In The Loves of the Poets, The Handful explores the theme of love through poetry and history, from Shakespeare to Verlaine, from folk songs to opera and beyond. In celebration of the 150th birthday of Ralph Vaughan Williams, at the heart of the programme is his Serenade to Music, which he wrote for the 50th anniversary of conductor Sir Henry Wood’s first concert. This beautiful choral meditation is a setting of text from Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, and was originally written for sixteen voices chosen by
It has been a long-held passion and aim of The Handful to commission and sing new pieces of music written specifically for our voices. The process not only supports emerging composers, but also stretches the choir musically and, together with our audience, allows us to discover new musical styles. As part of our 2023/24 season, we hope to commission and perform another new piece and we need your support to make our next world premiere happen!
" I found myself transfixed by the sheer beauty of their singing and the depth of their understanding"
One of Bath’s most respected chamber choirs, The Handful has been performing in and around Bath since its inception in 2002. The Handful embraces a wide repertoire of music, classical and contemporary, and enjoys an enviable reputation for high quality, vibrant performances.
The Handful - An Evening of Festive Music
In all its grandeur, St. Mary the Virgin Bathwick resonated the warm and balanced voices of The Handful chamber choir as they presented an exceptional and articulate programme of music.
Tomos Watkins demonstrated the choir’s ability to sing a challenging and diverse repertoire of music from a wide range of styles and languages, enabling the audience to reflect upon how music portrays text. This was conveyed with a retrospective performance of the Magnificat, Exultate Deo and Cantate Domino as we heard settings by Swayne, Cui, Palestrina, Poulenc, Monteverdi and Rutter.
The Handful embraced the selection of music, performing with proportioned dynamic contrast, clear diction and eloquent phrasing. This concert provided not only an opportunity to hear the ability of an established chamber choir but to hear intricate solo performances from members of the choir. Highlighting what was a wonderfully festive evening of music was the unified and wholesome tone of Bach’s Der Geist hilft and a delicate and ethereal solo performance of Cesar Cui’s Magnificat, by Philippa Parfrey.
A delightful evening of music led by the brilliantly expressive and creative mind of Tomos Watkins.