2018 - Britten: War Requiem

Welcome to all the choirs rehearsing this piece, including:

Cleveland Philharmonic Choir
Newcastle Choral Society
Northern Spirit
Egglescliffe School Senior Choir

Please make full use of these rehearsal aids, and if you have any other suggestions please let me know - webmaster@clevelandphilharmonicchoir.com
You might want to listen to this - it is a fascinating BBC radio programme which includes the reminiscences of people involved in the first performance of the War Requiem in Coventry in 1962.  Thanks to Alan Palmer for providing the recording (NOTE: You will need to ensure Flash is enabled for your browser for this to work):
Britten War Requiem Remembered
-27:45
Rehearsal files
You can use one of the following:

  • Cyberbass  - This is a well established free website, covering many of the major choral works, including the War Requiem [UPDATE: Some people have reported problems in last couple of weeks with Cyberbass. It seems to be fixed now. If having problems, please refresh the page to clear the cache]
  • John Fletcher website - This is a subscription site which includes the War Requiem

Benjamin Britten leading a rehearsal:
This is a fascinating "fly on the wall" recording of Britten leading the rehearsal before the first recording of the War Requiem. Your opportunity to compare JF's technique with Britten's......Click here

Full Performances
And when you want to listen to, and sing along with, full performances of the work, you can try these which are on YouTube. Of course, you might have to wait for a few seconds for an advert before the music starts.......

  • Firstly, there is the full performance (audio only) in Coventry Cathedral conducted by Britten himself.  Click here.
  • Secondly, here is delightful HD Video/Audio recording of a complete recording conducted by Marin Alsop.  To help you make use of this recording, I have given the timings, below, for the various choral entries. I suggest that you mark up your score with timings. Please bear in mind that the dynamics that Marin uses will inevitably be different from those of John Forsyth:
Timing
 Mark
    Section
00:45
0
 Requiem
09:15
 16
 Kyrie
 10:50
 17
 Dies Irae
 12:30
 21
 Tuba Mirum
 13:20
 23
 Mors Stupebit
 21:50
 40
 Recordare
 24:50
 45
 Confutatis
 27:40
 52
 Dies Irae
 28:50
 54
 Lacrimosa
 34:55
 60
 Pie Jesu
 37:45
 63
 Sed signifer
 44:25
 79
 Quam Olim
 46.50
 85
 Pleni > Hosanna
56:00
 97
 Agnus Dei
 58:40
 116
 Libera me
 1:16:20
 131
 In Paradisum


Rehearsal Aids - John Fletcher, Cyberbass & Choralia - Please Read

John Fletcher Website - UPDATE 11/2/18

As from 11/2/18, the group membership that we used to have has expired. You will now need to register individually to get access. Free membership is available to anyone and gives access to all of the out of copyright files on JF, including the Bach B Minor Mass.

Go here to register if you have not already done so.

For the choir we have set up a group membership which allows access to all of the files, including Britten War Requiem. This costs between £2-3/year. If you wish to join that group please contact me by email.

Steve Weighell
webmaster@clevelandphilharmonicchoir.com

Cyberbass

Cyberbass can be accessed freely by anyone without any registration process. It should prove very useful over the next year or so since it has most of the music we will be doing, specifically including:
 - Britten - War Requiem

I have recently looked again at Cyberbass, and I think its usability has improved dramatically in the last year or so since I last tried to use it.  In particular it allows different speeds of playback, and also allows you to jump back or forwards by 3 or 10 seconds, and to set up repeating loops. You may need to scroll down the page slightly to find the control panel for all the playback features.

I have successfully tried Cyberbass with several different browsers, and also on my iPhone. Please let me know if you have problems using it.

Choralia

Thanks to Janet Hall for alerting me to this resource. It includes the Bach, but not the Britten, that we will be doing this year.  It includes a synthesized words as well as the notes - please try it!

 - Bach - B Minor Mass

Steve Weighell

Advice on playing Midi files

How to play Midi files:

On most PC set ups, you simply need to double click on the Midi file for it to start playing, using whichever is your PC's default programme (eg Media Player or Quicktime).  However, if you want to see the score and manipulate it by emphasising one part then you will need to use a different type of programme.  My current favourite freeware Windows programme is VanBasco's Karaoke Player which can be downloaded from this site.  It is elderly and probably unsupported, but runs perfectly well under Windows 7, 8 and 10.

Another is MidiPlay, which is also freeware and can be downloaded and run from this site. Since it involves downloading and running an executable file, you might want to be cautious about using it - but it seems innocent enough to me and hasn't caused any problems with my PC. I would really appreciate feedback and advice from anyone with experience in this area - please get back to me.  Thanks.

 

Playing Midi Files on a Mac computer:

Oddly enough, playing Midi files on a Mac is not as straightforward as you might expect. The latest versions of Apple's QuickTime do not play Midi files, for some reason best known to Apple. However, an earlier version (QuickTime Player 7) works fine, and is still supported by Apple.  In addition, the standard Safari browser does not open files, so you will need to use an alternative browser - Mozilla Firefox.

So try the following approach in order to be able to play midi files:

  1. Go to the Mozilla website here and download and install Firefox. You can choose to make Firefox your default browser if you wish, or keep your existing browser as the default.
  2. You will then need to install Apple's QuickTime Player 7, even though you may already have a later version of QuickTime.  Go to this website to download and install the programme.

Now you should use Firefox to navigate to the LearnChoralMusic page from the links given on this page.  When you click on the appropriate Midi file, it should open and play.

Please try this and let me know how you get on. Thanks. 

Steve Weighell - webmaster@clevelandphilharmonicchoir.com

 

Interesting iPhone / iPad App for Singing Practice...

I have been experimenting with an App for iPhone / iPad (not yet available on Android) called "Learn My Part".  This allows you to import a midi file, and then play it back.  It allows you to change the emphasis on different parts, and also to change the speeds.  I believe the App costs around £3, and it seems to work very well.  Take a look at this video on YouTube which demonstrates the App pretty well.

Recorded Music from the BBC

We sometimes are able to provide music recorded from broadcasts by BBC Radio 3.  We have received BBC's permisssion to use these recordings to assist in the choir's preparation for the concert, provided that we do not make them available to the wider public.
The music can be played by using the player controls.  Alternatively, this music can be downloaded to your PC as zip files. Click on the links and save the files to a location on your PC, then use a suitable programme to unzip the music.

For information, here is the question that was asked of the BBC, and the subsequent email from David Stuart of the BBC on 1st December 2009:

Question from Steve Weighell of CPC to BBC:
"Can I record a radio programme extract and pass it onto friends in my amateur choir to help in practicing a piece of music? Does it make any difference if the recording has been taken directly off-air, or from a podcast, or recording of a streamed iPlayer programme? It would be copied onto a CD or as mp3 file onto a memory stick for private use."

Email from BBC, dated 1st December 2009:
Dear Mr Weighell
Thank you for your email to BBC Information regarding the use of recordings
of BBC programmes in your choir.
The BBC would have no objection to this personal use providing the
recordings are not posted on the internet or broadcast in the public domain
in any way. 
Thank you again for taking the time to contact us with your request.

Yours Sincerely
David Stuart
BBC Information