Anthems, Hymns and Gloria for Brass Band

In 2019 the Chorus recorded John Rutter’s Gloria with Black Dyke Band – and the CD on which it is features reached the Number One spot in the Classic FM Specialist Classical Albums charts in October 2020, only two weeks after it’s release by Naxos.

The CD Anthems, Hymns and Gloria for Brass Band , was recorded in St Oswald’s Church on Bannerdale Road in Sheffield. Directed by Professor Nicholas Childs and Chorus Music Director Darius Battiwalla, the CD was featured as Album of the Week on the Classic FM radio station, and rapidly moved up the chart over the following week.

The CD features eleven tracks composed by Rutter and arranged for brass band by Belgian conductor Luc Vertommen. It includes many of the English choral composer’s most famous works, including the Pie Jesu from his 1985 Requiem, and This is the Day composed for the wedding of HRH Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011.

John Rutter’s Gloria was composed in 1974 for choir, brass, percussion and organ, with an alternative version for choir and orchestra. Described as “exalted, devotional and jubilant”, it was Rutter’s first commission from the US. Structured in three movements and based on the Gloria from the Latin mass, it was always intended as a concert piece.

Buy Anthems on Black Dyke Band website

Buy Anthems via Naxos

Read more about the CD:

Chorus CD tops the charts!

Chorus feature on Black Dyke Band CD

Chorus CD tops the charts!

Tuesday 20 October 2020

The CD recorded by the Chorus with Black Dyke Band has reached the Number One spot in the Classic FM Specialist Classical Albums charts, outselling recordings by Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra, the Halle, the Sixteen and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.

The Chorus recorded the new Naxos CD release of music by composer John Rutter with the world-famous Black Dyke Band one chilly October evening last year, in St Oswald’s Church on Bannerdale Road in Sheffield. Directed by Prof Nicholas Childs and Chorus Music Director Darius Battiwalla, the CD Anthems, Hymns and Gloria for Brass Band was recently featured as Album of the Week on the Classic FM radio station. The impact on sales from around the world was immediate, and the CD rapidly moved up the chart over the following week.

Chorus and band recording the Gloria in St Oswald’s Church

‘We joined the band to record Rutter’s concert work ‘Gloria’, which was commissioned in 1974 by The Voices of Mel Olsen in Omaha, Nebraska, when Rutter was making his first trip to the United States.’ explained Chorus Chair Paul Henstridge. ‘We love collaborating with this amazing band of consummate musicians, who join us for the annual carol concert in the City Hall each year. We had a wonderful evening at St Oswald’s and are absolutely delighted that it has  led to an Album of the Week and the Number One slot!’

The CD features eleven tracks composed by Rutter and arranged for brass band by Belgian conductor Luc Vertommen. It includes many of the English choral composer’s most famous works, including the Pie Jesu from his 1985 Requiem, and This is the Day composed for the wedding of HRH Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011.

The Chorus has collaborated with the Black Dyke Band on numerous occasions, including two world premieres, Philip Wilby’s oratorio Holy Face with Leeds Philharmonic Chorus in 2017 and Paul Mealor’s beautiful Paradise in 2018. Joint recordings include Wilby’s Holy Face and Awake Arise, a Christmas CD full of festive music from Yorkshire. Chorus Music Director and Leeds City Organist Darius Battiwalla is no stranger to brass band music, regularly composing and arranging works for brass and chorus. 

Recording with Black Dyke Band in St Oswald’s Church Bannerdale Road Sheffield

‘Darius most recently arranged two pieces for brass band and chorus during the coronavirus lock-down’ said Chorus Administrator Anne Adams, ‘One is an beautiful soprano aria from Handel’s Messiah, which we were planning to present with Black Dyke in Sheffield cathedral but sadly had to postpone, and the other is a 16th Century German carol which we and Black Dyke are going to record from our homes as part of a virtual Christmas carol concert in December.’

