BCS is one of the oldest choral societies in the UK

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BCS is one of the oldest choral societies in the UK

Postby admin » Tue Feb 21, 2017 9:33 pm

Bedford Choral Society

Some interesting facts from Ian Smith, Music Director of Bedford Choral Society


Foundation dates of the oldest choral societies in the UK

Society Founded

1 Halifax 1817
2 Ipswich 1824
3 Huddersfield 1836
4 Windsor and Eton 1837
5 Guildford 1839
6 Royal Liverpool Philharmonic 1840
7= Bedford Musical (Choral) Society 1867
7= Edinburgh University Music Society 1867
9 Royal Choral Society 1871 For the opening of the Royal Albert Hall


I have been privileged to conduct this choir for 31 years in September 2016. As my ‘Afterword’ in Mike Benson’s excellent book says ‘One of the features of the Choral Society has been the willingness to present new and unusual repertoire as part of a balanced programme over the course of a season’. This fills in the gap from 1991.

1. The choir has sung works by 55 different composers since I started
a. Bach 10 times
b. Elgar 9
c. Brahms, Handel, Haydn 8
d. Mozart 6

2. Commissioned 5 new works

3. Since 1991 50 different composers have been performed:
a. Bach -3
b. Bruckner -3

4. Works not previously performed at all(some because the composers were not born before 1867)
i. Beethoven ‘Choral Fantasia’
ii. Beethoven ‘Missa Solemnis’
iii. Britten ‘Spring Symphony’
iv. Debussy ‘Nocturnes’
v. Delius ‘Sea Drift’
vi. Dvorak ‘Requiem’
vii. Dyson ‘Canterbury Pilgrims’
viii. Paul Edwards ‘Te Deum’
ix. Fanshawe ‘African Sanctus’
x. Fauré ‘Cantique de Jean Racine’
xi. Finzi ‘Intimations of Immortality’
xii. Gershwin ‘Songs from Porgy and Bess’
xiii. Grant-Jones ‘The Human Race’
xiv. Howells ‘Hymnus Paradisi’
xv. Jenkins ‘The Armed Man’
xvi. L’Estrange ‘Zimbe’
xvii. Mozart ‘Ave verum corpus’
xviii. Patterson ‘Millennium Mass’
xix. Prokofiev ‘Alexander Nevsky’
xx. Rachmaninov ‘The Bells’
xxi. Rheinberger ‘Requiem in D minor’
xxii. Rose ‘Sounds and Sweet Airs’
xxiii. Rose ‘Songs of Innocence and Experience’
xxiv. Rutter ‘Magnificat’
xxv. Schubert ‘Magnificat’
xxvi. Sullivan ‘HMS Pinafore’
xxvii. Sullivan ‘Trial by Jury’
xxviii. Todd ‘Mass in Blue’
xxix. Verdi ‘Sicilian Vespers’
xxx. Walton ‘Gloria’

5. Most performed work in the choir’s history? 'Messiah' 20 times

6. 150th Anniversary season all English season (apart from ‘Lauda Sion’ which was performed in the first ever concert of the Society and has not been performed by the Society since).

7. Anniversary concert Sunday 30th April 2017


Ian Smith 26th September 2016

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