We need your help to raise £5,000 to fund Tenebrae’s next recording project – A Walk with Ivor Gurney – for release on Signum Classics. This exciting project also features the Aurora Orchestra, Dame Sarah Connolly (mezzo soprano) and Simon Callow (narrator).
“You couldn’t have asked for a better performance: plush choral sound, heartfelt solos… rich contributions from the Aurora Orchestra and all immaculately sculpted by Short.”
About A Walk with Ivor Gurney
Over two-thirds of musical compositions by Ivor Gurney are as yet unpublished and unrecorded. Through this project, you have an opportunity to help us champion Gurney’s extraordinary musical output whilst, in turn, commemorating the World War I centenary in 2018.
For those who automatically regard Gurney as a poet, it is worth bearing in mind that it was only at the outset of his military service in the Great War that any serious poetry-writing began; until then he was foremost a musician. Gloucester Cathedral, where Gurney was a boy chorister (1901-1906), was where Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis would be heard in the Three Choirs Festival of 1910; Gurney was in the audience. Yet Ivor's association with the finest composers of the era was to begin in earnest at the Royal College of Music where Stanford taught him as well as Vaughan Williams and Herbert Howells, the latter becoming a lifelong friend and a particular champion of his music, orchestrating much of it to increase its appeal. Indeed Stanford himself thought that Gurney was the most promising of all that generation of composers, but somewhat untameable.
Arnold's The Scholar Gipsy was a work which Vaughan Williams had longed to set since 1901, not coming to fruition as An Oxford Elegy until 1949. It is not difficult to hear a similar enchantment with the local pastoral scene in Ivor Gurney's own work, poetic and musical. His own Gloucestershire Rhapsody is perhaps a precursor in music to the delayed offering from Vaughan Williams.
A Walk with Ivor Gurney is a piece by Judith Bingham commissioned by Tenebrae in 2013 and subsequently performed at Gloucester Cathedral in September that year with the renowned mezzo-soprano Dame Sarah Connolly. There is something of a completeness and homecoming to the blend of Gurney’s own poetry with Latin inscriptions from Roman tombs in Gloucestershire in the musical setting by Judith Bingham. Here the strands of his accounts of the turmoil of war and a deep love for ‘his own’ county finds a current expression in this new work. Described as “inventive and magical” (***** Bachtrack), it makes for a very immediate connection with a man whose legacy might so easily fade away.
A Walk with Ivor Gurney demonstrates the strong connections which exist with the other composers in the interconnected repertoire featuring on this unique album:
BINGHAM: A Walk with Ivor Gurney
GURNEY: Since I Believe in God the Father Almighty
GURNEY (orchestrated by Finzi): Sleep
GURNEY (orchestrated by Howells): By a bierside
GURNEY (orchestrated by Howells): In Flanders
HOWELLS: Like as the Hart Desireth the Waterbrooks
VAUGHAN WILLIAMS: Valiant-for-Truth
VAUGHAN WILLIAMS: Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis
VAUGHAN WILLIAMS: An Oxford Elegy (with narration from Simon Callow)
VAUGHAN WILLIAMS: Lord thou hast been our refuge
Why we need your help?
The choir operates as a registered charity and Tenebrae’s achievements are only made possible by the generous support of our donors who believe in our innovative work. A recording project of this nature requires a big investment from the choir: Tenebrae is responsible for all the artist costs, with our colleagues at Signum Classics then producing, distributing and promoting the album for all over the world.
“Signum’s current roster includes many excellent ensembles but the choral jewel in the crown is surely Tenebrae – Nigel Short’s outstanding chamber choir.”
The album is due for release on Friday 19th October 2018 in advance of our launch concert at Wigmore Hall – Tenebrae’s debut at this prestigious venue – with Dame Sarah Connolly on Wednesday 24th October 2018. We have had the first sessions at St. Giles-without-Cripplegate Church in London in January and hope to complete the project with the final sessions in April 2018.
We have already received generous donations from individuals and the Vaughan Williams Trust, but we need your help to raise the final £5,000 before the recording session on 18th April 2018. By donating through this platform, you will also be invited to become a Tenebrae Friend or Patron. We are always eager to develop a lasting relationship with our donors and engage them through opportunities to see the benefits of their kind support through invitations to rehearsals, concerts, recording days and exclusive ‘behind the scenes’ opportunities. For accounting purposes, your donation will be recorded under unrestricted funds for the Tenebrae New Project Development Fund.
- 18th April 2018 – Final recording sessions, conducted by Nigel Short, with the Aurora Orchestra (recording Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis) and Dame Sarah Connolly (recording the settings of Gurney’s songs)
- 19th April 2018 – Crowdfunding campaign ends
- 19th October 2018 – A Walk with Ivor Gurney released worldwide on Signum Classics
- 24th October 2018 – Tenebrae launch concert and debut performance at Wigmore Hall featuring Dame Sarah Connolly (concert tickets featured in the rewards can be transferred to other Tenebrae performances)
“The standing ovation was one collective response... But to see people silenced, stopped in their tracks, in tears and hugging each other afterwards were other ways of conclusively showing that this was an extremely significant musical and spiritual event in people's lives.” Meurig Bowen (Director, Cheltenham Music Festival, 2007-2017)
“Choral music doesn’t get more magnificent than this.”
Described as “phenomenal” (The Times) and “devastatingly beautiful” (Gramophone Magazine), award-winning choir Tenebrae, under the direction of Nigel Short, is one of the world’s leading vocal ensembles renowned for its passion and precision.
Tenebrae has twice secured the award for ‘Best Choral Performance’ in the BBC Music Magazine Awards (2012 and 2016), and its recording of Fauré’s Requiem with the London Symphony Orchestra was nominated for the Gramophone Awards (2013). Music of the Spheres, Tenebrae’s album of part songs from the British Isles,received a Grammy nomination for ‘Best Choral Performance’ in 2018.
Tenebrae is renowned for its highly-acclaimed interpretations of choral music with repertoire ranging from the Renaissance through to contemporary choral masterpieces and has appeared at major festivals including the BBC Proms, Edinburgh International Festival and Montreux Choral Festival (Switzerland).
The 2017-18 season sees the return of Tenebrae’s popular Holy Week Festival at St John’s Smith Square, London, as well as concerts throughout the UK, Europe, USA and the choir’s debut in Australia.
‘Passion and Precision’ are Tenebrae’s core values. Through its continued dedication to performance of the highest quality, Tenebrae’s vision is to deliver dramatic programming, flawless performances and unforgettable experiences, allowing audiences around the world to be moved by the power and intimacy of the human voice.
Thank you for your support – we couldn’t do it without you!
Please make a pledge now and help us spread the word by sharing our campaign online via social media using the hashtag #TenebraeGurney and mentioning @TenebraeChoir.
If you have any questions about the campaign, or Tenebrae in general, please email [email protected].