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Festival 2024

The Exon Singers hold their annual festival in the historic market town of Tavistock, Devon, with recitals and services in the town’s beautiful 13th century parish church of St Eustachius, and in nearby Buckland Abbey.

The 56th Exon Singers Festival will run from Wednesday 24th to Sunday 28th July 2024.

Tickets

Tickets will be available at the door for all concerts, with card payments accepted.

 

Evening Concert tickets £15 (Wed & Thu) / £18 (Sat) | U18 free. 

Choral Workshop (Fri) £10 / Workshop & Performance £25 | U18 free.

Friends and Benefactors Festival Ticket covering all evening concerts £40.

Free entry, with retiring collection, for the Festival Services and Lunchtime Recitals at St Eustachius, Tavistock.

Free entry to the Lunchtime Recital at Buckland Abbey, after admission to the grounds (National Trust).
 

MOZART AND VIVALDI
Wednesday 24th July 7.30pm
Tavistock Parish Church

 

Two classical greats – Mozart and Vivaldi.
 

The Exon Festival opens with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s spirited Krönungsmesse “Coronation Mass” and Antonio Vivaldi’s well-loved Gloria. Both works feature soloists taken from the choir and provide as many opportunities for reflection as they do moments of great excitement.

The Haldon Quartet will join our organist Neil Taylor in accompanying the Gloria, and Mozart’s sublime motet Ave verum corpus.



W A Mozart Krönungsmesse “Coronation Mass” K.317
W A Mozart Ave verum corpus K.618



Antonio Vivaldi Gloria RV589

The Exon Singers
The Haldon Quartet
Neil Taylor, Organ
Joseph Judge, Conductor

Haldon Quartet.jpg
THE HALDON QUARTET
Thursday 25th July 1.10pm
Tavistock Parish Church

An irresistible programme of lunchtime treats.

“Schubert in a nutshell” is a fair description of his succinct G minor string quartet. His unmistakable gift for melody, so present in his songs, flows freely in this quartet. He also fleetingly suggests more mystical realms, a foretaste of his later works.

The artist's affinity with nature, central to Schubert's ethos, is continued in Caroline Shaw’s wonderfully evocative garden tour in Plan and Elevation. To finish, traditional folk music from Devon and Ireland will give you a spring in your step as you leave.



Franz Schubert String Quartet in G minor D.173
Caroline Shaw Plan and Elevation
Trad. Devon arr. Haldon Quartet Roving Jack and The Oxen Ploughing
arr. Percy Grainger Molly on the Shore



Lindsay Braga Violin
Mandy Britton Violin
Andrew Gillett Viola
Rebecca Allnatt Cello

ALL MY PAST AND FUTURES
Thursday 25th July 7.30pm
Tavistock Parish Church

 

Eric Whitacre’s When David Heard will leave you breathless.

Beginning with music that expresses outward devotion and love for Mary, Mother of God, this a cappella recital travels inward, and turns to themes of uncertainty, conflict, loss, and the cyclical nature of time.

After luminous works of adoration by John Tavener and Healey Willan, Sarah Rimkus’ Mater Dei juxtaposes the traditional Ave Maria plainchant and W B Yeats’ poem The Mother of God to explore Mary’s inner thoughts. This is also heard in composer Simon Beattie’s setting of a text by former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, as he describes the famous C12th icon Our Lady of Vladimir.

Ukranian composer Natalia Tsupryk was commissioned by SANSARA in 2022 to write A quiet night – Tyhoyi nochi as a musical expression of solidarity with the people of Ukraine following the full-scale invasion by Russian Forces. She uses a text written by renowned Ukranian poet Serhiy Zhadan alongside quotes from a speech given by President Volodymyr Zelensky that same year. Evelin Seppar’s intense setting of Psalm 129 translates “they often pushed me … they didn’t overpower me”.

Dame Ethel Smyth’s setting of Komm süsser Tod or “Come, Sweet Death” is a part song based on a Lutheran chorale tune and expresses a weary desire for death and heaven. When David Heard by Eric Whitacre uses space, silence, and cluster harmonies to communicate the feelings of the biblical King David on learning that his son, Absalom, has been killed. A long and powerful work, and one that is sure to remain with you long after hearing it.

The recital ends with Geoff Lawson’s arrangement of Radiohead’s Pyramid Song, inspired by an exhibition of ancient Egyptian underworld art and ideas of cyclical time.



John Tavener Hymn to the Mother of God
Healey Willan 1 Fair in Face
Healey Willan 2 I beheld her, beautiful as a dove
Healey Willan 3 Rise up, my love, my fair one
Sarah Rimkus Mater Dei
Simon Beattie To our Lady
Natalia Tsupryk A quiet night
Evelin Seppar Psalm 129
Ethel Smyth Komm süsser Tod
Eric Whitacre When David Heard
Radiohead Arr. Lawson Pyramid Song



The Exon Singers
Joseph Judge, Conductor

COMPLINE BY CANDLELIGHT
Thursday 25th July 9.00pm
Tavistock Parish Church

 

Quietness and reflection.
 

Following the concert All my past and futures, and after a short break, the beautiful and meditative service of Compline will take place under candlelight.

