Our December concert in Carver Church, Windermere has sold out.
Great news for us, but not for those still wanting a ticket. We have set up a waiting list in case of ticket returns. If you would like to register, please contact email@example.com leaving your email address or mobile number ( or both).
Our next performance is on Saturday 30 March at 4.00 pm in St John’s Church Silverdale - “Tenebrae”: music for Holy Saturday.
This will be a short concert ( about 45 minutes) featuring music by Gesualdo, Victoria and others. Retiring collection.
Informal events - a group of Levens singers will be singing seasonal music at Beetham garden centre on Friday 8 December between 11 and 12.30, and at Levens Hall on Sunday 17 December between 2 and 4.
Hope to see you at one or more of these events. Best wishes,
All at Levens.
We are delighted to bring you details of our new programme for 2023/2024. Check out our website and Facebook page for updates. Please do pass on this newsletter to anyone who may be interested in our events.
December Sunday 10 December 7.30 pm at Carver Church, Lake Road, Windermere LA23 2DB
"A European Christmas" conducted by Gawain Glenton.
In this programme spanning the 16th to 20th centuries, we include music from the four corners of Europe including Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, Catalonia, Spain (Cancionero de Upsala), France, Venice, and Ukraine. Featuring well-known names and some less familiar - Sweelink, Praetorius, Gabrieli, Nordqvist, Grieg, Rachmaninov, and Poulenc (Quatre motets pour le temps de Noël) - our linguistic skills are about to be stretched to the limit as the choir will sing in 7 languages (not simultaneously obviously and excluding English!). This is a hugely varied programme full of contrasts.
March Saturday 30th 4 pm St John's Church Silverdale. LA5 0RH
"Tenebrae": Music for Holy Saturday. Conducted by Gawain Glenton.
A short concert (45 minutes) of music by Gesualdo, Victoria and others.
April Saturday 27th 7.30 pm, St Thomas Church, Stricklandgate, Kendal LA9 4QG
Sunday 28th 3.00 pm Lancaster Cathedral, Balmoral Road, Lancaster LA1 3BT
Vivaldi motets. Conducted by Gawain Glenton
The programme for these two concerts consists of a set of Vivaldi motets. These are rarely performed and should be of great interest to those interested in early music as well as lovers of Vivaldi's music. With a soloist and 18 piece band playing period instruments, these promise to be memorable events.. More information to follow.
July Sunday 7th afternoon St Oswald's Church, Main Street, Warton, Carnforth LA5 9PG
Bruckner, and Brahms. Conducted by Gawain Glenton.
In complete contrast to our April concerts, and in celebration of the 200th anniversary of his birth, we will explore the music of Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) together with compositions by his contemporary Johannes Brahms. More information to follow.
Tickets can be purchased on-line or at the door or from choir members. Students and children - tickets are free.
We look forward to seeing you again at one or more of these events. Please spread the word ...!
What the reviewers said ... recent concerts: -
July 2023 Warton. “A virtuoso display of choral music of the highest quality”
March 2023 Grange over Sands. “The result is homogeneous and sonorous and the audience was drawn in by the sincerity and depth of the music, sung with serious attention to detail, care with the language and committed communication.“
March 2023 Kendal. “The ensemble at full throttle was spine tingling”
December 2022 Windermere. “John Tavener’s The Lamb … looks innocuous but is not easy to sing, and the choir captured its beauty.”
July 2022 Kendal. “Few amateur choirs can produce bass bottom D drones and soprano top B naturals and yet Levens managed this with consummate ease. “
April 2022 Lancaster. “Monteverdi’s Domine ne in furore gave the choir the chance to demonstrate its skills, providing a lovely round, rich sound, helped by the sympathetic acoustics”
"The latest performance by the Levens Choir under the direction of Gawain Glenton featured music by two composers separated by four centuries, William Byrd (1543-1623) and Benjamin Britten (1913-1976). The entirely unaccompanied concert in the acoustically-splendid St Oswald’s Church, Warton, was very well attended by an appreciative audience who were given a virtuoso display of choral music of the highest quality.
The evening began with Byrd’s 1590 anthem ‘Sing Joyfully’, a text drawn from Psalm 81; a bright, cheerful start with clear notes and harmonies and lovely dynamics. We then moved on to the first two parts of Byrd’s Mass for Four Voices, the Kyrie and Gloria - a more measured pace with strong base lines in the Gloria underpinning the harmonies and the alto section shown off to good advantage in this classic Tudor Renaissance piece.
Glenton cleverly split the Mass here, interposing Britten’s Advance Democracy, giving a huge contrast to the previous works. This dramatic warning of the gathering war clouds in Europe (written in 1938) uses melismatic sections laid over abrupt, jackboot-like utterances from the other voices and switches from major to minor keys bringing a feeling of threat and danger.
