RNCM Chamber Choir + Edvard Grieg Vokalensemble with Roderick Williams (baritone)

Programme

Edvard Grieg Ave maris stella (Hail, star of the sea)
Edvard Grieg arr P Robinson To brune Øjne
Edvard Grieg arr Trond H F Kverno En Svane
Edvard Grieg arr Trond H F Kverno Margrethes Vuggesang
Roderick Williams / Edvard Grieg arr R Williams Du var vinden / Spring Memories (Til Våren) Text: Olav H Hauge
Edvard Grieg arr D Hansford Våren
Edvard Grieg arr J Rathbone Præludium from the Holberg Suite
Edvard Grieg Fire Salmer (Four Psalms) Op. 74 *
i Hvad est du dog skjøn
ii Guds Søn har gjort mig fri
iii Jesus Kristus er opfaren
iv I Himmelen

Edvard Grieg Vokalensemble
RNCM Chamber Choir
Roderick Williams baritone *
Stuart Overington, Paul Robinson directors 

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Biographies

Roderick Williams

Roderick Williams is one of this country’s most sought after baritones and is constantly in demand on the concert platform and in recital, encompassing a repertoire from the baroque to world premieres.   In 2016 he won the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Singer of the year award.

Opera engagements have included major roles at leading opera houses worldwide including the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, English National Opera,  Dutch National Opera, Dallas Opera, Opera North, Scottish Opera, Florida Grand Opera, the Bregenz Festival and Oper Köln.  He has been involved in many world premieres including, Lord Byron in the world premiere of Sally Beamish’s Monster, Alexander Knaifel’s Alice in Wonderland and Michel van der Aa’s After Life, the title role in Robert Saxton’s The Wandering Jew  with the BBC Symphony , which has been released on NMC to considerable critical acclaim.

Among Roderick Williams’ many performances of opera in concert are recent appearances with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in Tippett’s The Knot Garden (Barbican) and Birtwistle’s The Second Mrs Kong (Royal Festival Hall) and with the London Symphony Orchestra and Daniel Harding Billy Budd.  He has also sung the role of Eddie in Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Greek for the BBC.  He has taken major roles in conductor Richard Hickox’s semi-staged performances of opera, including Britten’s Gloriana (Aldeburgh, 2003), Walton’s Troilus and Cressida and most of the Vaughan Williams operas.  Other concert performances include Henze, Strauss, Stravinsky and Wagner (Donner in Das Rheingold for ENO).

Roderick Williams has sung concert repertoire with all the BBC orchestras, and many other ensembles including the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Russian National Orchestra, Academy of Ancient Music, The Sixteen, Le Concert Spirituel, and Bamberg Symphony Orchestra.  Recent successes include Britten’s War Requiem and Pilgrim in Vaughan Williams’s The Pilgrim’s Progress (semi-staged) with the Philharmonia, Jesus in The Last Supper  by Birtwistle with the London Sinfonietta in Milan and Turin, Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius in Toulouse, a European tour of Handel’s Messiah with RIAS Kammerchor, Tippett’s The Vision of St Augustine with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales at the 2005 BBC Proms, Henze’s Elegy for Young Lovers with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the world premiere of Birtwistle’s The Ring Dance of the Nazarene  with VARA Radio (repeated at the BBC Proms), performances of Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen at La Scala, concerts with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra in San Francisco, Scottish Chamber Orchestra and a concert with Bach Collegium Japan at the Edinburgh Festival.

Recent and future operatic engagements include Oronte in Charpentier’s Medée, Toby Kramer in Van der Aa’s Sunken Garden and Sharpless / Madam Butterfly for English National Opera, the title role in Eugene Onegin for Garsington Opera, the title role in Billy Budd for Opera North, Van der Aa’s After Life at Melbourne State Theatre and at Opera de Lyon, and Van de Aa’s Upload for Netherlands Opera, the Bregenz Festival, Cologne Opera and at the Park Avenue Armory in New York, Captain Balstrode / Peter Grimes in a concert performance with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra,  Papageno and Ulisse / Il ritorno di Ulisse in Patria for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden,  Toby Kramer for Dallas Opera, a concert performance of Ned Keene/Peter Grimes with Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Van de Aa’s Upload for Netherlands Opera,  Oper Koln and the Bregenz Festival, and Christus / St John Passion in staged performances with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment both under Sir Simon Rattle.

