Rattle to conduct at New York church

Rattle to conduct at New York church


norman lebrecht

March 17, 2016

Message from the Rector at St Thomas’s:

st thomas's-5th-avenue



A very special concert

I am excited to announce a special extra concert at Saint Thomas Church. At the time of John Scott’s death I was in touch with a number of his friends and former colleagues. I asked one of them if he would be willing to conduct a concert in John’s memory and I am delighted to tell you that he has agreed. Sir Simon Rattlewill conduct our choir and the Orchestra of St Luke’s in the final memorial concert of the season. The program includes Elgar’s Serenade for Strings and Vaughan William’s exquisite The Lark Ascending. Our new Director of Music, Dan Hyde, will have just arrived and so this will also be his inaugural concert at the Church and he will work with Simon Rattle and play the organ. By happy coincidence, Simon Rattle’s nephew is a chorister at Magdalen College. This special concert will honor the memory of John Scott and begin a new chapter in the life of music here at Saint Thomas Church. All money raised will go towards a scholarship to support a chorister in need.

The evening concert is on Sunday, September 18. It is a wonderful opportunity for us to welcome one of the world’s leading orchestral conductors to our church. When I talked to Sir Simon after the Matthew Passion performances with the Berliner Philharmoniker in New York a year ago, at which our boy choristers sang, he told me that they were the best choristers with whom he had ever worked; praise indeed! Sir Simon has requested that the last piece to be performed in the concert will be the Fauré Requiem.




  • Sue says:

    Yesterday at a music appreciation class I attend, and often run myself, one of our presenters showed DVD highlights of the BPO/Rattle/Peter Sellers production of Bach’s “St. John Passion” with ‘choral-ography’ and dramatization of the parts. At first I was extremely skeptical but after I while I was actually moved to tears. One criticism; I often couldn’t hear the orchestra over the (large) choir.

    What do others think of this particular version of the work?

    • Jaybuyer says:

      Left at half time in London. As with the present controversy about Lucia di Lammermoor at Covent Garden, the impact is in the music, not in people running around pawing each other.
      “Jesus wept!” is not inappropriate, I think.

      • Sue says:

        Thanks for your comments. I watched the interview with Peter Sellers and Simon Rattle yesterday (after the event) and I must say Sellers is a bit unnerving. But I wanted to keep an open mind about the performance and not rush to judgement, though when the presenter yesterday said “choral-ography” I said aloud, “oh no”. I did find it moving, especially the lead arias and the ‘acting’ which accompanied this. It was powerful.

        I prefer period instruments with this and, as I said, I couldn’t hear the orchestra – which I can in my La Petite Band recording of this fabulous work.

        One thing was really good about it yesterday; a woman sitting up the back, whom I haven’t seen before at these events, said “this is the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen in my whole life”. So, one person signed up to JS Bach; that’s got to be a good thing.

  • Jaybuyer says:

    Absolutely! Btw, it was the St Matthew they brought to the Proms, not the St John. Hey, à chacun son goût. It just ain’t for me.