"Celebrating our 40th Anniversary"
August 2008 Celebrating our 40th Anniversary A key part of the group’s anniversary celebrations were two concerts in the UK, at which all but two former members of The King’s Singers were present. At Cadogan Hall on 30th April, on the eve of the anniversary, trademark folk, jazz and pop songs some accompanied by the Daryl Runswick jazz trio - entertained the audience. The “old boys” joined us on stage for an unique performance of Paul Patterson’s Timepiece. Back to where it all began On May 1st, 40 years to the day after our first professional engagement, BBC Radio 3 recorded a concert in King’s College Chapel, in which we were joined by the College choir and Stephen Cleobury. This beautiful concert included the première of two pieces by Bob Chilcott. High Flight and A Thanksgiving provided the perfect end to a very atmospheric evening. Former King’s Singer Alastair Thompson wrote afterwards, “The concert in London was fun, and it was kind of you to sing us so many old favourites; the concert in King’s was a great occasion: you surpassed yourself with masterly singing of a superb programme, which had a large and very discerning audience hanging onto every note and chord. This was vocal chamber music of the highest order, each voice playing its part in weaving the tapestry with delicacy and accuracy, and I found myself profoundly moved by the end, by the music as well as with the thought that we had started something so worthwhile all those years ago. Many thanks to you all.” The BBC Proms 40th Anniversary celebrations continue with a late-night Prom concert in London's Royal Albert Hall. It features madrigals and folksongs from England and France, some Victorian parlour songs as well as John McCabe’s wonderful commission Scenes in America Deserta. The one hour show on Tuesday 5th August at 10.15pm will also be broadcast live on Radio 3 and recorded for television transmission on BBC4 with highlights shown on BBC2. New look website now incorporating a shop An updated website has gone live this year, with a fresh look and photography by Marco Borggreve. As well as information on the group such as an up-to-date concert schedule, and news from the group in the form of blogs, there are two innovations: firstly, the introduction of our two-tier Friends Club, and secondly the opening of a one-stop shop for CDs, DVDs, sheet music and more. Simple to use, well-stocked, and competitively priced, it has never been easier to buy the group’s new releases and some of our older albums. Photos: Alexander MacNaughton www.kingssingers.com New Albums No fewer than five new CDs have been released so far this year. “The Golden Age Siglo de Oro” contains Hispanic renaissance music from Spain, Portugal and Mexico. The reviews have been unanimous in their praise: Here are all aspects of the singers’ impeccable diction, phrasing, blend, balance, and expressive nuance are on display, absolutely clear and with pleasing natural presence. Classics Today No coffee or whisky blend matches the suavity of the unaccompanied King’s Singers. The music is centred on death; but where there is beauty there is life. The London Times Emotionally charged yet immaculate execution, includes unmissable performances of Lobo’s Lamentations, and Versa est in luctum. Classic FM Magazine Coinciding with the actual 40th anniversary date, May 1, “Simple Gifts” was released. This album of 16 unique, spiritual, pop and folksong arrangements marks a welcome return to a studio environment for the group. It has already hit the iTunes chart in the USA. The fan mail has been pouring in too: “I recently obtained “Simple Gifts” and believe it to be the very best CD the guys have ever released. Quite a statement, given the incredible catalogue of the KS over the years, but it really is just that good. If we were back in the old days of the LP, I could honestly say that I would have worn out the grooves on my copy!” A.B., Brussels, Belgium Symphony Hall, Birmingham (UK) with the NYC and Eric Whitacre. Commissions The famous sound, tuning and blend of The King’s Singers has attracted many composers to write for the group. This year, we have already given world première performances of new works by Eric Whitacre and Bob Chilcott. On 12th April at Symphony Hall Birmingham, the group performed the American composer Eric Whitacre’s new work, ‘The Stolen Child’, jointly commissioned for The King’s Singers’ 40th anniversary and the National Youth Choir’s 25th anniversary. Former King’s Singer, Bob Chilcott, composed two new works for our anniversary concert in King’s College Cambridge. There are other new works in the pipe line. On Friday, 21st November, at the last concert in the 2008 Cadogan Hall Anniversary Series, we will give the première of an adaptation of Michael Nyman’s ‘A Handshake in the Dark’. Based on letters written by an Iraqi poet to his brother who was a prisoner to the Americans during the first Gulf War, it will be one of a number of pieces that evening inspired by the political and physical landscape. Other composers currently working with the group include American Patricia van Ness and Englishman Ivan Moody. Competition Time! Win a copy of “Simple Gifts” by correctly identifying who won our recent game of bowling during some “down time” between concerts. