"Now Andrew Griffiths, the choral conductor, has had the bright idea of bringing together some of the little-known choral works of these "Gluepot" composers. And what an interesting and varied bunch they are... It's a brave undertaking for Griffiths and his Londinium chamber choir. They relish the dreamy harmonies of Lutyens's 'Verses of Love'; they produce a thrillingly intense tone on Alan Rawsthorne's 'Four Seasonal Songs'; and they're not intimidated by the cruelly high notes in Bax's 'Mater ora filium'... It's a dream of Old England, which in the best of the pieces, such as Warlock's 'The Full Heart' attains a beauty and intensity that goes far beyond nostalgia." (Ivan Hewett, The Daily Telegraph)
Our debut album, The Gluepot Connection, was released on 2nd March with a launch concert at St Sepulchre's on Saturday 10th - and we've had an excellent first review! “Beautifully balanced singing from Londinium keeps texture clear and clean. Warlock's 'The Full Heart' is a stand out, on its own worth the price of the CD... In Lutyens' 'Verses of Love' (1970) to a text by Ben Jonson, long lines elide, sounds shimmering... Another Gluepot regular was Arnold Bax. His 'I sing of a maiden' (1923) has charm, but is eclipsed by his 'Mater ora filium' (1921) a substantial (11 minute) masterpiece based on William Byrd's five-part Mass, beefed up for as many as 16 parts, embellished by what Griffiths calls "prodigious extremes of range" (cloaked in) "luscious, late Romantic harmony in myriad different textures". The voices of Londinium rise to the task, their voices glowing "Amen, Amen". It's as if a stained glass window were bursting into song!' (Anne Ozorio, Classical Iconoclast)
In the first half of the twentieth century an eclectic and fascinating group of composers gathered at the George pub in Great Portland Street, nick-named ‘the Gluepot’ by Sir Henry Wood because his orchestral players tended to become stuck there! Our first recording, to be issued on the SOMM label, will feature a selection of their choral music, including well-known works by William Walton, Arnold Bax, Frederick Delius, John Ireland, Peter Warlock and EJ Moeran, as well as lesser-known gems by Alan Rawsthorne, Elisabeth Lutyens and Alan Bush, some of which have never before been recorded.
We launched our crowdfunding campaign on 10th February at our ‘Kensington to Bloomsbury’ concert, where the audience heard some of the music which will appear on the disc. Find out more about The Gluepot Connection!
Postscript: we are delighted that we exceeded our crowdfunding target, and the recording took place in July 2017 at All Hallows, Gospel Oak, produced by Adrian Peacock with David Hinitt as the recording engineer. The CD will be issued in March 2018.
in August 2016 Londinium embarked on its first-ever overseas tour, to the beautiful town of Colmar, in Alsace. Despite arriving in a heatwave we had a wonderful time exploring and sampling the local vintages, as well as giving two concerts, at S Matthieu, Colmar and the Abbaye de Marbach with its spectacular views over to the Black Forest. It was a delight to sing our programme of British a cappella music, 'Perspectives Anglaises', to such appreciative and capacity audiences; our concert at the Abbaye was reviewed on DNA France, where it was described as: 'La fraîcheur d’une performance vocale spectaculaire libérant des tessitures semblant sans limites. (The freshness of a spectacular vocal performance with seemingly limitless vocal textures.)'
Photographs from the tour are in our Facebook album.
Londinium was delighted to be invited by St Paul's Beckenham to give a charity fund-raising concert on Saturday, 9th July. Our 'Sunshine after Rain' programme raised over £1,000 for Central London Samaritans, a charity with which Londinium has a strong connection.
Founded in 1953 by Reverend Chad Varah, today Central London Samaritans is the only support service in London open round the clock, every day of the year. Every year they receive over 100,000 calls for help. People call them to be heard, to work through their problems and find positive outcomes that work for them. Volunteers also reach out and work with schools, colleges and universities, workplaces, health and welfare services, homeless people, prisons and other charities.
'Nielsen’s 'Tre Motetter'... made a much better impression at this concert than they did at the recent Prom where the polyphonic harmonies were largely lost in the Albert Hall acoustic... Londinium, conducted with great style by Andrew Griffiths, has the twin merits of balance and clarity in its projection of each work... very much at home with the texts. 'Rakastava' was beautifully projected for instance. The overall sound, affected to a degree by the reverberant church acoustic until the ear adjusted was, nevertheless, clear and confident. As claimed it is indeed a versatile chamber choir.' Edward Clark, President of the UK Sibelius Society, reviewed our 23rd October concert, 'Voices of the North: Sibelius, Nielsen and their contemporaries' for 'Musical Opinion' magazine and the Society's newsletter. Read full review.
‘They performed the Vaughan Williams as though it had been written for them.’ Our May concert, ‘Once Upon a Time’, was praised in a review which noted the choir’s ‘blend and flexibility‘ and 'beautiful bass sound’. ‘From mythical beasts to Alice in Wonderland, a feast of storytelling in music…’ (Hilary Glover, planethugill.com) Read full review
We were delighted to be engaged by the London Events Committee of the Art Fund, the national fundraising charity for art, to perform 'Scenes from Nature' in July, for which we sang an especially devised programme, with images of Art Funded paintings accompanying each piece. In October we performed Ariel Ramirez's Misa Criolla, with the tenor Christopher Diffey as soloist, in a programme also including Tippet's Five Spirituals and music by Jamaican composers, for the Friends of the Georgian Society of Jamaica's 20th anniversary concert.
The programme for our 16th April concert, 'Ruins and Reflections', was inspired by the service of Tenbrae. We were delighted that the composer Cecila McDowall was able to attend and hear her work The Lord is Good, of which she said 'The two soloists brought an ethereal quality to a powerful, yet most poignant performance'. Hilary Glover (planethugill.com) commented that 'Londinium found poignancy and beauty in the atmospheric setting of St Sepulchre-without-Newgate' with a programme which also included the UK premiere of Nico Muhly's Recordare, Domine and Gabriel Jackson's Lamentations of Jeremiah. Read full review
We received a 4 star review from Hilary Glover on planethugill.com for 'Chansonnerie', our 7th February concert. 'Londinium with conductor Andrew Griffiths are known for their quality performances, and this foray into French music at St Sepulchre-without-Newgate did not disappoint. Or rather I should say music in French, as it included music by German and American composers as well as French. They also know how to put on a show and get the best from their singers... [the] choir is definitely one to watch.' Read full review