Chorus and band hope to present the brass Messiah in 2021, alongside choirs from France and Germany, and the Chorus is still hoping to be able to present Rachmaninov’s Vespers and Faure’s Requiem at the City Hall in May and June 2021.

In the meantime you can hear the new arrangement of Handel’s ‘How Beautiful are the Feet‘ on the Chorus website at sheffieldphil.org / records-and-books / how-beautiful-are-the-feet , you can buy our buy our Christmas CD – and of course you can help to keep the John Rutter Anthems CD at the top of the charts by buying it from the Black Dyke Band website at www.blackdykeshop.co.uk

News

Tis the season…….

Tuesday 15 December 2020

Sheffield Telegraph

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus are determined that this year will be no different.  To ensure their customary seasonal cheer endures, they have had to be rather inventive, since their usual joyous concert with over two-hundred musicians on stage and thousand-strong audiences at Sheffield’s City Hall, would certainly not comply with the current social distancing guidelines.

“When I was asked to present the Chorus’s Christmas Carol Concert this December, I admit, I was rather surprised, especially when I heard it would still include over a hundred voices and the full Black Dyke Band”, explained the choir’s new Patron Petroc Trelawny. One of the best known voices on BBC Radio 3 and with over 17 years introducing the BBC Proms, Petroc joined as a Patron earlier in the year, and had been due to present the choir’s annual carol concert at the City Hall, now abandoned due to coronavirus restrictions. ‘The choir’s carol concert in Sheffield has kicked-off my Christmas for a few years now, and I’m absolutely delighted to become their Patron – and to be able to join in the festivities again by recording a contribution from home’.

Like so many musicians, Chorus members and the Black Dyke Band have had to get to grips with technology, and were tasked by the choir’s Music Director, Darius Battiwalla, to record themselves singing and playing, so a virtual choir and band could be created.  It’s obviously taken a bit of getting used to, but they do seem to have risen to the challenge remarkably well. 

Discussing the singers, “It’s actually rather fitting now I think about it” remarked Petroc. As presenter for the concert, he was particularly talking about one of the pieces specially commissioned for the choir’s first YouTube broadcast – a new version of the 16th century carol Resonet in Laudibus, arranged for brass band and chorus by Darius.  “In past centuries, people would have gathered in kitchens and round fireplaces to make music together, singing festive carols during dark evenings, so 2020 is just a high-tech version of some of the old traditions”. 

“We are absolutely thrilled that Petroc is now to be one of our Patrons.  As a prominent radio presenter of great experience, I’m sure a good number of us could have done with a few tips about recording techniques” quipped Rachel Copley, President of the Chorus, rather dryly. “But more seriously, this year, more than ever, we need to ensure we bring light and joy into people’s homes.  We’ve all been keen to take on the steep learning curve needed to ensure we can still present quality music now, and be ready to perform again live when we all come back together in 2021.”

Link to article in the Sheffield Telegraph Tuesday 15 December 2020

Listen to the virtual carol concert

Previous News Items

Tuesday 15 December 2020 ‘Tis the season…..

20 October 2020 Chorus CD tops the charts!

21 July 2020 Music Director gives on-line recital for Yorkshire Day

21 July 2020 lockdown performance of Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus music director’s new arrangement for Handel’s Messiah

6 July 2020 Music Director’s beautiful Messiah arrangement

28 June 2020 Chorus starts on-line rehearsals

18 June 2020 Music Director joins choral greats in highlighting challenges faced by choirs

16 June 2020 The Guardian – Covid-19 has silences choirs

18 May 2020 Chorus supports its locked-down musicians

23 March 2020 Concerts postponed and rehearsals cancelled

2 February 2020 Chorus to sing Messiah with French and German visitors

2019

17 December 2019 REVIEW: Sheffield’s Christmas concert tradition

16 December 2019 Carol wins Classic FM competition

15 December 2019 Sheffield Telegraph – Chorus in finals of national carol competition

14 November 2019 REVIEW – ‘Beautifully and intricately rendered by the choir’

8 November 2019 Bring a Man Night

2 November 2019 Chorus to present Bochum gift to Lord Mayor

22 October 2019 Chorus feature on Black Dyke Band CD

28 September 2019 Chorus kicks off BBC Music Day

23 Sept 2019 Chorus kick off BBC Music Day on Fargate

12 June 2019 REVIEW Holy Face Sheffield Telegraph

 
 

