Kassel, Germany

After last week’s large-scale heroics in the US, we took three flights in getting to Zurich on Monday and headed off around Europe for our penultimate tour of the summer term. We’ve swapped an enormous Conference Center for mediaeval churches, and moved back several hundred years in our repertoire choices. In short, we are being kept on our toes…

A few days ago, we sang four Bach Chorales during the first half of our concert for the MDR Sommerfestival. We hardly ever sing Bach, although each of us has a lot of experience of performing his wonderful music pre-KS, and it was delightful to re-visit some favourite chorales taken from some of the great oratorios. By linking them with the works of other composers (Schutz, Reger, Mendelssohn) we could draw a parallel between the composition styles and see how clearly Bach influenced his successors. More than just an academic exercise, this process was extremely enjoyable and I think we will investigate further possibilities for this kind of programming.

The five of us who are continuing in the group from September onwards are having frequent meetings to decide how we want to shape the future of the KS: respect and due consideration of the history and experience of the group has to be tempered with a desire to innovate and inject energy into the next chapter, and it’s important that we balance these things equally. Pat joined us on tour last week in the US, and we enjoyed rehearsing and getting to know him better. Relationships are of paramount importance within a tight-knit organisation such as ours, and mutual respect can grow only by spending as much time as possible with the team. This, I am please to report, is going extremely well on all counts.

At the same time, we’re determined to mark David’s onward journey with due decorum, fanfare and gratitude. Being the longest-serving KS member in the history of the group, his achievements and dedication go without saying, but as we enter his final weeks it’s a time for reflection, thanks and celebration. Between now and 6 August, when a great number of friends and family members will descend on Menton on the French Riviera to help us bid him farewell, our aim is to create an atmosphere that will provide wonderful memories to all who attend our concerts, and not least to the great man himself. Join us if you can…


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