For our third and final solo showcase, we’re delighted to present Michael Craddock who will be singing Isolation Songbook – a project he has jointly brought to fruition with his fiancé Helen Charlston.
Tickets for the concert are available here, and you can buy the CD of Isolation Songbook here.
Michael Craddock started his formal musical education with the choir of Trinity College Cambridge, with whom he sang for four years, whilst studying Mathematics, and now combines his time as a regular member of The Gesualdo Six with a busy schedule of freelance oratorio, operatic and song perfomances in the UK and further afield.
Operatic performances include Walton The Bear (Smirnov) for Opera Anywhere, Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Bottom) in Aldeburgh, sharing the role with Matthew Rose, Donizetti Don Pasquale (Dr. Malatesta) for Opera Minima and Verdi’s La Traviata (Marchese) for Regent’s Opera at the Bermuda Festival. He sang the dual roles of Alfio/Tonio in Hampstead Garden Opera’s performances of Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci and gave the role of Dandini in the Bedford Park Festival production of La Cenerentola. Most recently he performed the part of the Usher in Sullivan’s Trial by Jury, with the OAE and John Wilson.
He has a particular affinity for the music of JS Bach, and has given many performances with the group Amici Voices, who specialise in one-voice-per-part performances of Bach’s vocal works. In their performance of the St Matthew Passion ‘Michael Craddock … deserve(d) special mention’ (Early Music Review). He was singled out by Opera News magazine for ‘beautifully shaped’ solo singing, with ‘comforting tone’ in Amici Voices CD release of BWV 106 and 182 (Hyperion). Oratorio solos include bass arias in the St Matthew Passion with the Auckland Philharmonia, Pilate/Arias in the St John Passion with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and Messiah with Hereford Choral Society.
Other freelance consort work includes engagements with The Tallis Scholars, The Marian Consort, Vox Luminis, The Gabrieli Consort, Polyphony, Contrapunctus, Le Concert D’astree, The Cardinall’s Musick, and the Choir of the Enlightenment.
It’s on Saturday 4th September at 2.30pm, and it will be the first time that Isolation Songbook has been performed to an in-person audience.
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Acclaimed for her musical interpretation and “warmly distinctive tone” (The Telegraph), Helen Charlston won first prize in the 2018 London Handel Singing Competition and was a finalist in the 2019 Grange Festival International Singing Competition. She was a founder participant of the Rising Star of the Enlightenment programme, working alongside the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment; and is a member of Les Arts Florissants Young Artist Programme (Jardin des Voix) for 2021/22. Helen is a 2018 City Music Foundation Artist and a BBC New Generation Artist.
Recent concert highlights include Handel Messiah: Reimagined (London Handel Orchestra/Laurence Cummings); Bach Matthew Passion (Gabrieli Consort and Players/Paul McCreesh); Dussek Mass in C (Academy of Ancient Music/Richard Egarr); Bach B Minor Mass (Slovenia Philharmonic Orchestra/Stephen Layton). Solo recital performances have taken Helen to Wigmore Hall, Barbican Sound Unbound Festival, Oxford Lieder Festival, York Early Music Festival, Händel-festspiele Halle, Korčula Baroque Festival, and Leicester International Music Festival.
The hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic saw Helen’s music making return closer to home. Her Isolation Songbook, a collection of songs by 15 different composers, was commissioned during the first UK lockdown. Recorded by Delphian Records, the set was released on CD in early 2021.
Helen began singing as chorister and head chorister of the St Albans Abbey Girls Choir. She then studied music at Trinity College, Cambridge where she held a choral scholarship for four years and was a scholar on the Pembroke College Lieder Scheme, led by pianist Joseph Middleton.
In the first of our Artist Spotlight posts, we feature pianist Alexander Soares!
Pianist Alexander Soares will perform on Saturday 4th September at 2.30pm in Isolation Songbook. We can’t wait to welcome him to accompany Helen Charlston and Michael Craddock in the hugely successful lockdown-inspired programme.
A BBC Music Magazine Rising Star in 2021, pianist Alexander Soares has garnered a reputation as an authoritative soloist, sensitive collaborator, and dynamic recording artist. Praised for his performances of “huge intensity” (The Telegraph) and “diamond clarity and authority” (BBC Radio 3), he launched his career after winning the Gold Medal in the prestigious Royal Overseas League Competition. He was subsequently selected as a solo artist by City Music Foundation – he has performed in major venues and festivals, with regular broadcasts on BBC Radio 3, FranceMusique, WDR, SWR2 and RTP. In 2019 he signed with Rubicon Classics to release his debut solo album Notations & Sketches. Praised for its captivating programme — the piano solo works of Boulez, Dutilleux and Messiaen — the disc was selected as ‘Editor’s Choice’ by Gramophone Magazine (May 2019) and received widespread critical acclaim as “a stunning album” (FranceMusique) with playing of “style and sophistication” (BBC Music Magazine). His second CD – Threnodies – features piano works by Bridge, Britten, Berg and Ravel and was released in June 2021. Alexander has also recorded for KAIROS and Delphian Records. He combines a busy and varied performing schedule with doctoral supervision at Guildhall School of Music & Drama, and research of musical memorisation. www.alexander-soares.com
We’re delighted that Christopher Robinson, one of the foremost choir trainers in the UK, is visiting the Boxgrove Choral Festival as our special guest conductor!