07 April 2019 Bach’s compendium; SPC /Royal Northern Sinfonia, City Hall

14 March 2019 Women centre stage – Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus /Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, City Hall

5 Feb 2019 Press release from Bochum, Germany: Mayor Erika Stahl receives Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus

1 Feb 2019 Chorus members sing Messiah in Germany

2018

28 Dec New Year’s Honour for local choir President

13 Dec 2018 Chorus Hat trick

6 Dec 2018 Excellent programme from the Chorus

26 Oct 2018 Composer thrilled with recording

28 July 2018 Yorkshire Post celebrates publication of 1911 World Tour Book

23 July 2018 Chorus members sing in France during World Cup

20 July 2018 Tour de France for Sheffield Choir

03 July 2018 Chorus prepares to deliver French mini tour

14 June 2018 Up Close and Personal

11 June 2018 Audience thrilled by Rossini and original Mustel harmonium

31 May 2018 Chorus and harmonium in perfect harmony

11 May 2018 ‘Outstanding’ – Chorus ends Mahler tour on high note

30 April 2018  Review: Bruckner Orchester Linz, Usher Hall, Edinburgh, four stars

30 April 2018 Chorus sing a ‘blazing’ Mahler 2 in Edinburgh

29 April 2018 ‘Assertive Mahler’ Simon Thompson, Seen and Heard International

12 Feb 2018 Chorus sings with Sheffield mezzo soprano

3 Feb 2018 World premiere ‘an emotive journey’

12 Jan 2018 Chorus on journey to Paradise

2017

11 Dec 2017 Calypso Carol on Classic FM

15 Oct 2017 Composer thrilled with premiere of his new work

3 July 2017 Chorus records new CD

6 April 2017 Stairs? No problem!

24 April 2017 Open Letter from the Chair: The relevance of classical music.

20 March 2017 It’s a fact – Singing is good for you!

pre-2016

16 May 2016 140th birthday celebrations

16 Feb 2016 What’s your ‘Fantasy Concert’?

18 Oct 2015 Sisters Steal Away

15 May 2015 Now on sale: ‘Awake, Arise! A Yorkshire Christmas Collection for Brass and Voices‘, our exciting CD of Christmas music

18 Feb 2013 Rachmaninov – will Chorus be reaching for the vodka?

8 Oct 2012 Free choral workshops and a welcome return for Handel’s Messiah

8 Aug 2012 Free choral workshops and a year full of singing

17 June 2012 Olympic Dreams – Will it be Singin’ in The Rain or Mr Blue Skies?

16 Apr 2012 Contemporary composers take centre stage

16 Apr 2012 New community links in Sheffield

3 April 2012 Bronte Mass ‘impressive’

12 Feb 2012 Alight: Eclectic music lines up to take centre stage as part of the Cultural Olympiad

13 Jan 2012 Scaling The Heights – Singclude Breaks Down Barriers For Disabled Singers

24 Feb 2011 Three-fold choral debut

22 Nov 2010 Songs of Praise – Chorus celebrate 75th Anniversary year with audience of over 2 million

28 Oct 2010 The Dream of Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus

</a=””>

Music Director gives on-line recital for Yorkshire Day

Friday 31 July 2020

To celebrate Yorkshire Day 2020, East Leeds FM radio / Chapel FM Arts Centre will broadcast a special programme live from Leeds Town Hall on Saturday 1 August from 12 noon.

The programme will include a special concert by Chorus Music Director and Leeds City Organist Darius Battiwalla, on the Town Hall’s magnificent organ.

