colour and life and is now most certainly one of Adams' most enduring and entertaining pieces.
t Tickets £17.50 (Houghton), £14.50 (Creake), are available from the White House Book Shop, Burnham Market, or 01328 823501.
t Website: www.yorkedition.co.uk