It lasts for approximately 20 minutes and congregation participation is welcomed.

The service is sung to Gregorian chant, and will conclude with the serene Tonight Eternity Alone by Rene Clausen as the anthem.

Service sheets will be distributed at the service.

Admission free, retiring collection.

THE EXON SINGERS: FROM RENAISSANCE TO RADIOHEAD
Friday 26th July 1.10pm
The Great Barn, National Trust Buckland Abbey

 

Music from the Renaissance to Radiohead in The Great Barn at National Trust Buckland Abbey.
 

A striking lunchtime recital programme featuring Gregorian chant and a modern work inspired by the same chant, a great hymn of praise from the Renaissance, contemporary pieces with captivating harmonies, and ending with a serene choral arrangement of Radiohead’s Pyramid Song.

Visitors and concert goers alike will be welcome to wander around the Great Barn as we perform this 50-minute informal recital.

Chant Ave Maria
Giovanni Gabrieli Jubilate Deo
John Tavener Hymn to the Mother of God
Healey Willan 3 Rise up, my love, my fair one
Sarah Rimkus Mater Dei
Natalia Tsupryk A quiet night
Rene Clausen Tonight Eternity Alone
Ester Magi Siin mu rõõmumaa
Eric Whitacre When David Heard
Radiohead Arr. Lawson Pyramid Song

The Exon Singers
Joseph Judge, Conductor

NEIL TAYLOR: ORGAN RECITAL
Friday 26th July 1.10pm
Tavistock Parish Church

Neil’s recital was a true highlight of last year’s festival, and this programme is full of greats. Come and marvel at the instrument hiding behind the carvings, played with trademark virtuosity. From the sheer technicality of Bach, to quieter moments from French composers Langlais and Vierne, ending with the fabulous Iain Farrington Voices of the World, written for King Charles III Coronation service, featuring musical themes taken from various Commonwealth countries. C V Stanford                            Postlude in D minor Jean Langlais                         Chant de paix Johann Sebastian Bach    Prelude and fugue in B minor BWV 544 Louis Vierne                             Clair de lune Iain Farrington                        Voices of the world Free, with retiring collection

CHORAL WORKSHOP: RUTTER GLORIA
Friday 26th July 6.30pm - 8.30pm
Tavistock Parish Church
Performance with the Exon Singers
Saturday 27th July 
PM Rehearsal / 7.30pm Concert

Join The Exon Singers, Artistic Director Joseph Judge, and Organist Neil Taylor for a choral workshop on John Rutter’s exuberant and joyful Gloria
 

As well as a fun evening working on all aspects of singing technique and some hints on score reading, it’s the perfect preparation for your involvement in Saturday evening’s performance of the work accompanied by organ, percussion, and the Bristol Brass Consort.

John Rutter Gloria

Joseph Judge, Conductor
Neil Taylor, Accompanist
The Exon Singers

HYMN TO THE SUN
Saturday 27th July 7.30pm
Tavistock Parish Church

 

John Rutter’s jubilant Gloria for organ, brass, and percussion, and Jonathan Dove’s sparkling The Passing of the Year for double-chorus and piano headline in this programme of music sure to refresh the soul.

The first half begins with Breathe Free by Sarah Rimkus, a setting of The New Colossus, Emma Lazarus’ poem found on the base of the Statue of Liberty, and heavily influenced by American shape note singing. Then Lili Boulanger’s bold Hymne au soleil speaks of the power of the morning sun, before the gloaming of Tarik O’Regan’s Threshold of Night, originally written as an Advent work, it “aims to highlight the yearning that all societies have, in their time of need, for guidance from beyond their community.” The Passing of the Year by Jonathan Dove is dedicated to the memory of his mother, and the seven short movements are all separate texts referencing the passing of the seasons.

Tonight Eternity Alone is full of peace and wonder, a setting of Dusk at Sea by Thomas S Jones Jr, the fading light on an open sea giving space for both serenity and contemplation. Ester Magi’s Siin mu rõõmumaa is an ode to an Estonian homeland “Here is my land of joy” and that the setting and rising of the sun heals all. Our festival concert ends on a jubilant note with Giovanni Gabrieli’s Jubilate Deo before a performance of John Rutter’s Gloria – set ablaze with the Bristol Brass Consort, a percussion duo, the church organ, the Exon Singers, and all those who took part in Friday evening’s Choral Workshop.



Sarah Rimkus Breathe Free
Lili Boulanger Hymne au soleil “Hymn to the Sun”
Tarik O’Regan Threshold of Night
Jonathan Dove The Passing of the Year

Rene Clausen Tonight Eternity Alone
Ester Magi Siin mu rõõmumaa
Giovanni Gabrieli Jubilate Deo
John Rutter Gloria



The Exon Singers
Bristol Brass Consort
Percussionists
Come and Sing Choir
Neil Taylor, Accompanist
Joseph Judge, Conductor

CHORAL EUCHARIST
Sunday 28th July 9.45am
Tavistock Parish Church

 

W A Mozart Krönungsmesse K.317
W A Mozart Ave verum corpus K.618

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