English Chamber Choir with Rick Wakeman

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English Chamber Choir with Rick Wakeman

Conductor – Guy Protheroe
Piano – Rick Wakeman

Brahms – Requiem op. 45
Wakeman – New commission choral work
and a potpourri of Wakeman gems

The English Chamber Choir came into existence, apparently and appropriately, in a pub! This was sometime in 1972, following a rehearsal of the London Symphony Orchestra and London Symphony Chorus. David Measham, then principal violinist with the Orchestra, was just embarking on a second career as a conductor and one of his first appointments was as conductor of the Hertfordshire Chamber Orchestra, in succession to its founder, Andrew (now Sir Andrew) Davis. He was also to conduct some of the LSO’s more ‘commercial’ engagements. In both cases, he was soon to need a choir, and he found an enthusiastic response from singers of the LSC who were keen to explore both the chamber choir repertoire and the opportunities to perform ‘symphonic rock’, then in its heyday.

The Choir’s earliest engagements included Haydn’s Nelson Mass, Faure’s Requiem and Kodaly’s Laudes Organi with Hertfordshire Chamber Orchestra, and live performances at the Rainbow Theatre, Finsbury Park, of the rock-opera Tommy with The Who. These were followed by Rick Wakeman’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth with the LSO at the Royal Festival Hall. So the Choir established early on in its existence its reputation for variety and new challenges – and today it is still performing classical masterpieces alongside popular new titles. Over the years the Choir has performed in all the major concert halls in London (South Bank, Barbican, St John’s Smith Square, Cadogan Hall, Royal Albert Hall), in St Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Westminster Cathedral and many other Churches known for their musical traditions. It has sung abroad in Brussels, Antwerp, Basle, Zurich, Athens and Plovdiv (Bulgaria), and has visited many cities, towns and
villages throughout the UK.

It has in repertoire all the major choral/orchestral works of the baroque and classical era: Bach’s Passions and the B Minor Mass, Handel’s Dixit Dominus, Solomon and many other oratorios, the Masses of Mozart and Haydn together with Mozart’s Requiem and Haydn’s The Creation.
On occasion it has expanded its forces to perform Verdi’s Requiem and Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius.
Its a cappella repertoire includes a wide spectrum from Tallis to Tavener.

For many years it featured on albums by Vangelis, and is probably best-known for being featured on the soundtrack to the Ridley Scott film 1492: Conquest of Paradise. Other credits include Steven Spielberg’s Band of Brothers and the Era albums created by the French composer Eric Levi. And the Choir’s relationship with Rick Wakeman, begun in 1974, continues to this day. In 2009 it appeared live with Rick at Hampton Court in a revival of his first slo album Six Wives of Henry VIII as part of the celebrations of the 500th anniversary of Henry’s accession to the throne and a few weeks later at Cadogan Hall in his ‘unplugged’ piano, choir and orchestra programme: ‘P’n’O’.

The Choir is also in demand for appearances on Radio and Television. It has appeared on Gordon Ramsey’s Christmas Cookalong (when his guest was Gok Wan), on Chris Moyle’s Quiznight singing hymn-tunes to Stephen Fry, and for the last four years has sung satirical versions of popular Christmas Carols on Radio 4’s Broadcasting Housa on the Sunday morning before Christmas. The Choir has a special association with contemporary music written for the Orthodox Church and/or inspired by Eastern traditions.

“Guy Protheroe conducted serene performances of Verdi’s Pater Noster and Ave Maria,
coolly and tenderly shaped.”
Financial Times


Supported by the Friends of The Old Granary Studio