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Recent Concerts - Christmas 2016

Summer Concert 2016



Saturday 3rd December 2016 at 7.30pm
St Nicolas Church
Conductor: Catherine Beddison


Recent Concerts - Summer Concert 2016

Summer Concert 2016



Saturday 18th June 2016 at 7.30pm
Cranleigh Village Hall
Conductor: Marcus Pashley


Recent Concerts - Magnificat

Magnificat



Saturday 19th March 2016 at 7.30pm
Emms Centre
Conductor: Catherine Beddison


Recent Concerts - St Nicolas

Dido & Aeneas



Sunday 29th November 2015 at 7.30pm
Cranleigh Speech Hall
Conductor: Marcus Pashley


Recent Concerts - Dido & Aeneas

Dido & Aeneas



Sunday 16th May 2015 at 7.30pm
Cranleigh Village Hall
Conductor: Catherine Beddison


Recent Concerts - Rutter Magnificat & Poulenc Gloria

The Manchester Carols



Sunday 8th February 2015 at 7.30pm
Speech Hall, Cranleigh School
Conductor: Marcus Pashley


Recent Concerts - A Cermony of Carols

The Manchester Carols



Saturday 6th December 2014 at 7.30pm
Cranleigh Village Hall
Conductor: Marcus Pashley


Recent Concerts - Fauré Requiem

The Manchester Carols



Saturday 28th June 2014 at 7.30pm
Cranleigh Village Hall
Conductor: Marcus Pashley


Recent Concerts - Sunrise Mass

The Manchester Carols



Saturday 29th March 2014 at 7.30pm
Emms Centre, Cranleigh School
Conductor: Catherine Beddison


Recent Concerts - A Night at the Opera

The Manchester Carols



Sunday 8th December 2013 at 7.30pm
Speech Hall, Cranleigh School
Conductor: Marcus Pashley


Recent Concerts - Rutter: The Reluctant Dragon

The Manchester Carols



Saturday 29th June 2013 at 7.30pm
Cranleigh Village Hall
Conductor: Catherine Beddison


Recent Concerts - Mozart: Requiem; Rutter: Mass of the Children

The Manchester Carols

G-Live performance


Sunday 17th March 2013 at 7.30pm
G-Live, Guildford
Conductor: Marcus Pashley


Recent Concerts - The Manchester Carols

The Manchester Carols

Carol Ann Duffy
Carol Ann Duffy, CBE, FRSL (born 23 December 1955) is a British poet and playwright. She is Professor of Contemporary Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University, and was appointed Britain's poet laureate in May 2009


She collaborated with the Manchester composer, Sasha Johnson Manning, on The Manchester Carols, a series of Christmas songs that premiered in Manchester Cathedral in 2007


She holds honorary doctorates from the University of Dundee, the University of Hull, the University of St Andrews, and the University of Warwick, as well as an Honorary Fellowship at Homerton College, Cambridge


Carol Ann Duffy
Sasha Johnson Manning (born 1963) is an English composer specialising in vocal pieces.


Graduating in voice and cello from the Royal Academy of Music in 1985 she has worked as a full time soprano and composer ever since. Her singing career includes the BBC Radio 4s The Daily Service and extensive oratorio work throughout the country. She has performed across Europe and in Israel and the USA. She has worked with the Deller Consort, The Academy of St. Martin-in-the fields, the Britten Singers, Musical Offering and Partita.


As a composer Sasha specialises in writing for voices and held the position of composer-in-residence of the Saint Louis Chamber Chorus of Missouri for eight years, culminating in a Requiem for St.Louis. Sasha has composed for Emma Kirkby, James Bowman, Lynne Dawson, Claron McFadden and the London Baroque.


In 2007 she composed the music for The Manchester Carols, a festive suite of new carols with words by Carol Ann Duffy. The world premiere took place at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester on December 14, 2007. The Manchester Carols is published by Faber Music.


Saturday 8th December 2012 at 7.30pm
St Nicholas Church, Cranleigh
Conductor: Catherine Beddison


Recent Concerts - This England

This England
"This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle…this blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England." (William Shakespeare: Richard II, Act 2)

Cranleigh Choral Society's summer concert programme reflects upon many different aspects of 'Englishness' in our national musical heritage.

