Sir Hubert Parry’s Songs of Farewell will form part
of the programme from The Esterhazy Choir when they
perform their concert of Edwardian church music on Sunday
night. It promises to be a night of big, emotive anthems.
Parry’s Song of Farewell No. 4 gives a flavour of what’s
in store when it declares:
“There is an old belief, that on some solemn shore,
Beyond the sphere of grief, dear friends shall meet once more.”
Also on the programme will be Stanford’s Magnificat
in B flat; three additional motets from Stanford; Edward W.
Naylor’s Vox dicentis: clama (The voice of one saying,
cry out) a song one critic describes as having ‘rock-like
splendour’ and some Gershwin piano improvisations.
Joanna Stephens of The Esterhazy Choir states that
the choir’s uniqueness lies in the fact that “we
place a great emphasis on a cappella singing.” She adds
“we are all amateurs and work incredibly hard. This
concert is full of big trumpety anthems which are a joy to
sing.” Having taken its name from Haydn’s chief
patrons, the Esterhazy family, the Esterhazy
Choir was formed in 1993, comprises 24 singers and is based
in Lewes. The group’s repertoire spans four centuries
of sacred and secular music. A characteristic of the choir
is that it usually performs in 'quartets' rather than the
traditional blocks of singers in voice parts - a technique
designed to heighten both the audience's and the singers'
enjoyment of the music. KA