Saturday 25th May 2024
St Andrew's Church
Cheadle Hulme
Conductor Alex Robinson
Piano Julian Davis
Tenor Samuel Horton


Florence Price (1887-1953)
Andante Moderato from String Quartet No. 1 in G major

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Piano Concerto No. 21 'Elvira Madigan' 


Gerald Finzi (1901-1956)
Dies Natalis

Gerald Finzi
Dies Natalis - Text
Will you see the infancy of this sublime and celestial greatness? I was a stranger, which at my entrance into the world was saluted and surrounded with innumerable joys: my knowledge was divine. I was entertained like an angel with the works of God in their splendour and glory. Heaven and Earth did sing my Creator's praises, and could not make more melody to Adam than to me. Certainly Adam in Paradise had not more sweet and curious apprehensions of the world than I. All appeared new, and strange at first, inexpressibly rare and delightful and beautiful. All things were spotless and pure and glorious.
The corn was orient and immortal wheat, which never should be reaped nor was ever sown. I thought it had stood from everlasting to everlasting. The green trees, when I saw them first, transported and ravished me, their sweetness and unusual beauty made my heart to leap, and almost mad with ecstasy, they were such strange and wonderful things.
O what venerable creatures did the aged seem! Immortal cherubims! and the young men glittering and sparkling angels, and maids strange seraphic pieces of life and beauty! I knew not that they were born or should die; but all things abided eternally. I knew not that there were sins or complaints or laws. I dreamed not of poverties, contentions or vices. All tears and quarrels were hidden from mine eyes. I saw all in the peace of Eden. Everything was at rest, free and immortal.

The Rapture
Sweet Infancy!
O heavenly fire! O sacred Light!
How fair and bright!
How great am I
Whom the whole world doth magnify!
O heavenly Joy!
O great and sacred blessedness
Which I possess!
So great a joy
Who did into my arms convey?
From God above
Being sent, the gift doth me enflame,
To praise His Name.
The stars do move,
The sun doth shine, to show His Love.
O how divine
Am I! To all this sacred wealth
This life and health,
Who rais'd? Who mine
Did make the same! What hand divine!

How like an angel came I down!
How bright are all things here!
When first among His works I did appear
O how their glory did me crown!
The world resembled His Eternity
In which my soul did walk;
And every thing that I did see
Did with me talk.
The skies in their magnificence
The lovely, lively air,
O how divine, how soft, how sweet, how fair!
The stars did entertain my sense;
And all the works of God, so bright and pure,
So rich and great, did seem,
As if they ever must endure
In my esteem.
A native health and innocence
Within my bones did grow,
And while my God did all His Glories show,
I felt a vigour in my sense
That was all Spirit. I within did flow
With seas of life, like wine;
I nothing in the world did know
But 'twas Divine.