It’s a particular joy to welcome Christopher to Boxgrove thanks to some lovely links back to different stages of his illustrious career in church music.
Festival Director Joseph Wicks first met Christopher whilst at St John’s College, Cambridge. A Fellow and former Director of Music at St John’s, Christopher’s legacy in Cambridge is still deeply felt to this day, and he regularly comes to college to hear his old choir singing in chapel services.
Before coming to St John’s, Christopher was Organist & Choirmaster at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle where he ran a very fine choir indeed, week in week out, and also on some televised services attended by Her Majesty The Queen. It was here that Vicar of Boxgrove Priory, Ian Forrester, encountered Christopher for the first time, working with him in his role as Succentor to draw up music lists and the like.
So, in welcoming him, we are not only ending our Festival with a thrilling honour, but also enabling a lovely reunion or two!
Christopher will conduct the joint forces of The Beaufort Singers & Boxgrove Priory Choir at Mass on Sunday 5th September in the final Te Deum by Vaughan Williams.
The service will be live-streamed, starting at 11am, with the setting of the Mass in G minor by Vaughan Williams also being performed by The Beaufort Singers. We hope you can join us either online or in person for what promises to be a special moment to end the 2021 Festival!
It really has been far too long. The Boxgrove Choral Festival is returning this year!
The dates for your diary are 2-5 September, and we couldn’t be more excited to be planning concerts, services and recitals once again. Ticket details will appear on this website in the not too distant future, so watch out for the links coming soon!
Now would be a good time to join our mailing list so we can keep you informed as things go live. We can’t wait to share more!
We were so looking forward to meeting in August 2020 at Boxgrove once again. Sadly, it wasn’t to be, due to the uncertainties at the time with the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic. We send our best wishes to our wonderful audience in Sussex.
In place of the cancelled festival, we put together a virtual performance of ‘Keep me as the apple of an eye’ by Neil Cox. A real festival favourite, we thought this to be the obvious choice as we marked the moment we were to have met.
Please do get in contact if you’d like to support us as we work towards an exciting future.
“I am delighted to be giving this lunchtime recital at Boxgrove with Piers; as a performing pair, we have given a variety of recitals with an emphasis on non-canonical music for countertenor. The Dvorak songs are the obvious example of this in our programme alongside the more usual operatic and song repertoire of Britten, Dowland, Handel and Purcell. We finish with songs drawn from Piers’ song cycle ‘Rough Rhymes’, a piece premiered by us in Cambridge three years ago and subsequently performed as part of various World War One centenary events in Cambridge, Northampton and Oxford for the Wilfred Owen Society.”
We are delighted at Hugh’s eclectic programme and can assure you of a wonderful 45 minutes in both his and Piers’ company. Tickets are available priced at £8 and £5 for under 18s, and can be purchased here.
We have recently released two new videos on social media.
The first was a live snippet from the Boxgrove Choral Festival. Bring us, O Lord God by William Harris opened our second ever concert back in 2017, and we sang it in the Festival Concert as well as at the end of our service of Compline, from which this excerpt is taken. You can see in the corner of the shot members of the congregation holding candles – some 50 people came to the service, and we were able to give everyone a candle. The candlelight leant the service a special atmosphere and contributed a particularly long lasting memory of the occasion.
We also released a video which commemorates the hundredth anniversary of the November armistice that ended the First World War. Owain Park’s ‘For the Fallen’ was written for us in November 2016 and was first performed at our inaugural concert.
The text is by Lawrence Binyon, set famously by other composers as well as being adopted by the Royal British Legion as it’s Exhortation for ceremonies of Remembrance to commemorate the fallen of all conflicts.
We are hugely grateful to Owain Park for setting it up for us. It was then over to me to tinker away with the look of the site and its content which has kept me busy over half term, and no doubt it will continue to grow over the next few weeks. Keep looking out for little enhancements here and there!
Work behind the scenes on lots of things go on thanks to my wonderful colleagues Susie and Simon, and I hope very much to be able to share news of our recent work in due course. Exciting times lie ahead!