Ever since its first concert in 1947, the London Philharmonic Choir has retained its position at the forefront of the British choral tradition. ‘Amateur’ in the best sense of the word (its members love singing but don’t get paid for the privilege!), the LPC has given magisterial performances, many of them broadcast or recorded, of all the great choral classics. If over the years you have caught outstanding renditions of the Beethoven ‘Choral’ Symphony or Missa Solemnis, Mahler’s ‘Resurrection’ Symphony or his ‘Symphony of a Thousand’, the great Elgar oratorios or the settings of the Requiem by Mozart, Verdi, Brahms or Britten - chances are you were listening to the London Philharmonic Choir. Especially if the performance was conducted by one of its regular conductors, among them Sir Adrian Boult, Bernard Haitink, Sir Georg Solti, Klaus Tennstedt, Kurt Masur or (nowadays) Vladimir Jurowski.
Why do people choose to join a choir like the LPC, how do you get in - and what’s it like once you are a member? What are some of the highlights - and lowlights - in the Choir’s history? How does the relationship work between the Choir and its ‘mother’ orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra? What’s it like rehearsing and performing under the world’s top conductors? And what really goes on during those foreign tours, of which the LPC has had so many in recent years?
Daniel Snowman joined the London Philharmonic Choir in spring 1967. Well-known as a writer and broadcaster on matters musical, Snowman interweaves his own vivid recollections of life in the LPC with those of fellow members and others associated with the Choir and its history. The result is a richly evocative portrait of a hitherto largely ignored aspect of British musical life since the war.
Daniel Snowman is an author, broadcaster and lecturer. His books include critical portraits of the Amadeus Quartet and of Plácido Domingo, a study of the cultural impact of the 'Hitler Emigrés' – and, most recently, The Gilded Stage: A Social History of Opera. See www.danielsnowman.org.uk