The Salutation
These little limbs, these eyes and hands which here I find,
This panting heart wherewith my life begins;
Where have ye been? Behind what curtain were ye from me hid so long?
Where was, in what abyss, my new-made tongue?
When silent I, so many thousand, thousand years
Beneath the dust did in a chaos lie, how could I smiles, or tears,
Or lips, or hands, or eyes, or ears perceive?
Welcome, ye treasures which I now receive.
From dust I rise and out of nothing now awake,
These brighter regions which salute my eyes,
A gift from God I take, the earth, the seas, the light, the lofty skies,
The sun and stars are mine: if these I prize.
A stranger here, strange things doth meet, strange glory see,
Strange treasures lodged in this fair world appear,
Strange, all, and new to me: But that they mine should be who nothing was,
That strangest is of all; yet brought to pass.
Julian Davis
Julian has played piano since childhood and worked until recently as Professor of Medicine at Manchester University and Manchester Royal Infirmary, while remaining active as an amateur musician. He has regularly given recitals as a soloist, in piano duos and in various chamber music ensembles. He has taken part in masterclasses and workshops at Dartington Summer School and Lot Music (France) in recent years with Christian Blackshaw, Steven Osborne, Leon McCawley, Florian Mitrea and Martin Roscoe. He performed Mozart’s C minor piano concerto (K491) with Manchester Philharmonic Orchestra in 2023, and will be playing Mozart’s A major concerto (K488) with them on 6th October in Christ Church, West Didsbury. In the coming few weeks he will be playing the Piano Quintet by Jonathan Dove (2009) with the Cheshire Chamber Collective in Rainow (30th June, 2pm, Holy Trinity Church), and in the Buxton Festival Fringe (16th July, 8pm, United Reform Church, Buxton).
Samuel Horton
From Stoke-on-Trent, Samuel is a 20 year old tenor studying at the Royal Northern College of Music under the tutelage of Linda Richardson. Recently, Samuel performed the role of Mr. Rushworth for the RNCM’s spring 2023 production of Jonathan Dove’s Mansfield Park, as well as the role of Dr Blind in the RNCM’s 50th anniversary production of Die Fledermaus. In November 2022, Samuel was awarded the Collingwood prize in the Junior Kathleen Ferrier Bursary Competition as a finalist. Samuel is pleased to announce that he will be playing the role of Male Chorus in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia for British Youth Opera in summer 2024.
Alex Robinson
Alex Robinson is an experienced conductor and harpsichordist. He graduated from the University of Manchester with a first class degree in Music (MusB) and the Royal Northern College of Music with an MMus in Performance at Distinction level (Conducting). He studied under the student conductor programme at Manchester University with Mark Heron & Justin Doyle (RIAS Kammerchor) and later with Clark Rundell at the RNCM. During his studies he was Musical Director for the University Music Society’s performances of Rameau’s ‘Castor & Pollux’ (2016), conducted Harrison Birtwistle’s ‘Silbury Air’ with the composer in attendance for the NewMusicNorthWest Festival in 2016 and worked with postgraduate composers in various new music projects at the RNCM and with ‘Psappha’. He is the Music Director of the Furness Bach Choir and the Music Director of Haffner Orchestra in Lancaster, the Amaretti Chamber Orchestra in Stockport, and Nottingham Youth Orchestra. He is also the Artistic Director of Nottingham’s ‘Music for Everyone’. In 2022 he was the first Music Director Fellow with Spokane Symphony Orchestra in Washington, USA and Assistant Conductor for English Touring Opera’s HANDELFEST productions and recitals. He was Professor of Conducting at the University of Salford in 2022-2023. He has worked with a number of British orchestras as conductor and assistant conductor, including the BBC Philharmonic, the Hallé, Liverpool Philharmonic, Northern Chamber Orchestra, The Old Street Band, Manchester Camerata, Psappha, Eboracum Baroque, the Mayson Orchestra as well as a number of opera companies as conductor and as a harpsichordist/repetiteur including Radius Opera, English Touring Opera, Heritage Opera and Northern Opera Group. On the international stage, Alex has worked with the Allegra Festival Orchestra in Bulgaria, the Prague Philharmonia and Hradec Kravlove Philharmonic, CR, Athens Philharmonia in Greece and Spokane Symphony in Washington, USA. He has worked as assistant conductor for a number of internationally renowned conductors including Sir Mark Elder, Sir Andrew Davies, Vassily Petrenko, James Lowe, Nicolas Collon, Juanjo Mena and Gerry Cornelius. He is currently working as assistant conductor for English Touring Opera’s production of Judith Weir’s ‘Blond Eckbert’ to open the Aldeburgh Festival in June 2024.
Brigid Hemingway
Brigid Hemingway (Leader) started playing the violin aged 14. She is also Founder and Leader of The Athenean Ensemble and former Leader of The Gorton Philharmonic Orchestra. She enjoys playing string quartets with her Athenean String Quartet with fellow Amaretti players. She taught mathematics at Cheadle Hulme School for many years and is now a private maths tutor. She is married with two grown up children and two labradors Billy and Oscar. She is passionate about acting and has performed at many of the local theatres. She is looking forward to playing the unsupportive, manipulative mother of the famous Manchester artist LS Lowry in Hyde Little Theatre’s production of Mrs Lowry & Son later this month Sept 20th-23rd (including a Saturday matinee)
John Phillips
John Phillips began studying the violin at the age of 10 and later became a member of the National Youth Orchestra. He read Classics at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, where he was a founder member of the Fitzwilliam String Quartet. The quartet subsequently became String Quartet in Residence at the University of York and, whilst there, gave the UK premiere of the Thirteenth Quartet of Shostakovich in the presence of the composer. He has had a special interest in his music ever since.
He later left the quartet to pursue a career in law, supporting his legal studies by freelance playing with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra and the London Mozart Players. He left the law in 2016 to return to music and in 2020, completed the degree of Master of Music in (Violin) Performance at the Royal Northern College of Music.
Concert sponsored by Dr. Downing Music

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