Recent and future concert engagements include performances  with Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Manchester Camerata, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, Royal Scottish National Orchestra,  the Hallé,  Britten Sinfonia, City of London Sinfonia, King’s College Cambridge, Goldsmiths Choral Union, Ex Cathedra, The Sixteen, The King’s Consort, New London Consort,  London Philharmonic Orchestra, Le Concert Spirituel, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Berlin Philharmonic, Rias Kammerchor, Orquesta Sinfonica de Euskadi, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Iceland Symphony, Danish National Radio Symphony, San Francisco Symphony,  Utah Symphony, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra,  Music of the Baroque Chicago, Bayerische Rundfunk, Bach Collegium Japan, Cappella Amsterdam, New York Philharmonic, Britten War Requiem with the Maggio Musicale and Semyon Bychkov in Florence, the UK premiere of Sally Beamish’s Judas Passion with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment as well as with Philharmonia Baroque.  In 2014 Roderick was the featured soloist at the BBC Last Night of the Proms and returned in 2021 for a performance of the St Matthew Passion and the world premiere of Matthew Kaner’s ‘Pearl’ in 2022.

He is an accomplished recital artist who can be heard regularly at venues and festivals including the Wigmore Hall, Kings Place, LSO St Luke’s, the Perth Concert Hall, the Concertgebouw, Oxford Lieder Festival, London Song Festival, Howard Assembly Room, the Musikverein, Vienna and on Radio 3, where he has participated on Iain Burnside’s Voices programme.  Recent and future recitals include various performances at the Wigmore Hall including the three Schubert cycles, recitals for the BBC, the Concertgebouw and appearances at the Ludlow Song Festival, Oxford Lieder Festival, Three Choirs Festival, Edinburgh International Festival and at the Bath International Music Festival.

His numerous recordings include Vaughan Williams, Berkeley and Britten operas for Chandos, and an extensive repertoire of English song with pianist Iain Burnside for Naxos.  He recently recorded the three Schubert Cycles for Chandos as well as recordings of Stanford and Somervell for Somm.

He is also a composer and has had works premiered at the Wigmore and Barbican Halls, the Purcell Room and live on national radio. Recent commissions include a major work, World without End, for the Rias Kammerchor and BBC Singers as well as a commission to celebrate the centenary of the RAF.   He was Artistic Director of Leeds Lieder + in April 2016 and was Artist in Residence with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra between 2020-2022 as well as ‘singer-in-residence’ for Music in the Round in Sheffield, presenting concerts and leading on dynamic and innovative learning and participation projects that introduce amateur singers, young and old, to performing classical song repertoire.  From 2022/23 season he takes the position of Composer in Association of the BBC Singers. He was awarded an OBE for services to music in June 2017.

Edvard Grieg Kor

Edvard Grieg Vokalensemble (EGV) is Norway’s leading professional a cappella ensemble and forms the core of a comprehensive choral development Foundation based in Bergen called Edvard Grieg Korene ( Edvard Grieg Choirs) . EGV has a full and varied performance schedule with a wide repertoire and range of styles and genres from Monteverdi madrigals to Contemporary music through to Jazz and Swing. EGV regularly has music composed especially for them by composers including Jonathan Rathbone, David Lang, and of course Roderick Williams! Additionally, EGV are keen champions of contemporary Norwegian composers including Marianne Reidarsdatter Eriksen, Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen, Kim André Arnesen. EGV’s critically acclaimed CD recording ‘Edvard Grieg Kor sings Grieg’ is available on the CHANDOS label and on Spotify. EGV regularly collaborates with other ensembles including Voces8, Barokkanerne, Manchester Camerata and Barokksolostene.

EGV expands to 16-24 voices forming Edvard Grieg Kor (EGK) led by chief conductor Edward Gardner. EGK performs in its own concert series regionally, nationally and internationally, and in recent year has participated in world-class performances and recordings through its work with Bergen National Opera and Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra. Together with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra EGK has won prestigious Gramophone awards, including ‘Recording of the year’ for “Peter Grimes”.

The Edvard Grieg Korene Foundation proudly invests in the future of classical choral singing and manages a comprehensive development programme for young singers operating 7 choirs with a total of 200 young singers aged 6-26 with a full schedule of weekly rehearsals and performances throughout the academic year led by highly trained choral instructors and individual voice coaching from the 8 singers in Edvard Grieg Voklalensemble.

