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St Salvator’s chapel choir celebrates third album release

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The University of St Andrews will celebrate the launch of its third album of choral music, released on its ground-breaking record label Sanctiandree, with a complete performance of Bach’s Mass in B Minor at 7.30pm on Sunday (10 April, 2016) in St Salvator’s Chapel, University of St Andrews.

The latest CD, Bach and the Stile Antico, was recorded in St Salvador’s Episcopal Church in Dundee and will be released on Friday (8 April, 2016). The album charts the evolution of the Credo from Bach’s Mass in B minor via works known to, and performed by, the composer during its composition.

Bach and the Stile Antico is performed by the St Salvator’s Chapel Choir under the direction of University Organist and Director of the St Salvator’s Chapel Choir, Tom Wilkinson. The project is the result of research carried out by Wilkinson as part of his doctoral studies into the music of Bach and his composer sons.

Tom explains: “A key element of the evolution towards Bach’s Credo is the so-called ‘Stile Antico’, a strict musical language developed in the sixteenth century – so it was already 200 years old by the time of Bach. He seems to have been very interested in this style and it informs some of his own pieces.”

The centrepiece of the disc is the credo from the Mass in B minor. Several movements in that Credo are in the Stile Antico.

Wilkinson continues: “One of the other movements on our disc is what seems to be a practice by J.S. Bach for his first movement. It’s the same text, written as a short work for a choir and continuo. This is a relatively unknown work and, as far as we know, it receives its first recording on our CD.”

The chapel choir’s members are all supported by choral scholarships, allowing them free access to weekly singing lessons and touring activities.

Choir member Scott Blance, a student of international relations, comments: “The facilities and opportunities available to musicians, considering this is not a music conservatoire, really make the University of St Andrews unique. The depth and scale of opportunities off-set your studies nicely because you get the balance of academic and music – which is a really nice thing to have.”

In addition to St Salvator’s Chapel Choir, the CD features baroque instruments played by the outstanding young London-based baroque ensemble Ars Eloquentiae and by the renowned Fitzwilliam String Quartet.

The CD launch event will take the form of a complete performance of Bach’s Mass, which was never performed in its entirety during Bach’s lifetime. The performance will be led by the choir, together with Scotland’s pre-professional baroque ensemble, The Kellie Consort, and the Fitzwilliam String Quartet. The concert, at St Salvator’s Chapel in the grounds of the University of St Andrews, will be free to all with special-price copies of the CD available for purchase.


Notes to news editors

Sanctiandree is the first music label to be established by a Scottish university.

Choral singing has been a key feature of student life at the University of St Andrews since its foundation in 1413, with early sources referring to the ‘Choristi Sanctiandree’, when all students were obliged to sing in the chapel. Today’s chapel choir members are important ambassadors for the University, touring internationally on an annual basis. They are the only University choir in Scotland to sing three services each week during semester.

Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office, contactable on 01334 462530 or proffice@st-andrews.ac.uk.

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