Dates, updates & a bit of housekeeping

A quick heads-up to let you know that January’s Counterpint in the Cafe will be on Continue reading Dates, updates & a bit of housekeeping


#PDtPBirthday 2017 Setlist Part 4: Prepare for imminent brain-melt

On and on it trundles, the #PDtPBirthday setlist (see here for yesterday’s update). Here are a couple more stunners for you.

February 2017

Don’t fall off your chairs, but I’ve picked Continue reading #PDtPBirthday 2017 Setlist Part 4: Prepare for imminent brain-melt

Public performance opportunity alert!

Southbank Winter Festival set 

I know, I know, one of our mottos is It’s Not a Rehearsal, Not a Performance but at Christmas we make an exception and take London’s Favourite Night of Renaissance Motets & Booze!™ to an actual audience.

We have a 25 minute gig at the prime spot of the Southbank Centre’s Riverside Terrace Cafe on the evening of Tuesday December 6th, as one of Voicelab’s Winter Festival Pop-Up Choirs.

We’ll be singing to the public some of the highlights of previous yuletide setlists, including the Victoria O magnum mysterium, the H. Praetorius Joseph lieber and the Gesius/Bach In Dulci Jubilo.

If you’d like to be considered for the event, you’ll need to be able to:

  • attend an hour’s rehearsal at 5.45pm on December 5th (immediately before the Christmas PDtP session; see below) in the Horse and Stables pub
  • commit to learning the music beforehand and coming to the rehearsal fully prepared
  • be at the Southbank Centre at 5.45pm on the evening of December 6th.

If you can do all of the above, fill in this form:

Please note that we will have limited space at the venue and will need to balance the voices, so we may not be able to accommodate everyone who wants to take part – but we’ll do our darndest! (I’m also looking into one more performance opportunity later in December so don’t be too upset if you miss out on this one.)

PDtP Christmas 2016

The booking for our regular Christmas PDtP session goes live at 5pm on Friday November 25th, with the remaining spaces becoming available at 9am the next day.

As last year, we’ll be collecting for the Royal Voluntary Service on the night. Suggested donation is £5 per singer, though please give more if you can.

(If you’re picked for the Southbank gig on the 6th then you’ll automatically be given a spot at the session, but please bear in mind the donation requirement.)

That’s it for now – looking forward to seeing some of you on Monday at our November PDtP session.



Treat yourself to some free Bach this Sunday

Almost a year ago I posted a mournful note to say that the excellent Bach Vespers series in St Mary at Hill was coming to an end, owing to the imminent departure of director Martin Knizia.

As we know, a lot can happen in a year.* Following Knizia’s return to Germany, the singers and players of the Vespers series decided to keep the series going and so, 12 months on, the City Bach Collective go from strength to strength, continuing to provide excellent, pared-down and conductorless performances of Bach cantatas as part of a Lutheran vespers service.

What this means is that you get not only an appropriate cantata for the Sunday but also related chorale preludes, plus motets and other music by Bach’s contemporaries and predecessors.

The services are free (donations welcome) and are a fantastic opportunity to hear Bach’s sacred music in a context that he would have recognised.

The final Vespers before their summer break is this Sunday:

BWV 105 is a wonderful piece, not least because of the extraordinary closing chorale in which the agitated, restless figures of the accompanying instruments gradually become slower and calmer in line with the chorale text; it’s one of my favourite movements in all of Bach’s music.

I really do recommend going along, to hear some excellent singing and playing – as an added bonus, Martin Knizia is visiting as guest organist – and to support these marvellous musicians in their dedication to continuing this fine tradition.



*To be fair, a lot seems to happen on an hourly basis at the moment.


Sheet music for PDtP 14 is now ready…

so grab it from the usual place.

No Bach chorales this month, as we are focusing purely on the Iberian Renaissance masters.

Victoria, Guerrero, Morales & Lobo are of course well represented on Team Spain, along with Encina & Esquivel. Meanwhile, Portugal will be fielding Lôbo, Cardoso & Cristo.

For a bit of variety, we’ve also stuck in a motet by Padilla, who was born in Spain but lived and worked for most of his life in Mexico.

I’ve included Victoria’s stunning double-choir Alma Redemptoris Mater, though we’ll need to figure out on the night if we have the numbers to do it justice.

If you are coming, don’t forget to sign up here.