This will be the first live performance at the Town Hall since the Coronavirus Lock-down – though obviously with no live audience. 

Darius’s Yorkshire Day programme features music which has been written by composers with a direct link to Yorkshire and will include an interview with composer Philip Wilby, whose oratorio The Holy Face was performed by the Chorus a few years ago.

Darius will introduce the pieces as he would normally do in his much-loved Monday lunchtime organ concerts at Leeds Town Hall.

Click here to read more and to listen to the broadcast.

Lockdown performance of new arrangement for Handel’s Messiah

Julia Armstrong, Sheffield Telegraph

Tuesday 21 July 2020

A Sheffield choir music director has been busy over lockdown, writing a new brass arrangement for Handel’s Messiah which world-famed musicians performed in their homes.

The arrangement by Darius Battiwalla of the soprano aria How Beautiful Are the Feet is actually one of three from the Messiah that he put together for Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus.

“Darius wrote the new arrangements for us in return for continued payment during the lockdown,” said chorus chair Paul Henstridge.

“We’re absolutely thrilled. It means that when we eventually perform the brass version with the wonderful Black Dyke Band, we can sing two more choruses than would otherwise have been possible”.

The chorus were set to perform a brass version of Messiah in April but the concert had to be postponed.

Soprano Catrin Pryce-Jones was to have appeared alongside the chorus, so she was delighted when Darius asked her to make a virtual recording of How Beautiful Are the Feet, along with members of the world-famous Black Dyke Band, all performing from their own homes during lockdown.

“The new arrangement is very light and delicate, which is just right for this aria,” said chorus dministrator Anne Adams. “Catrin sings it beautifully and the band accompany her with great sensitivity.”

You can judge for yourself, as the recording has been uploaded to the chorus website and can be enjoyed for free at https://sheffieldphil.org/how-beautiful-are-the-feet

In addition to the new Messiah arrangements, the chorus also commissioned Darius to write some Christmas music for them to sing at their popular annual carol concert at the City Hall in December.

He has created a new brass arrangement of Resonet in Laudibus, a 16th-century German carol. If that concert can’t go ahead, they plan to perform it virtually as part of an online carol concert, along with the Black Dyke Band, again recorded from their own homes.

The brass Messiah concert has been rescheduled for Saturday, April 23, 2022 in Sheffield City Hall. The 180 members of the chorus were going to be joined by more than 50 singers from Perigeux in France and from Sheffield’s twin city of Bochum in Germany.Happily, both choirs are planning to cross the Channel for the rescheduled concert.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Read the original article on the Sheffield Telegraph website

Lockdown performance of Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus music director’s new arrangement for Handel’s Messiah

A Sheffield choir music director has been busy over lockdown, writing a new brass arrangement for Handel’s Messiah which world-famed musicians performed in their homes.

By Julia Armstrong Sheffield Telegraph Tuesday, 21st July 2020

The arrangement by Darius Battiwalla of the soprano aria How Beautiful Are the Feet is actually one of three from the Messiah that he put together for Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus.

“Darius wrote the new arrangements for us in return for continued payment during the lockdown,” said chorus chair Paul Henstridge. “We’re absolutely thrilled. It means that when we eventually perform the brass version with the wonderful Black Dyke Band, we can sing two more choruses than would otherwise have been possible”.

The chorus were set to perform a brass version of Messiah in April but the concert had to be postponed. Soprano Catrin Pryce-Jones was to have appeared alongside the chorus, so she was delighted when Darius asked her to make a virtual recording of How Beautiful Are the Feet, along with members of the world-famous Black Dyke Band, all performing from their own homes during lockdown.

“The new arrangement is very light and delicate, which is just right for this aria,” said chorus administrator Anne Adams. “Catrin sings it beautifully and the band accompany her with great sensitivity.”

You can judge for yourself, as the recording has been uploaded to the chorus website and can be enjoyed for free at https://sheffieldphil.org/how-beautiful-are-the-feet/.

