Brighton Festival Chorus

Summer Concert: Sunrise
Brighton Festival Chorus
Brighton Festival Youth Choir
Chamber Domaine
James Morgan: conductor

Saturday 8th July 2017 at 7.30pm
Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts, University of Sussex
Tickets:  £18.50 or £12 concession for students and under 16s
Attenborough Centre Box Office: 01273 678822

Brighton Festival Chorus (bfc) is looking forward to its 50th anniversary season with a summer concert at the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts. bfc has been rehearsing at the University of Sussex since 1968 when Laszlo Heltay, the University’s Director of Music, formed the Chorus. Heltay auditioned many of its founding members in the Attenborough Centre building, and so a return to this venue is a timely way to reflect on the birth of the Chorus.

The concert presents music for voices and strings. Chamber Domaine will play Elgar’s Serenade for Strings, one is his earliest and favourite works, and Barber’s well known Adagio for Strings, featured in many television shows and feature films.

Brighton Festival Youth Choir will perform Richard Rodney Bennett’s Letters to Lindbergh, featuring poems by Martin Hall that quote whimsically from letters supposedly received by Charles Lindbergh during his non-stop solo flight across the Atlantic in 1927. His correspondents include Scott of the Antarctic, the rusting hulk of the Titanic, and Walt Disney cartoon dog Pluto!

bfc will join Chamber Domaine for a performance of Vaughan Williams’ An Oxford Elegy. This piece was written between 1947 and 1949 using portions of two poems by Matthew Arnold: The Scholar Gipsy and Thyrsis. The work has a pastoral character, and is a loving and ruminative evocation of Arnold’s time and place.

The concert concludes with bfc singing Ola Gjeilo’s Sunrise Mass, first performed in 2008. Explaining Sunrise Mass, Ola Gjeilo said that he “wanted the musical development of the work to evolve from the most transparent and spacey, to something completely earthy and grounded; from nebulous and pristine to more emotional and dramatic, and eventually warm and solid – as a metaphor for human development from child to adult, or as a spiritual journey”.

The bfc Summer Concert promises to be a fitting start to the fundraising drive for its 50th anniversary season, embracing both traditional choral repertoire and more contemporary composition, inspired and influenced by both classical and popular culture.




St Nicolas Church, Pevensey

Lunch time Organ Recital Friday 9 June at 1.00pm

John Collins, an authority on early European organ music and organist at Christ Church, Worthing, will give a lunch-time recital at St. Nicolas Church, Pevensey on Friday 9 June at 1 PM. Admission is free of charge, but a retiring collection will be taken for the St Nicolas Restoration Fund.

The programme will comprise pieces from across Europe from the 16th to 18th century including toccatas, variations, sonatas, fugues and voluntaries, as well as one work by a living composer. The concert, which will last about one hour, will conclude with the Hornpipe from Handel’s Water Music.

“We are delighted to be able to welcome back John Collins, and are most grateful to him for offering to play once more for the benefit of the Restoration Fund” said Churchwarden Simon Sargent. The Fund is within some £22,000 of the £255,000 target. Restoration work, which began in March, will resume in September.

Those attending the recital are welcome to bring a sandwich lunch with them. Drinks will be available.

Contact Simon Sargent at for further information.



Don Giovanni at St Mary in the Castle

Hastings on Saturday and Sunday 3/4 June 2017

Marcio da Silva says:  Come and watch an international cast of young singers perform one of Mozart’s masterpieces this Saturday and Sunday at St. Mary in the Castle. Don Giovanni represents a mixture of several human feelings including love, lust, hate, anger, vengeance, pain, sadness and jealousy. All are taken to the extreme and are treated simultaneously with drama and comedy. That is what makes staging it such a challenge.

Finding truth in these characters takes time and here our young performers had 9 days to pull it off. This production, directed by Marcio da Silva, is both dark and funny. With modern costumes singers feel much more “naked” and vulnerable on stage and are therefore forced to reach in for true emotions in order to capture the audience’s attention.

