CHILTERN CHAMBER CHOIR
Named for the Chiltern Hills among which we live, Chiltern Chamber Choir was founded by its director Adrian Davis in 1976, and draws its singers from Berkhamsted and the surrounding towns and villages. We share a passion for singing and perform at least three main concerts each year, mostly with orchestra or organ accompaniment. Though we have outgrown the original chamber choir size, the standard of singing continues to be enviably high. The Choir’s impressive repertoire ranges from music of the 12th century to contemporary works.
Since 1996, the Choir has undertaken many concert tours abroad, some of them summer visits to various European countries (France on numerous occasions, and trips to Italy in 2010 and 2012, both of which included singing Mass in the Upper Basilica of St Francis in Assisi.) Some of these trips are undertaken in collaboration with other choirs, often on an exchange basis. The Madrid Bach Society Choir has been a frequent associate, and together these two choirs have performed for Radio Televisión Española – Bach’s Mass in B minor and, more recently, Handel’s Messiah, both directed by Adrian Davis. They also gave a notable performance in 2010 of Bach’s St Matthew Passion in the beautiful new auditorium in Zaragoza.
In December 2001, Chiltern Chamber Choir alone performed Handel’s Messiah in the Auditorio Nacional in Madrid, to great acclaim. A collaboration with the world famous Leipzig GewandhausChor took place in October 2004, with performances in Berkhamsted, Berlin and Leipzig; and a new relationship was started in 2010, when the Choir of Las Rozas, Madrid, joined Chiltern Chamber Choir in a performance of works by Mozart, including the Mass in C Minor, accompanied in Berkhamsted by Bridgewater Sinfonia, and in Spain by an orchestra of Spanish ‘profesores’.
The choir enjoys a fine reputation amongst its loyal and numerous supporters, who recognize the very high standard of its performances. A performance of Handel’s Messiah on 23 December 2012 has elicited great praise from an audience of record size who braved the cold and the church pews to sit spellbound for over two hours; they were enthusiastic about tone, liveliness, accuracy and sheer musicality – as Adrian Davis says, “Never think you know Messiah, there is always something new to find.”
The choir’s three annual concerts are on December 23, Palm Sunday and in June together with Bridgewater Sinfonia, with whom it has a close association. The performance in June 2012 of Brahms’ German Requiem was extremely moving, and perhaps more to the choir’s taste than Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony which was nevertheless a successful contribution to the orchestral concert the previous year. Projects for the coming season include a Palm Sunday concert of Poulenc’s Stabat Mater and Bach’s Christ lag in Todes Banden; Bruckner’s Te Deum with Bridgewater Sinfonia in June; and a tour to Austria in August.