Saturday September 23, 2023 10:30 am Petersfield Methodist Church, Station Road, Petersfield GU32 3EB

Open choral workshop – The Bob Chilcott Songbook

Directed by Jeremy Backhouse
Accompanist: Mark Dancer

Please download the leaflet for further details and how to book.

Read more about the workshop in our interview with Jeremy and in another article.

Read a review.

Bob Chilcott’s accessible and tuneful style has made him one of Britain’s most popular contemporary choral composers. Works such as the Little Jazz Mass and the choral song Can you hear me? have been performed all over the world.

The Bob Chilcott Songbook is an anthology of nine of his most singable works, including original pieces and arrangements of favourite folk songs such as O Danny Boy and The Skye Boat Song.

Jeremy Backhouse is one of Britain’s leading choral conductors. He conducts the 140-strong Vivace Chorus, Guildford, and the Vasari Singers, recognised as one of the finest chamber choirs in the country.

Jeremy champions contemporary choral music and has worked closely with Bob Chilcott, and many other composers, as well as with a number of the country’s leading choirs, including the BBC Singers and London Symphony Chorus.

Read more about the music:

Aka-Tonbo – This is a beautiful unaccompanied arrangement of a popular Japanese children’s song. With a text full of natural imagery and a folk-like pentatonic melody, ‘Aka-Tonbo’ evokes beautiful feelings of nostalgia.

Arh yd y nos (All through the night) – SATB and piano or chamber orchestra.

Composed upon Westminster Bridge – from Songs and Cries of London Town. Bob writes: “The Wordsworth poem is magical – when I was a student in London I used to sing in the choir of St Margaret’s, Westminster, and for a short time in the choir of Westminster Abbey. I used to walk across Westminster Bridge from Waterloo Station on a Sunday morning. The atmosphere of the Wordworth poem was as poignant and real then as it surely was when it was written almost two hundred years before that time.”

Dances in the Streets – This work is a setting of two poems from ‘Romances sans paroles’ by Verlaine. The songs are sung in French, but each has been given an English title, as the poems, which burst with character and atmosphere, reflect on two areas of London: Soho and Paddington.

O Danny Boy – This arrangement dates from 2006 and is not the later arrangement that Bob wrote for the Last Night of the Proms. Orchestrated.

Over the Wave – from Circlesong, setting texts by Native American Peoples. Circlesong was recorded to great acclaim in 2020 by Houston Chamber Choir and The Treble Choir of Houston, and released on Signum.

The Lily and the Rose – Bob’s rare gift for crafting the most poignant and beguiling melodies is rarely more apparent than in his setting of this enchanting and enigmatic medieval poem. The style is akin to folk ballad, lyrical with just a hint of melancholy, which will draw in singers and listeners alike.

The Runner from The Modern Man I Sing – ‘The Runner’ is a fast rhythmic piece setting a text by Walt Whitman. With chromatic inflections, close harmonies, and vocalizations to imitate the athlete’s breathing, this is perfect for choirs looking for something exciting and different.

The Skye Boat Song – was written for this collection but can be performed together with the 2006 SSA setting which Bob wrote in 2006 for The Last Night of the Proms.

Pier, Quay street and Free Church in Portree, Isle of Skye