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Nigel Perrin

Nigel's Blog

New season, new challenges

Now launching into the new season with all four choirs! I love it! Very excited about up-coming repertoire – Bruckner's E minor Mass (CBBC) is a great favourite, though very demanding on the singers; also with CBBC, Britten's Missa Brevis, which I haven't done since I was a chorister at Ely Cathedral. It's quite interesting trying to re-create the 1950s 'continental' sound of the Westminster Cathedral boys under George Malcolm, with female adult singers!

In Exeter we're celebrating Britten's centenary with his St Nicolas and the Hymn to St Cecilia. For the same programme we're working at Jonathan Dove's song-cycle The Passing of the Year – a brilliant work for 8-part choir, piano and percussion which presents quite challenging poly-rhythms for amateur singers; I'm similarly quite challenged trying to get clarity and balance in Whitacre's Her sacred spirit soars with a choir of 65 – however, EFC makes a glorious sound as all 12 layers build up to the climax.

Talking of challenges – programme-building for a small chamber choir can be quite an adventure – everyone wants 'strap-lines' these days – so for Bath Camerata's concert on October 12 at Christchurch, Julian Road, Bath, I've gone for 'In Praise of Famous Women'... which means we can cover the Virgin Mary, St Cecilia, Elizabeth I, Sylvia (who?), Waltzing Matilda, Michelle and Mame! – from Morley to MacMillan via Britten and Shearing.

I spent a lot of time abroad during the summer – a programme of Vivaldi and Lajos Bardos in Budapest with RunBySingers was most enjoyable and a weekend singing in various historic courtyards in Aix-en-Provence – Musique dans la Rue – with Bath Camerata was huge fun, but there's more to come; a second visit to Aix, this time with CBBC, to perform in the Cathedral with the Darius Milhaud Choeur, a weekend in Munich conducting Mozart's Requiem (RBS) and a recce to north Spain to explore the possibility of organising a choral pilgrimage in 2015 along 'the road to Santiago' – inspired by the Monteverdi Choir's recording.

I'm looking forward to working with Jacqui Dankworth and the Band of the Royal Marines again in December, but next up is a workshop day at Chatsworth (Cavendish Hall) on October 5 exploring Mozart's beautiful Mass in C minor – I look forward to seeing you there!