In addition to the new Messiah arrangements, the chorus also commissioned Darius to write some Christmas music for them to sing at their popular annual carol concert at the City Hall in December. He has created a new brass arrangement of Resonet in Laudibus, a 16th-century German carol. If that concert can’t go ahead, they plan to perform it virtually as part of an online carol concert, along with the Black Dyke Band, again recorded from their own homes.

The brass Messiah concert has been rescheduled for Saturday, April 23, 2022 in Sheffield City Hall. The 180 members of the chorus were going to be joined by more than 50 singers from Perigeux in France and from Sheffield’s twin city of Bochum in Germany. Happily, both choirs are planning to cross the Channel for the rescheduled concert.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Link to the article in the Sheffield Telegraph online

Music Director joins choral greats in highlighting challenges faced by choirs

18 June 2020

‘Singing in a choir …… is a powerful expression of our culture and humanity, and it cannot be allowed to fade away.’

The Chorus Music Director, Darius Battiwalla, is one of a group of ‘choral greats’ whose powerful letter to the Guardian was published on Tuesday 16 June 2020.

The letter, ‘Covid-19 has silenced choirs – we must find a way to restart singing together‘, has eighteen co-signatories, including some of the most highly respected and influential names in the world of choral music.

Composer/conductors Bob Chilcott and John Rutter joined Harry Christophers, founder of The Sixteen, opera singer Sarah Connelly and internationally-renowned choral directors Simon Halsey and David Hill, are among those who have written in response to the open letter by Sir Simon Rattle and Sir Mark Elder on 10 June about the immense challenges faced by musicians. 

We are writing in response to the heartfelt letter on behalf of classical music and musicians from Sir Simon Rattle and Sir Mark Elder (UK orchestras may not survive coronavirus pandemic, conductors warn, 10 June), to give voice to the millions of people who sing in choirs in this country.

Up until now we have had one of the most vibrant choral landscapes in the world. Our professional choral life, consisting of world-renowned chamber choirs, vocal ensembles, opera choruses, cathedral choirs and theatre ensembles, faces an uncertain future. The financial picture for such groups has always been challenging, even in the best of times, but the outlook now for such ensembles, mostly made up of freelance musicians, is not an optimistic one.

We have a world-leading cathedral and church choir tradition, largely made up of young boys and girls and paid adult singers who face financial hardship and also serious challenges of continuity. The amateur choir life of this country is huge, from the world-class symphony choruses and university choirs to community and school choirs, and all these groups face a time of great uncertainty.

We need church leaders to have the courage to speak out so that we can make singing together in churches work within certain guidelines. We need the government to show how we can restart singing together on an equal footing with opening theme parks, shopping and kicking a football around. It is imperative that we find a way for choirs in this country to resume as soon and as safely as we can.

Singing in a choir is not only about communality, social cohesion and harmony; for many it is an essential source of emotional wellbeing and positive mental health. Moreover it is a powerful expression of our culture and humanity, and it cannot be allowed to fade away.’

Bob Chilcott Composer/conductorJohn Rutter Composer/conductorSarah Connolly Opera singerSimon Halsey Chorus directorLSO, CBSOHarry Christophers Founder, The Sixteen, David Hill Musical director, The Bach ChoirGavin Carr Chorus director, The Philharmonia Chorus, Bournemouth Symphony Chorus, Matthew Hamilton Choral director, The Hallé, Ben Parry Conductor, National Youth Choir, David Temple Conductor, Crouch End Festival ChorusAndrew Carwood Director of music, St Paul’s CathedralAshley Grote Master of music, Norwich CathedralAdrian Partington Director of music, Gloucester CathedralRobert Dean Guildhall School of MusicJonathan Willcocks Musical director, Guildford Choral SocietyDarius Battiwalla Musical directorSheffield Philharmonic ChorusLeslie East Chair, Association of British Choral DirectorsAidan Oliver Conductor

Link to the letter on the Guardian website

Link to Sir Simon Rattle and Sir Mark Elder’s letter

REVIEW: Sheffield’s Christmas concert tradition

SHEFFIELD PHILHARMONIC CHORUS/ BLACK DYKE BAND, CITY HALL

Review by Philip Andrews Sheffield Telegraph Tuesday, 17th December 2019, 5:32 pm

Christmas music may have been playing in your supermarket since September but the season in Sheffield doesn’t really get under way until the City Hall’s annual Christmas concert.

