On Sunday 3rd September 2017, Icosa performed an Evensong and Recital at St Mary's Priory in Abergavenny.
We were invited to sing at the Festival of Liturgical Music, a new festival created by the Musical Director of St Mary's Priory, Tim Pratt. The festival was a week long and each day focussed on a different century of choral music, starting with Josquin and plainsong at the start of the week, moving through Tallis, Mendelssohn, Walmisley, Sumsion and others before arriving at the 21st Century on Sunday evening!
Those of you who are clued up on Icosa repertoire will remember that we've worked with Tim Pratt before. Luke met Tim through the Choral Public Domain Library (CPDL, a free online library of choral music) and performed his carol 'Nativity' in January 2016. Tim then went on to write us a fantastic piece for double choir - a setting of John Milton's 'When I Consider' that we performed in October 2016.
We met at Luke's house in West Byfleet to rehearse two days before the recital to get to grips with some interesting and varied new choral music. Luke's front room could just about fit all twelve of us in and rehearsals ran smoothly. We were lucky to have good weather which meant we were able to have food outside, prepared wonderfully by Luke's Mum, Maureen. It was lovely to spend a longer period of time together than the usual Icosa rehearsal schedules and we were able to catch up with both friends new and old over the weekend.
Well rehearsed and well fed, Icosa drove to Wales on Sunday morning, driven by members of the choir and Luke's friend (now Icosa staff!) Cameron Henderson-Begg. When we arrived at Abergavenny we rehearsed in the church - a great space for worship and music-making. A word of thanks must go to one of our basses, Jamie Conway, for stepping in to play the Organ in the Evensong at short notice!
Our evensong repertoire included Alex Woolf's Magnificat, Nils Greenhow's Nunc Dimittis, Tim Pratt's anthem 'When I Consider', and a new set of responses by Luke.
Our short recital focussed on three American Composers, Kala Pierson's fiery 'Sol Invictus', Michael Wolniakowski's lamenting 'The Silver Swan' and Nathan Fletcher's sublime arrangement of 'Deep River' https://soundcloud.com/nathanfletchermusic/deep-river We also sang some Icosa classics, 'The Parting Glass' by Shiv Pattni and the Half-time Canon of Tallis' If Ye Love Me, both of which went down very well with the audience.
The singers performed to an incredibly high level and we had great fun whilst singing together in Abergavenny. Both the evensong and recital were well received. In the process of performing, we ramped up the new piece count from 41 to 48 and have now performed music by 30 different living composers! Many thanks to Tim who organised the whole festival, he's also written us a glowing review below. We'd love to come back to Abergavenny in the near future.
Singers: Freya Turton, Miranda Ostler, Sarah Champion, Sarah Lucy Penny, Lydia Ward, Daniel Lewis, Ben Gutsell, Ben Munden, Jamie Conway, Jeremy Hubbard, David Valsamidis.