Personnel

Edvard Grieg Vokalensemble

First Soprano
Hilde Veslemøy Hagen

Second Soprano
Ingvill Holter

First Alto
Eva B. Landro

Second Alto
Daniela Iancu Johannessen

First Tenor
Tyler Ray

Second Tenor
Paul Robinson (Musical Director)

First Bass
Ørjan Hartveit

Second Bass
David Hansford

RNCM Chamber Choir

FIRST SOPRANOS
Gabrielle Leung
Phoebe Palmer
Rosa Sparks
Clementine Thompson

SECOND SOPRANOS
Taylor London
Niamh O’Connor
Hope Rodenhurst

FIRST ALTOS
Siân Davies
Ruby Donnelly
Eibhlín Eddy

SECOND ALTOS
Olivia Hamblyn
Midia Kalou 
Louise Wood

FIRST TENORS
Liam Forrest
Jacob Parker
Aaron Peters

SECOND TENORS
Alex Bradford
Ben Copsey
Alex Kirkland
Sam Rose

FIRST BASSES
Matthew Budd
Cyrus Chiu
Alex Peart

SECOND BASSES
George Elson
Harrison Morton-Deaville
Alex Rouault

 

Song Texts

Ave, Maris Stella (Hail, Star of the Sea)

 

Ave, maris stella,
Dei Mater alma,
Atque semper Virgo,
Felix caeli porta.Sumens illud Ave
Gabrielis ore,
Funda nos in pace,
Mutans Evae nomen.Solve vincla reis,Profer lumen caecis,
Mala nostra pelle,
Bona cuncta posceMonstra te esse matrem
Sumat per te preces,
Qui pro nobis natus
Tulit esse tuus.Virgo singularis,
Inter omnes mitis,
Nos culpis solutos,
Mites fac et castos.Vitam praesta puram,
Iter para tutum,
Ut videntes Jesum,
Semper collaetemur.

Sit laus Deo Patri,
Summo Christo decus
Spiritui Sancto,
Tribus honor unus. Amen.

Hail, star of the sea,
loving Mother of God,
and also always a virgin,
Happy gate of heaven.Receiving that Ave
from Gabriel’s mouth
confirm us in peace,
Reversing Eva’s name.Break the chains of sinners,
Bring light to the blind,
Drive away our evils,
Ask for all good.Show yourself to be a mother,
May he accept prayers through you,
he who, born for us,
Chose to be yours.O unique virgin,
Meek above all,
Make us, absolved from sin,
Gentle and chaste.Keep life pure,
Make the journey safe,
So that, seeing Jesus,
We may always rejoice together.Let there be praise to God the Father,
Glory to Christ in the highest,
To the Holy Spirit,
One honor to all three. Amen.

To Brune Øjne (Two Brown Eyes)

Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875)

To brune Øjne jeg nylig saa,
i dem mit Hjem og min Verden laa.
Der flammed’ Snillet og Barnets Fred;
jeg glemmer dem aldrig i Evighed!
I recently saw a pair of brown eyes,
In them lay my home and my world.
There sparkled kindness and a child’s peace;
I will never forget them!

En Svane (A Swan)

Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906)

Min hvide svane
du stumme, du stille,
hverken slag eller trille
lod sangrøst ane.
Angst beskyttende
alfen, som sover,
altid lyttende
gled du henover.
Men sidste mødet,
da eder og øjne
var lønlige løgne,
ja da, da lød det!
I toners føden
du slutted din bane.
Du sang i døden;
du var dog en svane!
My white swan
You mute, you silent,
Neither warble nor trill
revealed any singing voice.
Anxiously protecting
the elf who sleeps,
always listening
you glided away.
But the last meeting,
When oaths and eyes
Were concealing lies,
Yes then, then it sounded!
In the birth of music
You ended your journey.
You sang in death;
You were still a swan!

Margrethes Vuggesang (Margaret's Cradle Song)

Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906)

Nu løftes Laft og Lofte
Til Stjernehvælven blaa,
Nu flyver lille Haakon
Med Drømmevinger paa.Der er en Stige stillet
Fra Jord til Himmel op;
Nu stiger lille Haakon
Med Englene til top.Guds Engle smaa, de vaager
For Vuggebarnets Fred,
Gud sign’ Dig, lille Haakon,
Din Moder vaager med!
Now are roof and rafters lifted
with the starry vault,
Now flies little Håkon
on dreamwings.There mounts a mighty stairway
from earth to heaven
Now climbs little Håkon to the top
with the angels.God’s small angels, they are watching,
For the cradle-child’s peace,
God bless thee, little Håkon,
your mother watches too.

