News
Keeping you updated with the latest news
 

2022

1 March 2022
Song for Ukraine
21 February 2022
#22for22 Update
7 February 2022
The Armed Man

2021

16 December 2021
#22for22 is launched
4 December 2021
Christmas is Back! with a brassy bang!
6 November 2021
714 Days... Back in Concert
27 October 2021
660 Days... We're Back
4 October 2021
Annual General Meeting
1 August 2021
2021/22 Season Launched
7 June 2021
Expanding the Canon
18 May 2021
Live Singing started ... stopped
17 May 2021
Fridays and the Future
14 April 2021
Virtual Video
12 April 2021
Summer in the Alps
26 March 2021
Fridays at Four - Spring Done
9 March 2021
International Women's Day
22 February 2021
Cooking up a Feast
12 February 2021
Centenary Classics
11 January 2021
Classical Classics

2020

31 December 2020
Christmas Choral Alphabet
17 December 2020
Christmas Singing and Quiz
4 December 2020
Experts - Angel, Nun, and Priest
2 November 2020
Concerto for Ten
22 October 2020
Virtual AGM
14 September 2020
How can I keep from singing?
7 September 2020
An Angel, a Nun, and a Red Priest
29 August 2020
Choral Alphabet reaches 3000
27 July 2020
Virtual Quiz Time
1 July 2020
Our MD begins with RLSBC
8 June 2020
Howells in Lockdown
9 March 2020
Committee Changes
9 January 2020
New Appointment for our MD
6 January 2020
Choral Evensong in Oxford

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

 

Berlioz Requiem : a NBC first

Last Saturday the Northampton Bach Choir mounted their first performance of Berlioz’s Grande Messe des Morts, commonly known as the Requiem. NBC have taken part in a performance before, a number of years ago, but this was the first time they have done it “solo” (though, as you will read, they were hardly alone!).

Choir, Orchestra, Timpanists, Soloist, Conductor, and Brass Band - 180 performers!

This was surely the grandest performance mounted in St Matthew’s Church for many years - the chorus and large orchestra were supported by no fewer than seven timpanists playing fourteen kettledrums, and the complete forces of Rushden Town Band, divided into the four corners of the building. And that’s before you’ve even thought about the colossal solo voice of Ben Thapa!
 
The Choir and Orchestra in Rehearsal

This performance required a huge commitment from our Musical Director and committee, not least our Concerts Manager, in booking all the players, organising the rehearsals, creating custom vocal scores for the choir to fully involve the altos (who Berlioz didn’t consider all that much!), teaching the French pronunciation of Latin, reorchestrating the orchestral parts to accommodate a slightly reduced woodwind session, and totally reorchestrating the brass parts to suit the specific constraints of the British Brass Band.

As you can see from the photos, we had a huge number of performers - just over 180 in all - and the very large audience got all the decibels from all directions - it was staggering! The feedback we have received already has been full of praise, though perhaps next-time we ought to provide audience members near each corner of the building with ear defenders for the force of the brass!

Lee’s T-Shirt - I Love Berlioz
 
Lee conducting the bands in all four corners of the building

This concert was the first in our <B> series, which continues next term with Brahms’s Requiem, then onto our 80th anniversary performance of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis (another NBC first), then to Bach’s St John Passion, and finishing next summer with Bruckner’s Mass in E minor and Motets.
 

The "preview": I had no expectations, but one Choir member said, "Be ready for lots of kettledrums".

The reality: A magnificent and truly surprising evening - Lee masterfully in control, the hard-working Choir never better, the orchestra (including those kettledrums) superb, the soloist memorable and sound... everywhere! (And the programme notes were a delight as well!)

I sat next to a "I'm not really a Berlioz fan", but she surely was by evening's end. I'm already looking forward to the next B (for Brahms) on 23rd November.

Gary Shaeffer, Friend