To get us in festive mood this year, Phil director Darius Battiwalla put together an eclectic programme of familiar carols, a couple of gems from the rich store of Sheffield carols and a brand new piece written to raise money to help the homeless. He even arranged the curtain raiser – the familiar O Come, O Come Emmanual – for the trio of forces which combined so well throughout this concert – choir, brass band and the City Hall’s mighty organ, played here by Neil Taylor.

Professor Nicholas Childs, conductor of Black Dyke Band

Black Dyke’s offerings, under their musical director Nicholas Childs, ranged from the ever-popular Winter Wonderland, via a couple of familiar medleys to A Christmas Carol, by the talented young composer Matt Eden, who specialises in new pieces for brass band.

Paul Fincham’s affecting new carol Ring the Bells was commissioned a couple of years ago by the London Philharmonic Choir to raise awareness of homelessness, and delicately handled here by their Sheffield namesakes in what may have been its first performance in the city. Let’s hope it is not the last, as all the royalties from the piece are donated to the homeless charity, Crisis.

The only downside to what has now become an eagerly-anticipated Sheffield Christmas tradition was the disappointing audience figure for the evening performance, which had been brought forward this year to a tea-time start.

Link to the review in Sheffield Telegraph online

Composer to hear Black Dyke Band and massed voices perform his new work

8 June 2019

Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus are thrilled that the composer Philip Wilby will be in attendance at the forthcoming concert premiere of the brass band version of his oratorio The Holy Face at the City Hall at 3pm on Sunday 9 June 2019. The Chorus will be joined by the Black Dyke Band, Halifax Choral Society, the Yorkshire Youth Choir and four great soloists for this very special concert.

‘The Holy Face was written for massed voices, organ and either brass band or orchestra.’ said Chorus Chairman Paul Henstridge. ‘We are really looking forward to singing this musical retelling of the life of St John with our friends the Halifax Choral Society, who commissioned it to celebrate their 200th Anniversary in 2017.’

‘We are really committed to making classical music accessible to young people’ said Chorus administrator Anne Adams ‘So we have sent out a really generous ticket offer to all the brass training bands, our Sheffield-based youth orchestras, all the secondary schools and the Sheffield Music Hub and Music Academy. Seven members of the Black Dyke Band have agreed to meet Sheffield’s young brass players after the concert – how fantastic is that!’

The brass version of The Holy Face was recorded in June 2017, and the orchestral premiere held in Halifax later that year. The CD is available from Halifax Choral Society’s website.

Also on the programme is Paradise, a fabulous new work by Welsh-born composer Paul Mealor, who sprang to fame in 2011 when his Ubi Caritas was featured at the wedding of the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge. Paradise is a beautiful piece for brass band and voices which the chorus recorded in January with the world-famous Black Dyke Band in Sheffield’s own City Hall. The recording has been published as part of the Black Dyke Gold series – and composer Paul Mealor is thrilled with it. ‘I am very impressed.’ said Paul on hearing the CD. ‘It’s a fantastic recording of the work.’

The piece features two elements sung by the Chorus alongside the Black Dyke Band, sandwiching a central section of fiendish difficulty showcasing the band’s incredible virtuosity. The Chorus first sang Paradise in January at the Brass Band Festival held each year at the Royal Northern School of Music in Manchester, a performance that was broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

The concert begins with another work by Philip Wilby, his organ concerto Cinema, written for organ and brass band, and featuring Chorus Music Director and Leeds City Organist Darius Battiwalla on the magnificent City Hall organ.

Tickets are available from the City Hall box office.