Future Concerts

Our Next Concert

The Blake Project

Settings of William Blake’s poems by Berkahn & Vaughan Williams;
and other music of his time.

Directed by Jonathan Berkahn

7-30pm Saturday 16 September 2017
Wesley Methodist Church
75 Taranaki Street, Wellington

Barbara Paterson ~ soprano
Thomas Nikora ~ accompanist

Tickets from Choir members
Door sales available
Email: books@pgpl.co.nz to pay online

$20, $15
(Children 12 and under free)

Click to Download Programme Booklet PDF

About this concert

This is the first time Jonathan Berkahn’s suite of eight settings of poems by William Blake have been performed together.

The issues of inequality, poverty and child deprivation that Blake wrote about in London 200 years ago are still relevant today in New Zealand, as we approach our next general election.

“I have for many years been fascinated by William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, by their memorable images, and the lucid and uncompromising language of the poems. The two books are, in a sense, parodies of each other: a reminder that there is always more than one way of looking at a thing,” says composer Jonathan Berkahn

“Two years ago the Festival Singers performed a concert celebrating the animal world: The Peaceable Kingdom, and I took the opportunity to set three of the best-known poems: The Lamb, The Tyger, and Night. Now we have a collection of eight ready to sing for you. The texts and music vary greatly in mood, from the coarse fun of The Little Vagabond to the tenderness of On Another’s Sorrow, to the heartbreaking bitterness of London, and the still-topical cry of Holy Thursday:
‘Is this a holy thing to see / In a rich and fruitful land,— / Babes reduced to misery, / Fed with cold and usurous hand?’

“To journey through Blake’s poems is to journey through Blake’s London, a city of wealth and poverty, green fields and cold stone churches.”

“For this reason, in the concert – which we have called The Blake Project – you will also hear music of Blake’s time: respectable church music from the cathedrals, secular part-songs from the glee-clubs, instrumental music from the concert hall, and possibly a Methodist hymn or two. We will, of course, also sing the best-known Blake setting of all, Parry’s Jerusalem. And then, after an hour or two spent in William Blake’s London, you will be able to return safely to Wellington, 2017.”

2017 Programme

Festival Singers has an exciting 2017 planned.  Here is a quick summary:

  • First rehearsal:  7-9 p.m. on Monday, 13 February 2017, at Newlands Christian Assembly, 126 Newlands Road, Newlands. All welcome.
  • 5–6 May 2017. We take part in the NZ Choral Federation’s weekend workshop performing Donizetti’s Mass in G Minor
  • 18 June 2017. Our concert “Sunday at the Opera.”
  • 16 September 2017. Our concert of poems by William Blake set to music by our musical director Jonathan Berkahn.
  • 10 December 2017. An evening Lessons and Carols service.

We will add more details as they are finalised.

For more information, please contact:

See you soon at a rehearsal or concert!

Philip Garside (Publicity)





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