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org with your answer and address and the first three correct entries will be sent a copy of our new album. Two new recordings in schedule The next recording for Signum Classics is Romance du Soir, an album of French, German and English music. The music is connected by themes of love and the day’s end, and includes pieces by Saint-Saëns, Brahms, Elgar, renaissance composers and a King’s Singers commission from R. Murray Shafer on the Tristan and Iseult story. It is scheduled for release in February 2009 and is also a concert programme. Following the success of ‘The Quiet Heart’, another album of Salvation Army songs is being recorded on the SP&S label. This disc is expected to be available before Christmas. www.kingssingers.com Friends Club Enter your email address in the “Our Friends Club” box towards the bottom left of our webpages at www.kingssingers.com to become a friend of The King’s Singers. We will stay in touch, keeping you up to date with news, concert dates, sheet music, CD and DVD releases and broadcasts. Our VIP membership helps to support the many commissions we give to established and young composers. VIP Friends receive invitations to rehearsals, discounts in the shop, special offers and The King’s Singers tie/lapel pin. See the Friends page of the website. New Music Book - The 40th Anniversary Collection A new collection of our most popular arrangements has been published by Hal Leonard. Songs like Danny Boy, All I Ask of You and Blackbird date from earlier in the group’s history but are still performed regularly the world over. There are new arrangements too such as Down to the river, Under the sea and Africa which have established themselves in the repertoires of many of the ensembles taught by the groups on their travels. The songs are: Africa All I ask of you Blackbird Danny boy Down to the river to pray The little drummer boy The long day closes Lullabye (goodnight my angel) Penny Lane Rise up, shepherd, and follow Swing low, sweet chariot Under the sea Invitation to VIP friends You are invited to come to Cadogan Hall, London, as our guest at the rehearsal and concert on 21st November. Personal invitations will be issued shortly. Simple Gifts Book An eagerly-awaited collection of arrangements to accompany our new album ”Simple Gifts” is on the way. Published by Hal Leonard and available in the autumn, it features the arrangements of both Bob Chilcott, Philip Lawson and Peter Knight. This book will have a dozen pieces including both of the double-choir tracks on the album, You can close your eyes by James Taylor, and a perennial King’s Singers favourite, You are the new day. Christmas album and DVD with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir - Rejoice and Be Merry! Last Christmas a concert was recorded during our visit to Salt Lake City as guests of the renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Featuring a capella tracks alongside new arrangements made for The King’s Singers, the Tabernacle Choir and the Orchestra at Temple Square by Mark Wilberg. The show, which took place in the 21,000-seat auditorium, will be available as a CD and DVD. It will also be broadcast nationwide across the USA and is expected to be the most-watched PBS programme of the year. CD Collections The 40th anniversary has been celebrated by our record company Signum Classics, and by former company EMI. EMI have both a 2- and 5-disc compilation set drawn from across their back-catalogue, whilst Signum have released a 5-disc set of recent albums: Gesualdo’s Tenebrae Responsories, Treason & Dischord (William Byrd and the Gunpowder Plot), Spem in Alium, Landscape & Time, and Six. www.kingssingers.com Touring With such a lot to celebrate in 2008 the concert schedule has expanded to a little over 130 dates in 17 countries during the year. Nineteen of those performances take place in the UK, but the group also visit the USA, Canada, Mexico, Latvia, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Austria, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Hungary, France, Taiwan, South Korea and China. Highlights to come include performances at the Three Choirs Festival and the Proms, at the Salle Gaveau in Paris, in Berlin’s Philharmonie and New York City’s Carnegie Hall. Full details of all the concerts in 2008 are available from the website’s calendar. Coming Up 4 Aug Three Choirs Festival, Tewkesbury Abbey, UK 5 Aug BBC Prom, Royal Albert Hall, UK 3-5 Sept Recording a new disc for the Salvation Army 7 Sept Festival International de Sion, Switz 8-18 Sept Poland Tour 19 Sept Woerlitz, Germany 20 Sept Brescia, Italy 25 Sept St. Paul’s School, London 26 Sept Windsor Castle, Windsor Festival, UK 28 Sept Eastbourne Victorian Festival A few of the highlights thereafter include a trip to Scandinavia in early October. 20 Oct Salle Gaveau, Paris, France 24 Oct The Sage, Gateshead, UK 12 Nov Berlin, Philharmonie, Germany 21 Nov Cadogan Hall, London, UK 19, 20 Dec Carnegie Hall, New York, US Contact Us If you would like to discuss inviting the group to perform a concert or make a recording, please contact our General Manager, Claire Long on +44 (0) 1753 646 100 or email Claire@kingssingers.com. If you would like to get in touch with us individually, please email us at: David@kingssingers.com Robin@kingssingers.com Paul@kingssingers.com Philip@kingssingers.com Christopher@kingssingers.com Stephen@kingssingers.com If you would like to join the Friends of The King’s Singers, email email@example.com. If you have a general message or a query please email firstname.lastname@example.org. For concert dates, to buy recent recordings, read our news and blogs or to see the history of the group, visit our website. www.kingssingers.com