Standish Consort Sing Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms

Date: July 1, 2023
Time: 9:30 am - 4:00 pm
Location: St James the Great, Dursley GL11 4JE

“Standish Consort”  University of Oxford Alumni Network, Gloucestershire Branch

We are delighted to open the booking for our next venture, Come and Sing Bernstein’s “Chichester Psalms”, on Saturday 1st July at St James the Great, Dursley. We have a limited number of hire scores available, so please book early, especially if you need one.  Full details below, you can come and sing with us or be part of the audience.  This is the booking link.

You are invited to join Standish Concert in the beautiful church of St James the Great in Dursley for a “Come and Sing” Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms” with organ, harp and percussion.

Ticket Prices below + Booking fee
£20 for adult Come and Sing
£1 for score hire
£5 for adult audience ticket for 3pm performance
Free child ticket for performance

Standish Consort is a chamber choir of around 20 singers, drawn from Oxford and Cambridge alumni in Gloucestershire and their friends. They are directed by Mark Wilson, Director of Music at Pembroke College Oxford.

09.30 Registration with refreshments on arrival. Collect a hire score if you have ordered one
10.00-12.30 (with a break) Rehearsal with Standish Consort
12.30-13.30 Lunch (please bring your own or visit the town)
13.30-14.30 Rehearsal
15.00-16.00 Performance with audience tickets available, this will include a Chichester Psalms, a short Standish only piece and performances by Catrin Meek on Harp and Mark Wilson on Bassoon

Commissioned by Chichester Cathedral and first performed on the 15th July 1965, Leonard Bernstein’s ‘Chichester’ Psalms set the full text of psalms 100, 23 and 131 together with a few verses from 108, 2 and 133. Unusually, the whole piece is sung in Hebrew.

The piece is famous for its big contrasting sections and this is no more prevalent than in the second movement, where a boy or sometimes male alto is used to depict the biblical character of David, singing psalm 23, ‘the lord is my shepherd’.

The original scoring is for full orchestra, chorus and boy soloist, although today’s performance is of Bernstein’s own part reduction, accompanied instead by organ, harp and percussion.


Byrd and Cartmell recordings made at Cheltenham College

We wanted to do something really special to celebrate the first anniversary of our formation. Being passionate about both early music and the promotion of new compositions, we decided to make our first professional recording incorporating both.The first piece we chose to record was by one of the most important people to have come out of the Renaissance period. William Byrd’s ‘O Salutaris Hostia’, was written as a demonstration of what happens when multiple parts sing in canon and certain notes are not adjusted at the points which these melodies overlap. The result is just under three minutes of deliberate dissonance amidst soaring beauty.

You’ll find the Byrd here and Cartmell here. The former has already had over 1800 views. Have a listen and please subscribe and share if you like what you hear.

Our music director Mark Wilson then approached the exciting up-and-coming composer Gemma Dyer, who was delighted to be the first to write a commission for the consort. In stark contrast to the bright polyphony of Byrd’s music, Gemma decided to flip the use of the text around and instead compose an incredibly homophonic piece using an English translation. Hints of fugue appear as the saving sacrifice appears to ‘open the gate of heaven’ but this is shut down immediately at the thought of the ‘hostile wars’ that ‘press on us’.

We are incredibly grateful to Gemma for gifting us this beautiful work and could not be prouder with what we have achieved in just 12 months.

Please go and support Gemma Dyer – Composer and Writer and all her upcoming projects, both music and literary!

Finally, a massive thank you to the ever talented Michael Hamilton The Real Music Video Company for capturing us in full definition… We really had nowhere to hide and to Cheltenham College for letting us use their beautiful chapel.

We hope you enjoy the fruits of everybody’s hard work.

Save the date:
July 1st Come and Sing Bernstein’s “Chichester Psalms”
July 20th Evensong Salisbury Cathedral
July 26th Hellens Manor, more details to follow
July 30th Compline at St Matthew’s Stroud
December 2nd Zelenka Missa Votiva at St James the Great Dursley

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