The Jubilee Celebrations have focused much attention on pomp and grandeur and this is reflected in Walton's famous march Crown Imperial, in Parry's settings of I was glad, written in 1902 for the coronation of Edward VII and used at the coronation of every subsequent monarch. The same composer's sumptuous anthem Blest Pair of Sirens was more recently performed at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. However, there are other aspects of our nation's music which reflect the beauty of our island land and seascapes, as in the exquisite Sea Pictures of Edward Elgar and in simple Romantic Partsong settings.

Benjamin Britten is hailed by many as England's greatest composer since Purcell and his work is represented by the miniature masterpiece Rejoice in the Lamb. We are joined by the superb mezzo-soprano Rachel Lindop and the international concert organist Philip Scriven for what promises to be a thoroughly varied and quintessentially English musical feast.


Saturday 23rd June 2012 at 7.30pm
St Nicholas Church, Cranleigh
Conductor: Marcus Pashley


Recent Concerts - Pergolesi: Stabat Mater & Haydn: 'Maria Theresa' Mass

Pergolesi: Stabat Mater & Haydn: 'Maria Theresa' Mass


Saturday 24th March 2012 at 7.30pm
Emms Centre, Cranleigh School
Conductor: Catherine Beddison


Recent Concerts - Handel: Messiah

Handel: Messiah 2011 Messiah - Surrey advertiser Article
It seems especially appropriate that in a year in which the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible has been celebrated that Cranleigh School put on its latest performance of Handel’s ‘Messiah’ with Charles Jennens’s inspired compilation of texts from this Authorised Version. The sublime message of scripture was especially clear in Kathryn Harries’s performance of ‘I know that my Redeemer liveth’, another reminder of how fortunate Cranleigh’s singing pupils are to have this world-renowned opera star as one of its vocal coaches.  The three younger soloists made equally important contributions to an uplifting and moving evening. The singers of the augmented Chapel Choir will cherish the memory of performing with these professional singers and the fine musicians of the Merriman Concert Orchestra, led by Kevin Weaver and conducted by Marcus Pashley. Among these ranks were Old Cranleighan Jonathan Hennessy-Brown and current organist Philip Scriven playing continuo.

The concert was also the annual event in the academic year in which the School continues one of its most long-standing links with Cranleigh Village, and the experience of the Cranleigh Village Choral Society singers (including several Cranleigh School parents, ex-parents and ex-Common Room) blending with the young voices of the pupils provided a satisfying choral texture.

Further highlights to mention here for the many unable to obtain a ticket for this sold-out event were the bass arias sung by Jimmy Holliday with real panache (and a fabulous soloist in ‘The trumpet shall sound’); the diction of Welsh tenor John Pierce that reminded us again that this is also Charles Jennens’s ‘Messiah’; and Polish contralto Hanna Hipp’s stylish fluency in a true Baroque style. Among the choruses, the lightness of ‘His yoke is easy’ was a fine achievement with around 200 voices (modern recordings often use choirs a tenth that size). ‘Surely He Hath Borne Our Griefs’ seemed exceptionally well-rehearsed: anyone who has sung ‘Messiah’ will tell you it is the hardest piece in the central choral repertoire. The audience were reminded of the tradition of standing for the ‘Hallelujah’ chorus but the conductor ensured that the chosen music from Part Three that followed was no anti-climax: he was saving something for ‘Worthy is the Lamb’. This final chorus with its fugal Amen was the true crowning glory and the full tone and breath control of the chorus after two and a half hours in a warm Speech Hall was stunning. Marcus Pashley paced the varied sections of this monumental chorus as only an experienced choral conductor can do and the applause that followed showed how the packed hall appreciated this as much as your reviewer.


Sunday 4th December 2011 at 7.30pm
Speech Hall, Cranleigh School
Conductor: Marcus Pashley


Recent Concerts - Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle

rossini petite messe solennelle
rossini petite messe solennelle photograph


Saturday 2nd July 2011 at 7.30pm
Cranleigh Village Hall
Conductor: Catherine Beddison

Our new Assistant Musical Director, Catherine Beddison, conducted the choir in Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle.
Accompaniment was provided by Mark Jordan, harmonium, and Jean Douglas Tutt, piano.
Soloists: Angela Henckel – Soprano, Lorna Perry - Mezzo Soprano, Paul Robinson – Tenor and John Ward – Bass.