Våren (Spring)

Aasmund Olavsson Vinje (1818-1870)

Enno ein Gong fekk eg Vetren at sjå for Våren at røma;
Heggen med Tre som der Blomar var på eg atter såg bløma.
Enno ein Gong fekk eg Isen at sjå frå Landet at fljota,
Snjoen at bråna, og Fossen i Å at fyssa og brjota.
Graset det grøne eg enno ein Gong fekk skoda med Blomar;
enno eg høyrde at Vårfuglen song mot Sol og mot Sumar.Eingong eg sjølv i den vårlege Eim, som mættar mit Auga,
eingong eg der vil meg finna ein Heim og symjande lauga.
Alt det som Våren I møte meg bar, og Bloman eg plukkad’,
Federnes Ånder eg trudde det var, som dansad’ og sukkad’.
Derfor eg fann millom Bjørkar og Bar i Vaaren ei Gåta;
derfor det Ljod i den Fløyta eg skar, meg tyktes at gråta.
Once more I got to behold winter
fleeing before the spring;
Hackberry with trees covered by blossoms,
I once more saw blooming.
Once more I got to behold the ice
flowing from land,
The snow softening, and waterfall into river
buzzing and bursting.
The green grass I once again got
to behold with blooms.
Still I heard the spring fowl sing,
to sun and to summer.Some time I will in the springtime haze,
which sates my eye.
Some time I there will find me a home,
and swim and bathe.
Everything that the spring greeted me with,
and the bloom I plucked.
I thought it was the spirits of the forefathers,
that danced and sighed.
Therefore I found between birches and bark,
a riddle in spring.
Therefore the sound from the flute I carved,
seemed to be weeping.

Du Var Vinden (You Were the Wind)

Olav H Hauge (1908-1994)

Eg er ein båt
utan vind,
Du var vinden,
Var det den leidi
eg skulde?
Kven spør etter leidi
når ein har slik vind!
I am a boat
without wind.
You were the wind.
Was that the direction
I wanted to go?
Who cares about directions
with a wind like that!

Hvad est du dog skjøn (How Lovely Thou Art)

Hans Adolf Brorson (1694 – 1764)

Hvad est du dog skjøn,
Ja skjøn, ja skjøn.
Du allerlifligste Guds Søn!
O du min Sulamit, Sulamit,
Ja mit, ja mit,
Alt hvad jeg har er også dit.Min Ven, du est min,
Ja min, ja min;
Så lad mig altid være din!
Ja evig vist, evig vist,
Ja vist, ja vist!
Du min skal blive her og hist.Men tænk, jeg er her,
Ja her, ja her,
Iblandt så mange dragne Sværd!
O så kom, Due! kom Due!
Ja, kom, ja, kom!
I Klippens Rif er Ro og Rum.
How lovely Thou art,
yes lovely, yes lovely,
Thou most delightful Son of God!
Oh, Thou my Sulamith,
yes mine,
everything I own is also Thine.My friend, Thou art mine,
yes mine, yes mine;
so let me always be Thine!
Yes for ever, for sure,
for sure!
Thou shalt remain mine no matter where.But think, I am here,
yes here, yes here,
among so many drawn swords!
Oh, come then, dove!
Yes come, yes come!
In the rocky cleft there is peace and space.

Guds Søn har gjort mig fri (The Son of God hath set me free)

Hans Adolf Brorson (1694 – 1764)

Guds Søn har gjort mig fri
Fra Satans Tyranni,
Fra Synde-Stand,
Fra Lovens-Band,
Fra Dødens Skræk og Helved-Brand.
Min Goel lagde sig
Imellem Gud og mig,
Sig undergav
Min Syndestraf,
Til Marter, Død og Grav.
Det var den Kjærlighed til mig,
Som er så ubegribelig;
Så god,
Imod
En Ond fra Top til Rod:
Der ingen Ting var til Behag,
Undtagen den forbudne Smag,
Med Mund og Hånd,
Ja Sjæl og Ånd
I Fjendens Lænke-Bånd.Nu er jeg Gud i Vold,
Trods Slangen tusind-fold!
Lad ham kun stå
Og se mig gå
Med Friheds Purpur-Klædning på.
Hvad gjør det godt i Bryst,
At følge Jesu Røst
På Sandheds Sti,
Alt Ondt forbi.
Til Himlens Sorgenfri!
Lad Verden sig ei bilde ind
Endnu engang at få mig blind,
Nej, nej,
Den Vej
Til Pølen går jeg ej,
Nej, jeg er kjøbt for dyre til
At prøve Syndens Lykke-Spil;
Jeg blæser ad
Den Lokke-Mad,
Og ser til Himlen glad.Mit Hjerte i mig ler,
Når jeg min Grav beser,
Ei Blomster-Dal,
Ei Fyrste-Sal
Så trygg en Seng mig vise skal.
Min Død er Færgemand
Til Livets faste Land,
Gud Zebaot,
Hans eget Slot,
Ja! Det er evig godt.
Er Vinden her skjønt tidt imod,
At spæge lidt det kåde Blod,
Al Kur
Er sur
For mennesklig Natur;
Den gjør dog let,
Som Rå og Hind,
Det derudi forsøgte Sind,
Ja, Korsets Hegn
Er just det Tegn
Til Friheds rette Egn.
The Son of God hath set me free
from Satan’s tyranny,
from the state of sin,
from legal bonds,
from the fear of death and hellfire.
My Goel hath lain Himself down
twixt God and me,
subjected Himself to
the punishment for my sins,
to martyrdom, death and grave.
It was that love for me,
which is so incomprehensible;
so good
towards
one evil from tip to toe,
whom nothing did please, except the forbidden taste,
with mouth and hand,
yes soul and spirit
in the enemy’s chains.Now I commend myself unto God despite the snake a thousand times!
Let Him just stand
and see me go
clad in the crimson clothes of freedom.
What good it doth my heart
to follow the voice of Jesus
on the path of truth,
past all evil,
to carefree Heaven!
Don’t let the world believe
yet again it can make me blind,
no, no,
that road
to the pool* I will not go.
No, I am too indebted
to play sin’s game of chance;
I whistle at
the tempting food,
and look to Heaven with joy.My heart within doth laugh,
when I behold my grave.
No flowered vale,
no prince’s vault
shall show me so safe a bed.
My death is the ferryman
unto the solid ground of life;
the Lord Sabaoth,
His own castle,
yes, it is for ever good.
Although the wind is oft against,
mortifying the sprightly blood,
all cures
are sour
for human nature;
it makes but light,
like roe and hind,
the mind thus tested,
yes, the shape of the cross
is precisely the sign
to the proper realm of freedom.

Jesus Kristus er opfaren (Jesus Christ has ascended)

Hans Thomissøn (1532–1573)

Jesus Kristus er opfaren,
Over alle Engleskare.
Himlen indgangen
Og tog så Fængslet fangen,
Kyrie eleison!Herre Jesus, vi takke dig,
For dine Velgjerninger slig,
Som du beteede
Os til stor Trøst og Glæde.
Kyrie eleison!Nu vi prise din Himmelgang,
med idel Englefryd og Sang.
Din Lov vi sjunge
med Hjerte, Mund og Tunge.
Kyrie eleison!
Jesus Christ has ascended
over all the angels
into Heaven
and thereby taken prison captive.
Kyrie eleison!Lord Jesus, we thank Thee,
for such Thy good deeds
which Thou bestowed
unto our great comfort and joy.
Kyrie eleison!We now celebrate Thine ascent to Heaven with the eager joy and song of angels.
Thy praise we sing
with heart and mouth and tongue.
Kyrie eleison!

I Himmelen (In Heaven)

Laurentius Laurentii Laurinus (1613–1672)

I Himmelen, i Himmelen,
Hvor Gud, vor Herre bor,
Hvor saligt did at komme hen,
Hvor er den Glæde stor.
For evig, evig skal vi der
Se Gud i Lyset, som han er,
Se Herren Zebaot.Og Legemet, og Legemet
Som lagdes bort i Muld,
Det vorder alt så skinnende,
Ja som det skjære Guld.
Og ved af ingen Vunde mer
Mens Åsyn det til Åsyn ser
Gud Herren Zebaot.Og Sjælen får sin Prydelse,
Den Krone, som er sagt,
Retfærdighedens Brudekrans,
Og så den hvide Dragt.
O Gud! Hvad Lyst at være dig nær,
At se i Lyset som Du er
Dig, Herren Zebaot.
In Heaven, in Heaven,
where God our Lord lives,
how blessed there to come,
how great is that joy.
Forever and ever shall we there
see God in His light as He is,
see the Lord Sabaoth.And the body, and the body,
which was laid in the earth,
it cometh now to shine,
yes, like the sheerest gold,
and knows no further pain
whilst face to face it beholds
the Lord God Sabaoth.And the soul receives its adornment,
that crown which is called
the Bridal wreath of justice,
and the white dress, too.
Oh, God! What joy to be near Thee,
to see in the light, as Thou art,
Thou, the Lord Sabaoth.