Seminar on Elijah

Screen Shot 2017-03-24 at 12.47.29Saturday, 20th May 2017
9.45am-1pm at Truro School Chapel (registration from 9.15am)

Tickets: £12 (under 19s £6); to reserve, click to download and complete the registration form

This seminar will give members of both Truro Choral Society and Three Spires Singers, as well as potential audience, the opportunity to hear a fascinating discourse and introduction to Mendelssohn’s dramatic oratorio, which, after its resounding first performance in 1846, established itself as second only to Messiah in the public’s affections. Paul Drayton will introduce us to the oratorio, give insight into Mendelssohn’s life’s work and the place of Elijah in it, as well as highlight the drama of the work. There will also be some singing of illustrative excerpts by members of the two choirs. After the joint performance of Elgar’s The Kingdom three years ago, Three Spires Singers and Truro Choral Society will join forces once again for Mendelssohn’s Elijah in Truro Cathedral on 24th June. In the past 15 years both choirs have gone from strength to strength; coupling of resources turns the production of large-scale works involving huge orchestras from a dream into a reality.

Screen Shot 2017-03-24 at 12.58.30Paul Drayton has worked as a teacher, pianist, composer, conductor, writer and lecturer. He was educated at The Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe, where he studied classics alongside music. After passing the advanced performing diploma (piano) of the Royal Academy of Music at the age of 16, he read for a degree in musicology at Oxford University followed by a BMus in composition. He has taught music to students of all ages, at New College Choir School in Oxford, Stowe School, Truro College and numerous adult evening classes. As a pianist he has played recitals and chamber music and has even made the odd appearance in a jazz trio. He has been the soloist in piano concertos by Grieg, Schumann, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov and others, as well as playing keyboard for a show celebrating the work of David Bowie. As conductor of Duchy Opera, the premier opera company in the southwest of England, his performances have included Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera, Puccini’s Tosca, Marschner’s Der Vampyr, Dame Ethel Smyth’s The Wreckers (2006 centenary production) and his own operatic chiller The Hanging Oak. With the actor John Nettles (star of the TV series Bergerac and Midsomer Murders), he has written and presented evenings of words and music by Mozart (Dearest Papa) and Puccini (One Fine Day). His music has been published, recorded and broadcast worldwide, and he has enjoyed a long relationship with the celebrated a cappella group The King’s Singers. Venues have ranged from the Theater an der Wien to the Hollywood Bowl, and one of his pieces was even chosen by a castaway on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs! Truro’s Three Spires Singers and orchestra recently gave the premiere of his Passion of Christ as told by Mark the Evangelist. Three of his works have been featured on a CD by St Mary’s Singers of Truro. His piano album Fun for Ten Fingers (OUP) is widely used by young beginners. His book, Unheard Melodies (available on Amazon), is a light-hearted and non-technical guide for adults who wish to delve a little below the surface of classical music.


9.15am Coffee and registration in the dining room
9.45am Introduction – The oratorio (with some singing)
10.15am Session I – Mendelssohn: the man and his music
11.00am Cakes and drinks in the dining room
11.30am Session II – Elijah: the prophet and his story
12.15pm Session III – The drama through music (with some singing)

Please note:

  • Venue: Truro School Chapel TR1 1TH
  • Follow signs for parking
  • There are a few disabled parking spaces outside the chapel
  • On arrival, please go to the dining room to register