We then went back to Byrd’s Mass for the Credo and the perfect counterpoint to the horror of war. The sharp harmonies were particularly well shown by the sopranos in this expression of the spirit of faith with the tenors lending fulsome support.
The first half concluded with a rendering of Britten’s Five Flower Songs (op 47 of 1950). This song cycle, with elements of Elgar and Parry, provided the choir with a real challenge to which they rose magnificently. The contrast between the light touch required for To Daffodils to the almost menacing, slightly discordant harmonies of Marsh Flowers and the lyrical The Evening Primrose were handled with aplomb.
The second half began with Britten’s Deus in Adjutorium, his setting of Psalm 70 written in 1944-5 for a radio play. A rousing opening piece, delivered crisply and with precision. The sopranos were particularly prominent and the central canon was expertly performed.
Then came perhaps the best-known work of the evening, Byrd’s gorgeous Ave Verum Corpus. He wrote this in about 1605 but the original dates from the 13th century. The rich harmonies rang through the delightful acoustics of St Oswald’s with great balance and clarity. A quite superb rendition.
Then came, for your reviewer, the pièce de résistance of the evening; Britten’s A Hymn to the Virgin. Written when the composer was only 16, this minor masterpiece is a dialogue between two sections of the choir, one singing in Latin, the other in English. Glenton split the singers to opposite ends of the church; simple but magically effective. Absolutely divine.
The concluding two parts of the Mass for Four Voices then followed, the Sanctus and Agnus Dei, with the full choir together again and in full voice. Despite the relative small number of male voices in the choir the balance was perfect, well shown in these pieces. The finale of the Agnus was quite beautiful.
Two short Byrd compositions followed; Even from the Depth, from Psalm 130, written about 1558, and Look Down O Lord, from 1614 - the latter from a collection entitled ‘In the teares or lamentacions of a sorrowfull soule’. Delightful cameos perhaps reflecting Byrd’s more introspective nature.
Which set us up for the grand finale - Britten’s Hymn to St. Cecilia, op. 27, based on Auden’s poem. The choir supported the excellent soloists (Lucy Crispin, Sally Dickens, Rose Jones, John Ward and Charlie Lewis) in this tribute to the patron saint of musicians (Britten was born on St. Cecilia’s day) to bring the wonderful evening to a rousing close, reflected in long and appreciative applause."
Steve Porter, 10 July 2023
The last concert of our 2022/23 season is fast approaching.
On Saturday 8 July at St Oswald Church, Warton, Carnforth Levens Choir will perform a programme of music by two extraordinary Elizabethans, William Byrd and Benjamin Britten. Full of variety, beauty and interest, the programme includes many familiar pieces such as the exquisite Mass for Four Voices, Ave Verum Corpus and Sing Joyfully by Byrd, Hymn to St Cecilia and Hymn to the Virgin by Britten, as well as other perhaps less well-known works such as Britten's Five Flower Songs and Advance Democracy. Conductor Gawain Glenton.
We hope you will be able to join us. The concert starts at 7.30 pm and tickets are £15 (available on line and at the door). Please be aware that parking in Warton can be tricky, so it is advisable to arrive early.
A peek at next year's season ...
- in December we will be in Windermere with a programme of Christmas music from Europe.
- we are very excited at the prospect of our April concerts. We will perform twice, in Lancaster and Kendal, a programme of Vivaldi motets, accompanied by a group of early music players.
Further information on the next season will be provided in the following newsletter.
Best wishes for a good summer, and thanks for your continuing support from all of us at Levens Choir!
If you are free on Saturday or Sunday, why not join us for an evening of Bach and Arvo Pärt?
Levens Choir will be performing on Saturday 25th in St George's' Parish Church in Kendal, and on Sunday 26th in Victoria Hall, Grange over Sands. Both concerts start at 7.30.
Our programme includes sublime music by three of the Bach family - JS, JC and JM - and Arvo Pärt (including The Deer's Cry and Nunc Dimitis) plus a little Gorecki. Conducted by Gawain Glenton, we will be accompanied by Christopher Stokes, the organist of Manchester Cathedral. Tickets on-line or at the door..
We hope to see you there!
Thank you for subscribing to our mailing list. We are currently putting the final touches to our programme for the 2022/23 season. It promises to appeal to a very broad church, with a variety of music for early music enthusiasts, contemporary music enthusiasts and those in between. As well as regular concerts, we plan to offer several Come & Sing workshops; previous days have been very well received..
Please find below details of our first concert of the season. We hope to welcome you again to one or more of our events.
Levens Choir, conducted by Gawain Glenton
Tuesday 13 December 7.30 pm. At Carver Church, Lake Road, Windermere, LA23 2DB
"Christmas past, Christmas present"
A programme of Christmas music from the British Isles from 16th to 21st century. This will will include pieces by, among others, Byrd, Tye and Tallis, Parry and Sullivan, McDowall, Tavener and McMillan.
Ticket information on the choir website - sales on-line, from choir members and on the door.
Table of Contents