You will see St Mary in the Castle transformed like you have never seen before. Don’t miss out on what could be an unforgettable evening. The opera will be sung in Italian with English surtitles. The chorus will be sung by members of the Hastings Philharmonic Chamber Choir and the evening will be accompanied by members of the Hastings Philharmonic Orchestra and Petra Hajduchova on the harpsichord. The Saturday performance will be conducted by Neylson Crepalde and the Sunday performance by Marcio da Silva.”

The notorious Don Giovanni is the archetypal amoral womaniser of all time and his nefarious love interests lead to drama and comedy aplenty exposing, as it does, both the human foibles and virtues to be found in the well-rounded characters. Don Giovanni lives life to the full in a never-ending pursuit of hedonism, regardless of the cost in broken hearts and destroyed lives along the way, but his victims of past relationships catch up with him as he meets his nemesis. The finale with an unrepentant Don Giovanni has stirred philosophical and artistic conjecture among many later writers including George Bernard Shaw, whose ‘Man and Superman’ includes a dramatic interlude where three of the Mozart characters: Don Giovanni, the statue of the Commendatore and Donna Anna are joined by the Devil in conversation on the nature of morality.

Mozart’s Don Giovanni 3 June – 7pm, and 4 June – 5pm – St Mary in the Castle Pelham Cres Hastings TN34 3AF Marcio Da Silva – Stage/Music Director, Monika Saunders -Set/Costumes, Neylson Crepalde – Assistant  Conductor, Laura Hensley – Assistant Stage Director
Tickets: £20 (Boxes), £17.50 (Stalls), £15.50 (Gallery) obtainable at 
Hastings Tourist information centre. 


From the creators of SEA FEVER comes:

A classical concert with a twist, featuring

The Birley Centre, Eastbourne   |   7.30pm   |   June 28th 2017
Tickets £12, including a surprise cocktail

“Moving in the extreme”
– The Independent

“Made you feel like you were at the centre of an arctic gale with frost on your chin!” 
– The Guardian

The Forests of Aulanko is a concert. Just not as you know it.

In the PRE-CONCERT SHOW journey to the forests of Aulanko, home of Jean Sibelius, with music written specially for the adventure by 2012 BBC Young Composer of the Year, Alex Woolf. In the LIVE PROGRAMME NOTE, fly over the Finnish landscapes that inspired Sibelius, with tales about the composer and his world.

After a COCKTAIL inspired by the music, it’s the MAIN EVENT: a performance of Sibelius’s most iconic work, his 5th Symphony. It tells of the triumph of life over death, captures the perfection of the natural world, and contains one of the greatest melodies ever written – an arc of swans flying home to nest, captured in sound.

The Arensky Chamber Orchestra is Britain’s orchestra of revolutionaries. Extraordinary classical musicians dedicated to electrifying performance and mind-opening presentation.

Funded by the Arts Council and led by Eastbourne native William Kunhardt, the ACO are dedicated to building a second, permanent home on the South Coast. Imagine a year-round programme of daring, genre-bending, orchestral music in your town. If that sounds good, make sure you join us. The revolution needs your help.

Book online at
Call: 01323 452255 | email:


Update from St Nicolas, Pevensey

Greetings from St Nicolas, Pevensey! As we have an intermission in our restoration work while the bats enjoy their summer roost in the chancel roof, we are taking the opportunity to welcome back a couple of highly accomplished musicians who have entertained us in previous years.

On Friday 9 June, John Collins, organist at St George’s, Worthing, who played here in 2015 and 2016, will give a lunchtime recital of music from across Europe from the 16th to 18th century, including toccatas, variations, sonatas, fugues and voluntaries. The programme will include pieces or arrangements of Handel and Pachelbel, as well as works by living composers. The recital will begin at 1pm. Admission will be by donation and refreshments will be available.

Saturday 12 August will see the return of our Restoration Fund Patron Neil McLaren, who has played his flute for us in several previous summers while he has been performing at the Glyndebourne Festival with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Neil will be joined by Jane Gordon, a highly versatile violinist who also plays regularly with the OAE and is a member of the English Baroque Soloists, for a recital of works by JS and CPE Bach and Telemann. The concert will start at 7pm. Tickets £10. Refreshments will be available.

We look forward to welcoming you back to St Nicolas to experience outstanding musicians playing in our beautiful church with its excellent acoustics.

