Friday, May 4, 2012
Seaton Choral Society is delighted to welcome its new musical director, Dr Peter Milmer, who will conduct its forthcoming concert on Saturday, May 19 and who has already proved to be a splendidly inspiring and encouraging force on the rostrum.
Peter is a GP, working in East Devon and West Dorset, and started his musical training as a chorister at Winchester Cathedral under David Hill.
From there he moved to Charterhouse School as a music scholar, before completing his medical training in Cardiff, where he conducted a chamber choir and orchestra.
He has performed, composed and conducted from an early age - his Requiem was recently performed in Exeter Cathedral, to much critical and popular acclaim.
Brahms’s A German Requiem is a confirmed favourite with singers and audiences alike. Written in the mid-1860s, shortly after the death of the composer’s mother, it is full of contrasts, with music which is by turn grief-ridden, dramatic and supremely tender. Although neither an atheist nor an agnostic, Brahms was unconvinced of the reality of the afterlife, but there are hints in the music of an underlying optimism, and the requiem overall seems not so much a mass for the dead as a consolation for the living. The accompaniment will be played in a version for two pianos.
The lovely motet Cantique de Jean Racine won Gabriel Fauré first prize on graduating from music school at the age of 19. This piece, so gently compelling both to sing and to listen to, is in stark contrast to the two-piano version of Saint-Saëns’s Danse Macabre, which draws on a grisly legend of Hallowe’en: Death calls forth skeletons from their graves to dance for him while he plays his fiddle.
The soloists in the Brahms requiem will be two great favourites of the society: the soprano Christine Marsden and the baritone David Fouracre. A positive feature will be the generous participation in the chorus tenor section of Leslie Baker, who for so many years has been a superb musical director, fitting in that arduous role with his busy teaching and performing career.
Sharing the accompanying honours for the evening, (owing to the much lamented absence through illness of Michèle Banting) will be two highly respected free-lance musicians: Alex Davies, who studied at the Trinity College of Music, and Dr Richard Godfrey, a prize winner at the Royal College of Organists.
Ticket/programmes for the concert at Seaton Methodiat Church, at 7.30pm, on Saturday, May 19, cost (£9, under 18s free) from choir members or on the door.