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EXAUDI – In dew of roses

A post in our latest news section.

On Tuesday the 13th February, a very special concert took place at Durham’s magnificent Town Hall. James Weeks, the conductor of Exaudi, a small professional chamber choir, has been working on composition with Year 13 A Level music pupils since the spring of 2023. Following a series of workshops in school, the compositions were finally performed in front of an enthusiastic audience. Here is an extract from Music in Durham’s review: 

‘The centrepiece of the concert was six short and remarkably accomplished pieces composed for the group by the upper-sixth A-level students at St Leonard’s, a Catholic comprehensive school in Durham. I was also struck by how different and individual each piece was, even though they were composing for the same forces and had been taught by the same teacher. 

‘The dark between the stars’ by Jack Tait was harmonically complex and used the four voices very effectively to give the music a sense of cosmic scale. Holly Robson’s ‘buzz buzz’ had the playful feel of a madrigal, with intricate exchanges between the lines and fun vocalised buzzes for the bass. Kat Blakey took a Latin translation of ‘Now I lay me down to sleep’ in a gentle setting that was full of interesting details. Charlotte Curry chose Byron’s poem  ‘When We Two Parted’ for her text, pushing the voices to their limits in bursts of colour, agonised harmonies and tumbling melodies. ‘crying for its nest’ by Eleanor Foreman was expressively sad, and full of longing with a  tightly woven texture, which like Holly Robson’s piece reminded me of madrigals, but this time the heart-breaking Italian ones. The set finished with (now, let me get this right)  😍💕💕💅🍮 by Ty Thomas. According to the text, it means ‘I love sticky toffee pudding’. This piece sparkled with wit and invention – musical humour is a tricky thing to pull off effectively but this piece brought laughter from the audience and was a perfect ending to the first half.’

The full article can be found here.

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Updated | 4th March, 2024 |

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