Music News - June 2019


I think that the best word to describe Easter at St Mary’s is ‘wow’. Our musicians really pulled out the stops this year. Easter week involved around 65 singers, 5 organists, 15 brass players, 1 viola player, 1 cellist, and 1 timpanist. The only person hired in from outside our congregation was the timpanist (let me know if we also have one in our congregation!).

Bravo Team St Mary’s!

Of the many services over this period I’d like to pick out some highlights. Maundy Thursday featured one of my all-time favourite motets – ‘Christus Factus Est’ by Bruckner. This motet, one so powerful, never fails to hammer home to me the significant and importance of Holy Week.

We all (and I include clergy and congregation here) gave a truly magnificent, wonderful and spiritual performance of the St John Passion by Bob Chilcott. This particular work was a first for us, and one which must sit as one of the most profound musical experiences I have had. During the Lenten period, the congregation sang the five towering hymns that constitute such a big part of Chilcott’s masterpiece. I sincerely hope that we will repeat the experience in the future. The eight soloists were drawn from the choir and my thanks go to them for taking the time and effort to learn these somewhat difficult and sometimes gargantuan parts.

Easter day, again, featured a large number of musicians. The great Easter hymns with brass never fail to achieve the ‘hairs up on the back of my neck’ experience. The yearly rendition of the ‘all in’ Hallelujah chorus is always another highpoint! Choral evensong featured Jenny Tominson’s farewell and the choir sang ‘Worthy is the Lamb’ from Handel’s Messiah. What a way to bring a conclusion to a truly memorable week in the life of our church.

I’d like to finish with a short quote by D. Bonhoeffer “Music…will help dissolve your perplexities and purify your character and sensibilities, and in time of care and sorrow, will keep a fountain of joy alive in you”. Thank you all so much for making this such a special week!

Oli King  
In addition to the above article from our Director of Music, we’d like to direct your attention to the 2019 organ recital season (already underway) and the 2019 Wednesday lunchtime concert series about to start:
Organ recitals:
Saturday 29th June at 7.30p.m. – Jeremy Allen (Saffron Walden)
Saturday 20th July at 3.00p.m. – Oliver King (Saffron Walden)
Saturday 5th October at 7.30p.m. – David Poulter (formerly Director of Music at Coventry, Chester and Liverpool Cathedrals)
Thursday 14th November 7.30p.m. (TBC) – Tome Olives (Menorca)
Wednesday Lunchtime concerts: Refreshments always available from 12.30p.m., with the concerts, which last around 40 minutes, starting at 1.10p.m.

May: 29th: Jeff Thomson (piano) with Richard Allaway (clarinet)
June: 15th: Stephen Penton – organ
12th: Martin Oinn (bass/baritone) with Jim Beston (piano)
19th: Caroline Catlin (soprano) with Oliver King (piano/organ)
26th: Students from Saffron Walden County High School
July: 3rd: St Mary’s Brass Quintet
10th: Anna Le Hair (piano) with Arwen Newband (violin)
17th: Diana Hoy (contralto) with Wendy Watts (piano)