Hastings Philharmonic

Hastings Philharmonic is producing  a keynote concert which shows off its full professional orchestra to best effect. The concert of Beethoven and Brahms are at St Mary in the Castle on Saturday 20 May at 7pm. In addition to Beethoven’s Egmont overture and Brahms’ 2nd Symphony, the concert features a rare choral, orchestral and piano piece by Beethoven which was a precursor to his ninth (choral) symphony.

Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy Op 80 was composed late in 1808 as a concert finale that incorporated elements of several works from an extraordinary concert. The concert included premieres of some of Beethoven’s finest works: Beethoven presented for the first time his 6th (Pastoral) Symphony,his 4th Piano Concerto in G major (with Beethoven himself as soloist), the 5th Symphony, ‘Ah Perfido’, ‘Gloria’   and ‘Sanctus’ (from his C major mass); Beethoven played the piano part himself in the first part of the Fantasy for piano, chorus and orchestra and it ended triumphantly.

Far from being a slick affair, the Choral Fantasy’s composition and performance is thought to have been a last minute concoction, but it served as a precursor to Beethoven’s Choral Symphony No.9; Beethoven had not written a score for the piano solo at the beginning and extemporised at the premiere on 22 December 1808 in Vienna. Improvisation was not unusual and even expected of virtuoso musicians in Beethoven’s time. Consequently the actual piano score now used owes something to a reworking nearly a hundred years later by the famous late 19th century pianist Xaver Scharwenka.  The concert made Beethoven more famous than ever and proved his greatness after a less than well received Fidelio put on earlier that year had dashed his hopes .

Beethoven’s pupil, Carl Czerny, wrote that the Symphony in c minor (his 5th) was meant to conclude the concert but to delay this important symphony to the end would have lessened its impact after so many other worthy new pieces. According to Czerny,  Beethoven felt this and, at the last minute, wrote a separate finale.  He chose a song that he had composed many years before, sketched out a few variations, the chorus, etc, and the poet Kuffner was commissioned to write a choral text.  The result was the Choral Fantasy, Op. 80.

The first two thirds of the work is a somewhat unusual concert piece for piano solo and orchestra; it begins with an expansive solo passage almost as if it were a piano sonata.Then the orchestra joins in and only later does the chorus enter with some melodic elements of “Ode to Joy” – which was  to be completed as the Choral Symphony some 15 years later.

Although not a poet of Schiller’s stature, Christoph Kuffner’s poem used for the Fantasy  bears the hallmarks of many Age of Enlightenment writings and the post-revolutionary ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity. Beethoven’s possible membership of the freemasons is still a very controversial topic, but the case for his being one is based partly on the statement by his later personal secretary and admirer, musician Karl Holz, that he had been a mason but was inactive in later life.

Roger Cotte in his book La Musique Maçonnique suggests that Beethoven’s Fantasia Op 80 was indeed a masonic work describing it as a ‘veritable symphonic poem on initiation of the first degree’. Cotte suggests that the unusual structure of this piece reflects a masonic initiation ceremony: it starts with the initiate standing in darkness represented by the long piano introduction. As the initiates are unveiled, the interaction between orchestra and piano represents the question and answer phase, while a horns, oboe and piano passage concludes the unveiling and leads to the choral climax.  The choral jubilation was, according to Cotte, steeped in masonic symbolism both in words and music with the text ‘When love and strength are united, the favour of God rewards man’ being closely associated with the masonic concept of moving from Dark to Light, and a c minor-major progression of the music being evocative of a leap towards joy.

One of the highlights of the concert is Brahms’ great 2nd Symphony which should be a delight coming from the full romantic Hastings Philharmonic Orchestra  The concert at St Mary in the Castle also includes Beethoven’s Egmont overture, music set for Goethe’s ‘Sturm und Drang’ drama which was dripping in revolutionary ideals of the late eighteenth century.  Goethe’s membership as a mason was fully documented.

Hastings Philharmonic Orchestra play Brahms 2nd Symphony, Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy and the Egmont Overture at St Mary in the Castle, 7 Pelham Crescent, Hastings TN34 3AF on Saturday 20 May at 7pm. Tickets £22.50, £17.50 and £10 (under 16s)