11: Lent, Holy Week, and Easter 2019

11: Lent, Holy Week, and Easter 2019

With Holy Week and Easter safely behind us, Thomas and Richard are able to get together for another episode of Staved Off. They discuss the Lent concert with The Song Company in the Crypt. Holy Week and Easter always require a huge amount of work from Saint Mary’s Cathedral Choir, and this year was no exception. The addition of brass and timpani for Easter adds a layer of complexity, and Thomas was even required to sing at one point! We were able to address listeners’ questions (keep them coming!). Meanwhile, videos of some of the Easter performances have been posted online, which has led some Internet commenters to question Thomas’s conducting style.

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10: 2019 is a new year

10: 2019 is a new year

After the January break, including Thomas’s trip to Japan, the Choir is back for another year’s singing. In this episode, Thomas and Richard talk about the induction of new Choristers which recently took place. They then discuss best practices in the choice of music at school Masses, before moving on to the seeming tension between English-language hymns and Latin chants. Thomas talks about his experience running an office and how he keeps his team together. The Choristers will join forces with The Song Company for a performance of Bach’s Tilge, Höchster, meine Sünden (Stabat Mater) in April, and the Scholars are off to St James’, King Street, for Evensong, part of which you can hear in this episode! For next month, please send in your questions about what you’ve always wanted to know about cathedral music.

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8: Remembrance Sunday

8: Remembrance Sunday

Thomas and Richard discuss Remembrance Sunday, and what will be happening at Mass this Sunday to commemorate the centenary of Armistice. But first, Thomas bemoans the fact that Bonfire Night is not observed in Australia. Then they are joined by Simon Niemiński to talk about the organ transcription he has made of F.S. Kelly’s Elegy for Strings, which he will play as the organ voluntary on Sunday. Hannah McCarthy makes an appearance to let us know about what’s going in to this year’s A Choral Christmas Celebration concert.

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7: Choir history and the 200th anniversary

7: Choir history and the 200th anniversary

Following the recent celebration of the Choir’s 200th anniversary, to which many former members of Saint Mary’s Cathedral Choir returned to sing, Thomas and Richard look at the history of the Choir from its foundation by Catherine Fitzpatrick and through the various different forms it has taken since then, up until the present day. We are honoured to have interviews with Neil Fitzpatrick & Frances Fitzpatrick, descendants of Catherine & Bernard Fitzpatrick; with Peter Kneeshaw AO; and with Michael Hissey, who is co-ordinating the burgeoning Choir Alumni association.

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6: Tour Travelogue: Italy & the Netherlands

6: Tour Travelogue: Italy & the Netherlands

In the second part of our discussion about the Choir’s European tour in May 2018, Thomas and Richard are joined by Carolyn Lewis, one of the teachers who accompanied the group, to discuss the Choir’s reception in Italy and the Netherlands. A masterclass with Stephen Cleobury, a joint concert with Siena’s cathedral choir, and the experience of singing at the Papal Mass all get recounted. Plus, have you noticed the Director of Music’s new vestments from the papal tailor?

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3: Simon Niemiński, new Assistant Director of Music

3: Simon Niemiński, new Assistant Director of Music

As we get closer to Easter, Thomas describes the huge number of pages of music that have to be prepared and printed for the Holy Week and Easter services. We are delighted to be joined by Simon Niemiński, the Cathedral’s new Assistant Director of Music, who talks about the experience of moving from Edinburgh to Sydney, his impressions of his new job, and his opinions on hot drinks. Richard has an earthquake story.

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2: Lent 2018

2: Lent 2018

Thomas and Richard discuss Lent in the Cathedral, and what changes musically with the penitential season. Discussion includes Gregorio Allegri’s perennial favourite—Miserere Mei, Deus—and people’s reactions when they realise that there is no solo organ music during Lent. Thomas has just been to Rome, and is able to tell us about what he discovered and how that will feed in to the Choir’s trip to Belgium and Italy later this year.

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