The Handful Chamber Choir – Revolution

The Handful Chamber Choir – Revolution

St Mary’s Church, Bathwick


The Handful Chamber Choir

BRITTEN Advance, Democracy!

SHOSTAKOVICH Excerpts from Ten Poems on Texts by Revolutionary Poets

HOLST Nunc dimittis

McDOWALL A fancy of folksongs

DOVE The Passing of the Year


PEARSALL Lay a Garland

MAUERSBERGER Wie liegt die Stadt

Advance, Democracy! is a hot-blooded exhortation to advance political change from an idealistic young composer, and a piece of unabashed political propaganda. In it, Britten paints a dark picture of the threat of dictatorship if democracy doesn’t ‘rise up and cry that what our fathers fought for we’ll not allow to die’.

Ten Poems on Texts by Revolutionary Poets by Shostakovich shows a different side to the apparently sardonic composer of the 5th Symphony, or the glitter of his Jazz Suites. These settings of socialist poems are dark, dramatic and at times operatic. Mauersberger’s Wie liegt die Stadt is a heart-breaking response to the bombing of Dresden by the conductor of the famous Dresdner Kreuzchor – ‘how desolate lies the city that was once so full of people!

Tackling a revolution of a different kind, Dove’s The Passing of the Year meditates on the way in which the year shapes humanity, and more broadly – shapes our relationship with nature. At this moment of climate emergency, it’s more relevant than ever. A selection of gorgeous, thought-provoking and reflective pieces by Cecilia McDowall, Vaughan Williams, Pearsall and Holst complete this fascinating programme.

The Handful has enjoyed an enviable reputation as one of the most exciting, vibrant and adventurous chamber choirs in and around Bath. Founded in 2002 as ‘A Handful of Singers’, the choir started out as a small group of experienced singers. Since then the choir has grown both in size (to 24 singers) and in stature. Now with Tomos Watkins at the helm, The Handful has entered a new phase as a forward-looking choir, always enthralling audiences with its fine sound and imaginative programming, and always seeking to leave them captivated.

‘I found myself transfixed by the sheer beauty of their singing and the depth of their understanding’ Bath Chronicle, Feb 2019

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