There was much anticipation and comraderie last weekend, when the Friends of Music at St James’ Church in King Street, held a soiree to lauch the 2012 subscription series presented by the Choir of St James’.
The series of 6 concerts will feature the Choir and Orchestra of St James with soloists, directed by Warren Trevelyan-Jones. Fans of Baroque music will be delighted as the programming features some of the classics of that era, with the September performances of JS Bach’s Mass in B minor, BWV 232 being the highlight of the series.
The year kicks off with Handel’s Messiah in March – a work that is as relevant at Easter as it is during Christmas. The soloists will be drawn from the choir itself – a strategy that ensures a seamless blend of timbre in solos and choruses, and demonstrates the individual beauty of the voices of the choristers.
In June, soprano Greta Bradman performs with the Choir and the Organ of St James’, drawing on the music of Vivaldi, Bach, Handel and Mozart. In July, mezzo-soprano Sally-Anne Russell with pianist Tony Legge take a break from the Baroque with a recital of music by Haydn, Montsalvage and Britten.
In August, the Choir of St James in collaboration with the Choir of St Mary’s Cathedral and Sydney Brass commemorate the quatercentenary of the death of Gabrielli with the Splendour of Venice – a collection of glorious Venetian music for choirs, organ and brass. St Mary’s Cathedral is the venue for this treat, where the layout and acoustics allow a replication of the way music was performed and sounded in the Baroque era.
Both Greta Bradman and Sally-Anne Russell return to St James’ as soloists in the B minor Mass. Speaking to SoundsLikeSydney earlier this year, Bradman described singing this luscious work as a chorister before stepping up to the front of the stage as a soloist. ” “I love how jazzy and risky Bach’s music can be…… Bach is so precise and the phrases are quite instrumental. I have to think very carefully about breathing because the phrases are so astronomically long…… I think it’s that element of continually changing instrumental line that I love about Bach”.
Finally, in November, Life’s Journey features Sally-Anne Russell with the Choir and Orchestra of St James performing Durufle’s exquisite Requiem, so heavily influenced by Gregorian Chant, and Copland’s narrative of the creation In the Beginning.
Music at St James offers much more throughout the year with regular lunchtime concerts each Wednesday from 1.15-1.45 pm, Choral Evensong each Wednesday from 6.15 – 7 pm, and the eagerly anticipated January Orchestral Masses, this year featuring Mozart’s Missa Solemnis K337, Dove’s Kothener Messe, and Bruckner’s Mass No 2 in E minor.
There is an array of visiting choirs and cellist Rachel Scott continues her sell-out series Bach in the Dark. Her co-artistes in 2012 include cellist David Pereira, soprano Jane Sheldon and harpist Genevieve Lang, accordionist Anthony Schulz and percussionist Ben Sibson.
St James’ Church King Street, is a hub of musical activity in the south east corner of the city offering city workers, residents and shoppers a variety of excellent performers and programmes. Well served by public transport it is even worth a trip into the city to experience its concerts.
Tickets and subscriptions are available at:
www.cityrecital hall.com or call 8256 2222 or 1300 797 188 or at the Box Office, City Recital Hall.
Read our interview with Greta Bradman: