Saturday 15 June 2019

Schubert: Mass in E flat, with music by Mozart, Joseph Haydn, and a new commission by Grayston Ives

Schubert's substantial last Mass, D950, written in his final but highly productive year, is regarded as a masterpiece. Interesting in its liturgical grandeur and romanticism, Schubert may have been thinking of his own requiem as he wrote it, or perhaps had his eye on a future career appointment, but sadly he never heard it performed.

Three Folksongs arr. Grayston Ives (b 1948)

This concert will feature the first performance of a new set of folksong arrangements, written for Summertown Choral Society by Grayston (Bill) Ives. SCS premiered Ives's Songs of Ariel to great acclaim in May 2009, and we are delighted to have the opportunity to work with him again. These songs were originally collected and written down by Cecil Sharp, who founded the folk-song revival in England in the early 20th century. Below are some notes from Bill Ives on the songs he has chosen.

The Sweet Nightingale sung by Charles Sherborne (40) at Ascott-under-Wychwood on 15 September 1911. On the manuscript Cecil Sharp notes that the singer "learnt this when ploughing at Kingham, his native place".

The Seeds of Love sung by Joseph Alcock (78) at Sibford Gower on 15 September 1922.

Green Bushes sung by G Truby (83) at Headington on 12 September 1923.

Cecil Sharp's links with Oxfordshire date from 1899 when he met the concertina player, William Kimber, in Headington Quarry. Sharp noted down the dance tunes that Kimber played for the local morris dancers, unwittingly sparking a countrywide revival in that tradition. As is well known, Cecil Sharp collected a huge number of folksongs, not only across England, but also in Australia and the USA. Many of the singers, steeped in country life, lived to a ripe old age. In the case of two of the songs I have chosen, Cecil Sharp caught them just in time!