Looking good for numbers on Monday…

… so we should be in for a full-throated session.

Don’t forget to grab your sheet music from here and have it printed out/saved to tablet ready for Monday’s session.

If you wanted to look at any of it in advance, then I’d recommend the Fevin, not because it’s my new favourite motet and therefore I’d love it if it sounded utterly amazing (although that would be a bonus), but because it’s a bit of a roller-skate piece: just when you think you’ve got your balance, the wheels go out from under you and you can end up on your backside.

That’s it – have a great weekend and see you Monday.




PDtP 12 sheet music is ready to go!

Download it from here, print if out or save it to tablet and bring it along on the night.

We have a good spread of works this month, mainly sacred, but with a couple of madrigals chucked in too.

I think it’s fair to say that many of them have been prepared without a scholarly attention to detail but hey, if you want a high level of editorial quality then go join the Cardinall’s Musick.

As always, you are very welcome to leave a comment below to let us know which ones you are looking forward to or indeed which ones are filling you with dread.

See you on Monday.



Concert recommendations

While you all no doubt have only one thing on your minds at the moment i.e. the next session of PDtP, I thought it worth pointing out a couple of other up-coming musical happenings that may be of interest.

On September 19th, the Wild Street Ensemble are putting on a ‘come and sing’ event, to include excerpts from some of the great Baroque choral works; details here. (I understand that they are running a 2-for-1 ticket promotion but you have to be quick as it expires today; see here for details.)

I haven’t yet heard these guys but I’m always keen to support young musicians just starting out on their careers so I hope that some of you may be able to get along to sing with them.

Another concert that I’d like to highlight is the debut of the Chineke! Orchestra at the QEH on September 13th, the day before our next PDtP.

Other performing arts, such as theatre, have come some way in addressing the issue of diversity (although frustratingly there’s still a long way to go) but if you are anything like me, you may have often wondered why the orchestras and ensembles that we love to hear and to support appear to have little or no ethnic diversity within their membership.

The Chineke! Foundation, set up by Chi-chi Nwanoku (founder member of the Orchestra of the Age of Englistenment and its Principal Double Bassist), is attempting to address this imbalance.

It’s better to let Chi-chi herself speak about the aims of the foundation (have a look here & also here) but I would like to do my bit by encouraging you all to attend what I have no doubt will be a truly superb concert, not least because it combines a contemporary work (Philip Herbert‘s Elegy) with the music of a largely forgotten composer (Samuel Coleridge-Taylor‘s Ballade for orchestra) and tops it all off with Beethoven’s apotheosis of the dance, Symphony No.7.

Tickets to the concert are going fast so I hope to see some of you there!



Not long now…

…till Polyphony Down the Pub crashes back into our lives on September 14th, like a constantly inebriated but ultimately entertaining friend.

A quick reminder that while it’s a drop-in session, you are still most welcome to nail your colours to the mast of HMS PDtP in advance, just in case it turns out we have enough men to sing Robert Carver’s O Bone Jesu. (You never know…)

Sign up here and don’t forget to invite your singing friends.



At last – new dates!

While it’s a little bit depressing to be thinking already about the end of summer, I am nonetheless pleased to announce the PDtP dates for Autumn 2015.

We kick off the new season on September 14th, specifically scheduled to ease the pain of the end of the Proms season.

On October 26th we celebrate our first anniversary with what will undoubtedly be a spectacular evening of musical (though probably not actual) fireworks.

Then on November 23rd we revisit the Spanish Golden Age with an exploration of the music of the Spanish and Portuguese masters.

December 14th is currently pencilled in as the date for our Christmas Special but please note that we won’t be able to confirm this until nearer the time.

As always, in addition to the masterworks of the 16th century, in each session we’ll be sticking in some 4 part marvels from the collection of Bach chorales, so don’t delay – sign up to each session now!



Final chance to hear some great music-making

I was very sad to learn yesterday that the future of the excellent Bach Vespers at St Mary-at-Hill is in doubt, following the news that Martin Knizia, the series’ director, is returning to Germany.

Knizia’s final Vespers, directing his Sweelinck Ensemble and some excellent singers, takes place this evening at 18:30; details here. 

Those of you who follow the PDtP Twitter feed will know that I have recommended these Vespers performances over the past few months so I urge you to ignore (nay, defy!) the rain and get yourself over to St Mary-at-Hill for your last chance to hear one of these very fine performances of the music of JSB.



Wow – now that’s what I call going out in style!

PDtP's summer sizzler

What a big, big finish to the season!

Many thanks to all who came, whether you dropped in for a quick motet or stayed to the bitter end – or perhaps I should say the end of the bitter, as we drank through a couple of casks of ale, apparently!

By my reckoning, we welcomed around 50 singers in all, which is by far the most popular session we’ve had in a long time. Whatever the number, you made a big sound, so much so that at times we drowned out the stereo downstairs.PDtP's summer sizzler 2

Thanks too to our wonderful guest conductors, Laura, Kathryn and Lucy, bravely standing up in front of a bunch of alcohol-fuelled singers and keeping you all in line.

We also made Twitter history (probably) by providing the world with the first live tweeting on the progress of a 16th Century motet – we truly are innovating in all sorts of incredibly useful ways.

Live tweets - , yes it really was that thrilling!
Live tweets – yes, it really was that thrilling!

We were fortunate to have 4 or 5 ‘audience members’ last night, all of whom were effusive in their praise for the sound you made, which is very nice to hear.

Oh, and by the way, if any of you are in choirs short on basses, send your recruiting officers around to PDtP as we have them in plentiful supply!

PDtP's summer sizzler 3

Highlights for me were of course BWV 437 (very well done for getting through it!), the Mouton Ave Maria and de la Rue’s Incessament; drop a comment below to let me know which numbers you particularly enjoyed.

We are taking a short break for the summer, during which we will research some more wonderful music for later in the year. Dates for September and October will be published towards the end of August so please keep an eye out for updates. (Don’t forget that we are also on Twitter: @pubpolyphony)

Looking further ahead, future themes will include the return of our Christmas Special, as well as sessions focussing on the Italian and Iberian Masters; we will also need something big for our 1st Birthday Extravaganza in October so please do drop us a line with your suggestions, including links to free sheet music whenever possible.

We’ll also be working with our non-London/SE friends to try to set up PDtP sessions elsewhere in the UK and internationally; I don’t know about you, but I am very excited by the prospect of a PDtP network!

Finally, if you enjoy PDtP, please do shout about us to all your singing friends as we want to welcome as many people as we can to these sessions!

Many thanks again to you all and look forward to seeing you after the break.


PS I’ll no doubt still be annoying you all with the odd post during the break and I’m always happy to hear your thoughts in return…