Archive for December, 2011

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December 15th, 2011

  • Just conducted a very succesful Christmas concert for Haven (breast cancer) at a packed St Paul's, Knightsbridge. Voce was on sensationa … #

Today’s Tweets

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December 14th, 2011

  • Fantastic Voices Foundation Board meeting in he light of The National Music Plan in which we FEATURE. A new era dawns for us. #

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December 12th, 2011

  • Back from a whirlwind trip to Paris (just today) to see the wonderful Paris Eatwells! The French know how to do children's parties in style! #

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December 11th, 2011

  • Our Voce Xmas concert tonight at St Paul's Knightsbridge was truly wonderful. I adored every moment! What a sound.. #

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December 10th, 2011

  • Smiths Feast tonight. Sat with Stephen Fry all night. Our guests were Lucy Caldwell (writer) and James Lloyd. Sensational evening #
  • Voce Christmas concert tonight – yippee!! Be there! http://t.co/HV6FVhkX for tickets or see you at the door… #

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December 9th, 2011

  • Big Vocal Futures debrief and thank you party in Queens' Presudent's Lodge for my team and sponsors. #
  • Cameron, what have you done?? #

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December 6th, 2011

  • Worked with Gareth Malone today, training office choir for the Albert Hall (Gareth then went to 10 Downing St with his army ladies! #
  • Big and vital Voices Foundation meeting with Daborah Annetts on positioning us post Nat Music Plan. We will create 10 HUBS nationally #
  • Great Voce rehearsal last night. The 'sound' of the choir currently is the best its ever been. Come to our Xmas concert on Sat. #
  • Go to http://t.co/HV6FVhkX for tickets for SATURDAY night. Christmas Extravaganza at St Paul's Knightsbridge #

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December 4th, 2011

  • See Sat Telegraph, today-p30. Stunning comment on our Vocal Futures Matthew Passion. Wow! #

Review of Vocal Futures Matthew Passion by Dr Martin Neary

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December 4th, 2011

The performance of the St. Matthew Passion at the University of Westminster?s Ambiba P3 complex was remarkable, both musically and above all in the way it was presented.The ingenuity shown in turning a disused concrete laboratory into a set, in which the audience could feel an immediate involvement with the performers, was as subtle as it was effective.

Compared with other ?staged? re-creations of the Passion which I have seen, I found this version by far the most convincing. The drama was conveyed clearly, yet never awkwardly. The whole building was used, the different levels providing ideal dramatic opportunities for soloists and chorus; and the pungency of the sound of both the young professional chorus and orchestra (the excellent OAE) was another marvellous ingredient. I felt transported.

How much this will have been true for those 16-22 year olds, who were part of this initial experiment of bringing a classical masterpiece into their consciousness, remains to be seen; but if they do not respond to something like this, I doubt if they ever will. For the drama inherent in the music was brought alive by the production and by the generally helpful translation. (Sometimes, particularly in the first part, it has to be said that the words, despite modest and unobtrusive amplification, did not always come over clearly.)

The performance was constantly alive, and the da capo arias rarely felt repetitious. This was due partly to the often exceptional quality of the singing and playing, but also to the ingenious division of some of the solos, and the interaction of the mezzo soprano and counter tenor frequently produced a telling and unexpected dialogue. Similarly the way in which the arias were staged related them more closely than I have previously experienced to the moment in the drama upon which they were reflecting. Sharing the role of the Evangelist also enhanced the contrasts.

The chorales sounded fresh, and the undoubted masterstroke was the inclusion of a recording of the final Passion chorale sung by the youngsters, while a video mosaic of their faces gradually appeared on the floor.

No praise can be too high for Suzi Digby, whose fund-raising, and organising, as well as musical skills enabled this amazing project to get off to such a triumphant start. Let us hope that in the coming weeks and months the young people involved respond enthusiastically as they learn and understand more about this musical masterpiece. It will be important to monitor this development.

– Dr Martin Neary (ex Director of Music, Westminster Abbey)

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December 3rd, 2011

  • Music Matters, BBC Radio 3 JUST NOW on Vocal Futres. Brilliant piece by Tom Service, who is spot on. Try to catch it on line #