Professional Vocal Ensemble St Martin’s Voices Announces 2022–23 Season
· A new concert series – Beyond the Dawn – comprising six concerts, will run from October 2022 to June 2023 exploring themes of philosophy and discovery with notable guest speakers reflecting on each concert
· St Martin’s Voices continues and expands its partnership with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields with three concerts in the 2022–23 season
· Summer Sessions – three digital concerts in August 2022, each programmed and introduced by a member of St Martin’s Voices
Today (17 June 2022), professional vocal ensemble St Martin’s Voices announce their new season for 2022–23.
St Martin’s Voices is one of the UK’s most versatile vocal ensembles, performing concerts on the international stage as well as giving regular BBC broadcasts and special services at London’s iconic St Martin-in-the-Fields. The ensemble performs regularly alongside the Academy of St Martin in the Fields and London Mozart Players and is featured in the Church of England’s online worship resources that have attracted over 2 million downloads.
Beyond the Dawn Concert Series
Running from October 2022 to June 2023, this new concert series comprises six hour-long concerts with programmes exploring universal themes of philosophy and discovery. Each concert is introduced by a short video reflection from a distinguished guest speaker, inspired by the theme of each programme. Speakers include historian Neil MacGregor, composer Roxanna Panufnik and human rights lawyer Philippe Sands.
The first concert of the series on Thursday 13 October 2022 – Serenade to Music – will feature the London Mozart Players and features works exploring the ethereal harmony of the music of the spheres by composers including Ralph Vaughan Williams, Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Ola Gjeilo and Caroline Shaw. This event is also the inaugural annual Patrons’ supported concert. Information about Patrons Circle can be found here.
Thursday 3 November 2022 sees St Martin’s Voices perform musical responses to injustice, searching for light in the darkness with Songs of Justice. The concert will begin with an introduction from human rights lawyer Philippe Sands. Works in this concert include pieces by James MacMillan, Philip Moore, Cecilia McDowall, Ērik Ešenvalds, Jessica Curry and Rhiannon Randle.
Unaccompanied choral works exploring creation stories are the theme of – In the beginning – on Thursday 16 February 2023 with music by Orlando Lassus, Aaron Copland, David Lang, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Karin Rehnqvist and Arvo Pärt.
An evening of madrigals both old and new form the programme for the concert – Fire-Songs – on Thursday 9 March 2023, where Morten Lauridsen’s Six Fire-Songs on Italian Renaissance Poems and Bob Chilcott’s Little Jazz Madrigals are paired with madrigals on themes of love, loss and yearning by Barbara Strozzi, Carlo Gesualdo, Luca Marenzio, Thomas Morley, Orlando Gibbons, John Dowland, John Wilbye and Thomas Vautour.
The fifth concert in the series on Thursday 4 May 2023, looks at the theme of Discoveries with works exploring science and technology. Eric Whitacre’s Leonardo Dreams of his Flying Machine features alongside Bob Chilcott’s Five Days that Changed the World, which explores the invention of printing, the abolition of slavery, the first powered flight, the discovery of penicillin and the first man in space. The programme is completed by Cecilia McDowall’s Photo 51 based on the image taken by Rosalind Franklin as part of the process of identifying the structure of DNA; Matthew Hindson’s setting of Pi; Melissa Dunphy’s The Apotheosis of Apollo on the 1969 moon landing; and Grace Brigham’s Discoveries, which weaves together quotes from female scientists throughout history, including Marie Curie, Florence Nightingale and Ada Lovelace.
The final concert in this series on Thursday 15 June 2023 is entitled I saw eternity and explores metaphysical poetry in choral and organ works, including a newly commissioned setting of ‘I saw eternity’ by Lucy Walker. The programme also includes works by Gerald Finzi, Jonathan Dove, Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Cecilia McDowall, Judith Weir, Roxanna Panufnik and Imogen Holst.
Further details of the speakers for these concerts will be announced in due course.
Partnership with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields
As part of the 2022–23 season St Martin Voices continues and expands its partnership with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields with three concerts, one in Autumn featuring Mozart’s Requiem (Saturday 19 November 2022), another at Christmas (Thursday 22 December 2022), and a concert on Good Friday (Friday 7 April 2023) with a performance of J.S. Bach’s St John Passion.
Summer Sessions and Lord of all hopefulness Digital Concerts
As part of St Martin’s Voices’ digital offering, there will be three Summer Sessions concerts available online and on demand, each programmed and introduced by a member of the ensemble. On Tuesday 9 August 2022, soprano Maisie Hulbert shares music on the themes of isolation and nature, drawing on repertoire she has found meaningful in her experience of conducting singing workshops in prisons. Tuesday 16 August 2022 sees soprano Susannah Hillexplore folksongs of the British Isles, through arrangements that reflect both her personal musical journey and our collective folk heritage. Finally, on Tuesday 23 August 2022, bass George Cook presents a selection of choral jazz and close-harmony arrangements inspired by some of his favourite artists and arrangers, offering the perfect tunes for a balmy summer evening. Further details on this series will be announced shortly.
Following the success of St Martin’s Voices’ UK tour in Autumn 2021 and more recently in Spring 2022, the Lord of all hopefulness tour programme will be available for all to watch as an online concert reflecting on themes of love, hope, joy and peace drawn from this much-loved hymn. Since the beginning of the pandemic, St Martin’s Voices has been proud to partner with the Church of England and the Royal School of Church Music to record music for churches to use in their online services at a time when congregational singing was prohibited and choirs unable to perform. One of the first pieces to be recorded as part of this project was the hymn Lord of all hopefulness, recorded the night before lockdown in a dimly lit St Martin-in-the-Fields. These recordings have gone on to attract more than 2 million views across digital platforms. The digital concert is available to watch now until 31 August 2022.
Following on from this project, St Martin’s Voices will deliver performances and recordings as part of a residency on Holy Island 10 – 11 September 2022, creating material for the Church of England’s Daily Prayer app.
Andrew Earis, Director of Music at St Martin-in-the-Fields said: ‘St Martin’s Voices continues to go from strength to strength and this season we are particularly proud to be able to champion our individual singers through the digital concerts programmed and led by members of the ensemble. Our singers are at the heart of what we do, and this is a wonderful opportunity for them to let their personalities shine through into our music-making. Another long-standing and integral part of St Martin’s Voices’ concerts is pairing music with spoken word. This season sees us build on this heritage with notable speakers giving personal reflections on the themes of each of our Beyond the Dawn concerts. St Martin’s Voices are proud to champion established and emerging living composers with new music and commissions throughout our 2022–23 season, whilst also drawing on the rich musical legacy spanning works from the Renaissance to the 20th century. We do hope you will be able to join us for what will prove to be a fascinating and entertaining season.’
For further information on St Martin’s Voices concert series, visit smitf.org/stmartinsvoices.
Photo © Lia Vittone