Recent Concerts - Review of Verdi Requiem

Verdi Requiem
verdi requiem photograph


Sunday 20th March 2011 at 7.30pm
Speech Hall at Cranleigh School
The Choral Society & Cranleigh School Chapel Choir

Cranleigh School Chapel Choir joined forces again with the Cranleigh Village Choral Society to perform Verdi’s Requiem on Sunday 20th March in Speech Hall. This huge choir had been clearly inspired as well as well-drilled in three months of rehearsal and the tuning and musical tension in the hushed opening set the tone for the whole evening. Conductor Marcus Pashley’s love of opera, combined with his great experience as a choral conductor, were the ideal credentials to interpret this much-loved work and his shaping of phrases and incisive punch at key moments made for a truly memorable interpretation.
These concerts have been blessed before with world-famous vocal soloists but rarely, if ever, with four such accomplished singers in the one evening. Meeta Raval, soprano, is a rising star whose final solo at the end of the ‘Libera Me’ was a highlight. Kathryn Harries has a very distinguished career on such operatic stages as Covent Garden and the Met in New York, and Cranleigh School pupils are immensely fortunate to have her as one of our vocal studies coaches. Her experience in refining her rich mezzo-soprano tone to the acoustics and in scrupulously observing the score’s dynamics was used to great effect at the beginning of the ‘Lacrimosa’ and the Lux Aeterna’ sections. Tenor Adrian Thompson also sings the Evangelist in Bach’s Passions and this seemed relevant to his Verdi singing here: avoiding any crude operatic sobs in the voice and reminding us that this is indeed a setting of a Catholic Mass for the Dead. His very first word and notes (‘Hostias’) were magical and the clarity of his diction was exceptional; one could hear why he is also in demand as Gerontius. Bass Brindley Sherratt seemed thoroughly to enjoy returning to the roots of a local Choral Society, a great British tradition that has led to one conductor making a weekly commute from Bologna to conduct his Preston choir. Mr Sherratt has recently sung under stars such as Gergiev, Rattle and Boulez, but was just as willing to give his best preparation and musicianship to this one-off local ‘gig’: indeed, he sang his ‘Confutatis’ solo with score closed. The blending of the four voices was remarkable, given that only one rehearsal is affordable for such a concert, and the quartet in the ‘Offertorio’ was sublime.
The Merriman Concert Orchestra was led by Kevin Weaver, whose solo after the interval led us back into the ethereal heavenliness that Verdi counterpoints with his apocalyptic glimpses into the mouth of hell. The most famous orchestral moment in the piece is the bass drum in the ‘Dies Irae’ and this was given its full impact, along with superb timpani playing, leading me to compare Marcus Pashley’s crisp attack here with the Verdi expert Riccardo Muti. There were some especially fruity contributions from the bassoons and the pleading oboe in the ‘Ingemisco’ certainly deserved a place among the sheep rather than the goats. The off-stage brass added to the powerful impact of the ‘Dies Irae’ and the relatively compact hall’s acoustics, compared with the scale of the music, added to the sense of musical immediacy that only a live performance can add.
The audience were lucky indeed not to have to travel to London for such an evening, but even luckier were the young singers who were performing the work for the first time: surely it will be a treasured memory for them of their schooldays. For some of the older singers this was the fourth Verdi Requiem at Cranleigh in the last thirty years and, having in the last three found myself in all sorts of difficulties in some of the eight-part fugal sections, I cannot commend highly enough the sheer accuracy and choral attack in the singing. The blend of fresh voices and the experienced score-reading of our friends from the Choral Society made a powerful combination.
Final credit then to Marcus Pashley: learning such a multi-lined score is a mammoth task in itself and some professional conductors would need several rehearsals to achieve what Marcus gave us from one afternoon of full rehearsal.
As a footnote, the work’s spiritual dimension as a Requiem, not just a concert work, was poignantly underlined by the tribute in the programme to Margaret MacFarlane, who joined the Village Choral Society in 1946 and was their Secretary for 32 years, ending as Honorary President. She was born in 1911, just ten years after Verdi died, and passed away a fortnight before this performance, just two weeks short of her 100th birthday.