Music and Memory

LCS singers fortunate enough to be part of the choir’s Royal Festival Hall performance of Bach’s B minor Mass, will recall that for the first few bars we put aside our scores and sang from memory.

An exhilarating experience for many – which LCS soprano Annie Rimmer suggests we might want to repeat and even expand on:

“One of my recent musical highlights has been attending several memorised performances of classical symphonies by the young and vibrant London-based Aurora Orchestra as they develop their interest in, and repertoire of, playing without music.

Aurora launched its ‘By Heart’ strand in 2014 with a memorised performance of Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 for the BBC Proms – thought to be the first performance of an orchestral symphony without sheet music in the modern era.

They have since performed three more classical symphonies from memory and have thereby garnered critical plaudits for outstanding musical quality and a heightened sense of communication, both between players and with their audience.

The orchestra’s Chief Executive has said: “For our musicians, this has meant nothing less than the discovery of a new kind of shared performance practice, and players consistently cite these projects as being amongst their most intensely rewarding professional experiences.”

Principal Conductor Nicholas Collon added that: “Whilst it feels naked at first on stage without a stand and music to hide behind, it intensifies the levels of trust between players. My hope and belief is that it also communicates in a new way with the audience: not so much that it should feel surprising or dangerous to watch but more that we are all – players and audience alike – unshackled from the physical and metaphorical confines of the printed notes.”

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So Annie issues her fellow LCS singers a challenge: “Why not give it a go yourself in a small way. You might surprise yourself and open up a whole new, richer experience”.

Watch the video below for how a flash mob in Budapest sang from memory with Kodály’s Evening Song – one of the pieces being performed at our summer concert on Saturday the 8th of July.

Tickets are available in advance and full details can be found on our event page.


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