What am I listening to? May 2017


<Apologies for the delay. Time and tide (and exams) wait for no-one>

Welcome back to "What am I listening to?" - a series in which I briefly talk about some of the music that has my attention of my mind at this time.

No.1 - A Little Jazz Mass by Bob Chilcott

A most original work, I first came across this Mass in a rehearsal in my chapel choir at the Old Royal Naval College. Jazz seems to be one of Ralph Allwood's other passions, aside from conducting choirs, and this one took hold of me as well!

The same could be said of Bob Chilcott himself - during his career with the King's Singers, he collaborated with many great artists such as Richard Rodney Bennett, John Dankworth, George Shearing, and many others. This combination of flavours lends itself to this piece, which was written for the Crescent City Choral Festival in 2004. (source: OUP website <https://tinyurl.com/ycesbuam>)

This section of the mass, the Sanctus, is sung by the Wellensian Consort conducted by Christopher Finch, and joined by the Will Todd trio along with the pianist Gemma Beeson.

No.2 - Piano Concerto No.1, by Dimitri Shostakovich

This quirky 1933 work by my favourite Soviet composer fills me with adrenaline every time I hear it. This work, interestingly, was originally going to be a concerto for Trumpet and Strings, but it eventually morphed in to it's current form with the piano and the aforementioned instruments. It is full to the brim of references and musical jokes (for those of you who know your Beethoven concerti, listen to the reference to the Cadenza in the last movement - you'll get a nice giggle from how Shostakovich treats it!).

The recording below of the fourth movement is played by Anna Vinnitskaya, who directs the Kamerata Baltica from the keyboard, and is joined by Tobias Willner on the trumpet.


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