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Swan - A Première for Fenham Ensemble

Fenham Ensemble is extremely privileged and excited to be able to include a Première performance in our next concert.

Our soprano section was lucky enough to be joined last year by artist and composer Eleanor Cully Boehringer who has written a new piece Swan for voice and cello especially for our 'Serenity' concert on March 18th at our home venue of St James' and St Basil's church in Fenham.

Originally from Norwich and now based in Newcastle Eleanor composes music drawing from poetic text, fragments of song, imitation and imagined sound. For Swan she has set text by one of her favourite artists, poet Sarah Boulton.

As Eleanor explains: "Some time ago, I sent Sarah an audio file of a part-song. I asked her to listen and write down the words she heard, or thought she heard. I then set two lines of Sarah's text to vocal permutations of the strings of a cello, working with a sense of openness and reflection. The cello ebbs and flows around wave-like repetitions in the choir, carrying with it the feeling of a swan."

In a recent email exchange about the finished score, poet Sarah was able to add her own thoughts:

"The two lines you've chosen definitely allow a sense of stillness, peace, something that happens in a flash of letting go, passing.... It's like both the outer realm is silent and the inner being too, and these things become the same thing in a such a short space of space. The cello is also a bit like a throne. And a throne is a bit like a swan."

Swan is particularly suited to the resonant acoustic of St James's and St Basil's church where it will receive its first performance by the voices of Fenham Ensemble and Royal Northern Sinfonia cellist, Gabriel Waite, set alongside other beautiful works for cello and choir. If this week's rehearsal is anything to go by, it will be a magical experience.

Serenity: A Concert of Music for Choir & Cello is on Saturday 18th March at St James' and St Basil's church, Fenham, Newcastle NE4 9EJ starting at 7.30pm. Tickets £12 from


Hope is the thing with feathers - Christopher Tin

The Oak - Becky McGlade

Suite for Cello no. 1 Op.72 - 1. Canto Primo - Benjamin Britten

Earth Song - Frank Ticheli

Out of the Deep - John Rutter

Prelude from Cello Suite no.1 in G major - J S Bach

Svyati - John Tavener

Sing Joyfully - William Byrd

O Magnum Mysterium - Ola Gjeilo

7 Papillons No.2 - Kaija Saariaho

Sarabande from Cello Suite No. 3 - J S Bach

Bogoroditsye Dyevi - Sergei Rachmaninov

Swan - Eleanor Cully Boehringer

The Battle of Jericho - Moses Hogan

Benedictus - Karl Jenkins


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