Emile Naoumoff

Emile Naoumoff has been likened to both Vladimir Horowitz and Arthur Rubinstein as a pianist, displaying — as one critic remarked — the fire of the former and the poetry of the latter. He was also signed as a composer at age 18 — the youngest on their roster — with the music publisher Schott, Mainz. Emile revealed himself as a musical prodigy at age five, taking up the piano and adding composition to his studies a year later. At the age of seven, after a fateful meeting in Paris, he became the last disciple of Nadia Boulanger, who referred to him as “The gift of my old age”. He studied with her until her death in late 1979. During this auspicious apprenticeship, Mlle. Boulanger gave him the opportunity to work with Clifford Curzon, Igor Markevitch, Robert and Gaby Casadesus, Nikita Magaloff, Jean Francaix, Leonard Bernstein, Soulima Stravinsky, Aram Khachaturian and Yehudi Menhuin. Lord Menhuin conducted the premiere of Emile’s first piano concerto, with the composer as a soloist when he was ten years old. At the same time, he pursued studies at the Paris Conservatory with Lelia Gousseau, Pierre Sancan, Genevieve Joy-Dutilleux, as well as at the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris with Pierre Dervaux (conducting). Continue reading

Blow the Trumpet

Blow the Trumpet
Saturday 22nd November 2014 7pm
St Edmundsbury Cathedral
Music to celebrate St Cecilia’s day for choir, brass, organ and piano from Lassus, Gabrieli, Philips, Kodaly (Laudes Organi), Peeters, and Emile Naoumoff’s Concerto Sacré (UK première)
with Kensington Brass
(click on image to download programme pdf)

Monteverdi: Mass and Vespers 1610 1640 1650

Listen to choir director Roderick Earle’s Radio Suffolk interview where he talks about the choir and the Monteverdi concert.

Our next concert in St Edmunsbury Cathedral on 26 October will present some of Monteverdi’s finest sacred music as it might have been heard in the context of Mass and Vespers for the feast of St. Mark in Venice in the mid 17th century.
Drawing from the three of the major publications of Monteverdi’s sacred music (1610, 1640 and 1650) the concert begins with his last 4 part setting of the Mass published after his death in 1650 and ends with the rarely heard ‘alternative’ 6 part Magnificat from the famous 1610 Marian Vespers. In this version with only organ continuo the famous echo duet is sung by two sopranos.
Written in both the older polyphonic and the newer concertante styles, the various psalm settings appropriate to Vespers include his catchy Confitebor tibi III which Monteverdi describes as being in the French style with a soprano soloist alternating with the full choir. Two sopranos soloists feature again in the joyous 8 part Laudate Dominum III . The 5 part Laudate Pueri III and Beatus Vir II complete the setting of Vespers which begins with the massive double choir Dixit Dominus III.
Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge (Director Jeremy White), one of the leading proponents of Gregorian chant, will sing all the appropriate plainsong Propers and Antiphons for the feast of St Mark as well as the hymn appointed for the feast, giving an appropriate framework for the larger choral settings.
This concert will be a unique opportunity to hear this great music, much of it written for performance in St. Mark’s Venice, in its appropriate liturgical sequence and in a fitting acoustic.

O Sacrum Convivium

Cathedral of St John the Baptist, Norwich 
17 November 2012
A Welcome Return for this Choir.
Welcome back in Norwich once again, the 30 members of the Colchester Chamber Choir, under their conductor Roderick Earle, presented a programme of modern French sacred pieces that were artistically satisfying and spiritually moving.
Four motes by Maurice Duruflé were an excellent choice for starting. Modern but echoing traditional Catholic chant, each took just one theme and brought out the meaning of its Latin text.
Unity and concentration also added force to Poulenc’s powerful interpretation of passages suitable for Good Friday.
With Kriss Thomsett adding the organ accompaniment, the sustained line of Fauré’s setting of Jena Racine’s Canticle breathed serenity.  So did Vivet’s Pie Jesu and Messiaen’s mediatation on the eucharist.
Hilary Sellers was the clear soprano soloist in Pierre Villette’s Hymn to the Virgin and time and again the basses contributed telling deep notes where required.
Varying tone for the expression of a range of moods, the choir generally sang without straining, with its different sections balanced and blending well.
Only Dupre’s Psalm 117, plainly intended as a rousing finale, seemed too steep a vocal challenge.
Christopher Smith, Eastern Daily Press,  November 2012

A Glimpse of Heaven recitals

Roderick Earle writes: When I put forward the idea of the choir singing several short recitals over one weekend, I would not have been surprised if everyone had thrown up their arms in horror. I knew it would be a challenge – organisationally, vocally and in making further demands on choir member’s precious time – but our choir chairman Peter and the committee were enthusiastic and jumped at developing the idea and so A Glimpse of Heaven, a weekend of short sacred recitals, was born.
By repeating a programme drawn from our first six programmes in six different churches I knew we would gain valuable performing experience, and consolidate the core of our repertoire. We would also learn how to cope with different acoustics and most importantly we would be going out into the communities around Colchester and singing to new audiences.
Well, I think we can say that although it was hard work we gained all that I had hoped for and much more. I was thrilled that each concert consolidated the achievements of the previous one and that the ensemble and sensitivity to direction improved all the way along. Different acoustics require slightly different choices of tempo and dynamics and the choir responded to these issues like real professionals. And most impressively they kept up their energy levels selling each programme with passion and commitment. Perhaps the two best concerts were those at the end of Saturday and Sunday.
In three days we travelled from Harwich to the east to Henny and Bures to the north, singing in widely different churches and to widely different communities.
We arrived in a damp and misty Harwich to sing in the magnificent St. Nicholas’ Church, a grand Victorian building full of reminders of former maritime splendour.  Here the audience was led by the Mayor, wearing his chain of office, and the friends, patrons and sponsors of the Harwich Festival, in which we will be singing later in the year. Boxted on Saturday afternoon could not have offered a bigger contrast. Bathed in spring sunshine and surrounded by snowdrops and daffodils, this exquisite little church was packed with an enthusiastic audience of all ages.
We then moved into Colchester to give two more recitals, the first at St. Leonard’s, Lexden, the church where we gave our first three concerts and then to the Catholic church of St. James the Less and St. Helen, right in the town. The choir was now on a roll.
On the Sunday we started in the tiny hilltop church at Gt. Henny where the audience cheered and stamped their feet with appreciation and treated us to wonderful refreshments. It was a surprise to come out of the warm church into pouring rain and a gale of a wind. Many of our cars were quite stuck in the field that served as the church car park. With local help we did all get away for the last concert down in the valley at Bures, where not only the altitude but the temperature dropped bringing flurries of snow. St. Mary’s Bures, beautifully restored and with dramatic new lighting, was the perfect setting for our last concert where I think the choir reached the peak of its form. Drinks and canapés, provided by the parish, before a relaxing meal and a pint in the Swan rounded off a fabulous weekend.
We sang to about 600 hundred people and helped churches to raise nearly £2,500.