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New Cambridge Singers' programme draws on worldwide inspiration

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New Cambridge Singers
New Cambridge Singers

The New Cambridge Singers' (NCS) first concert of the 2017/18 season, In the Beginning, draws inspiration for their music from around the world, including Russia, Hungary, the Czech Republic and the United States.

Win tickets

The Cambridge Independent has two pairs of tickets to give away to the concert on November 18. Just answer the following question: Where do the words for In the Beginning come from?

Send your answer, name and address to gemma.gardner@iliffemedia.co.uk

The centrepieces of the concert are Kodaly’s expressive Missa Brevis and Copland’s scintillating setting of the opening of the book of Genesis, In The Beginning.

These are offered alongside two contrasting settings of the Lord’s Prayer: one by Janacek and a real jewel of a version by the Russian conductor-composer Nikolai Golovanov.

Sophie Cotton, 45, of Bassingbourn, who enjoys easy listening, opera and baroque music, will sing the solo in Cambridge on Saturday, November 18. She grew up singing with her family in the choir of a small Cornish church before gaining a scholarship to both a sixth-form and university, where she studied with tenor Wynford Evans.

“Since then I have sung as soloist for various choral societies and enjoy performing a few duet and quartet recitals,” she told the Cambridge Independent, which is supporting the NCS season.

Accomplished, ambitious and friendly, NCS aim for excellence in all that they do and relish their innovative programming, performing a wide range of music from the Renaissance to the present day. And Sophie says it’s this challenging and stimulating programme that she loves.

“I usually start feeling a little unimpressed with a new piece but always end up loving it. The members of the choir are also lovely people and, of course, the banter is what everyone needs,” she said.

Copland’s In The Beginning was composed for Harvard University’s Symposium on Music Criticism in May 1947. One of the longest continuous a cappella pieces ever written, it had its premiere under the baton of Robert Shaw.

“The simplicity of certain aspects, mixed with such beautiful harmonic shifts and melodic lines, makes it so mesmerisingly unique,” said Sophie of the work. “Getting the starting note for each entry [is a challenge]. Each one needs a different approach.”

She added: “Do come along, we sing really interesting and diverse music and make some really magical moments.”

NCS perform on Saturday, November 18 at 8pm at Church of Our Lady & the English Martyrs, Cambridge. Tickets: £15, students £6, under 18s free. Box office: 01223 357851 or cambridgelivetrust.co.uk.

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