Bexhill Choral Society offers world premiere

Bexhill Choral Society’s concert, including the world premiere of Kenneth Roberts’ new piece Iseult, which was postponed from October 2023 because of illness, will now take place on Saturday, February 3 at 7.30pm at St Barnabas Church, Sea Road, Bexhill, TN40 1JG.
Bexhill Choral Society (contributed pic)Bexhill Choral Society (contributed pic)
Bexhill Choral Society (contributed pic)

Jenny Meteyard, secretary, Bexhill Choral Society, said: “The choir is proud and excited to perform the premiere of Iseult composed by Bexhill Choral Society’s director of music Kenneth Roberts. The piece explores the story of Tristan and Isolde (Iseult) but returns to the Celtic roots of the story and tells it from Iseult’s point of view. It is full of great tunes and drama and definitely not to be missed.

“The part of Iseult is sung by the wonderful soprano Kristy Swift, who has appeared before with Bexhill Choral Society, notably in 2018 in Rossini's Stabat Mater and in 2019 in Beethoven's Mass in C.

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“Arthur Sullivan’s tuneful music for King Arthur continues the Celtic and Arthurian theme while Holst’s moving and poignantly beautiful setting of Psalm 86 and two movements from Roberts’ Flute Concerto round out an evening of rare and lovely music. Bexhill Choral is also joined by local soloists Caroline Charnock and Roger Elias, flautist Susan Gregg and the Sussex Concert Orchestra, and it promises to be a wonderful evening.”

Composer Kenneth Roberts said: “Iseult is my long-intended piece based on the Tristan and Isolde legend. It was inspired by a version I had read which explored the Celtic emphasis of the story rather than the heavy Germanic world of Wagner's ground-breaking opera of the same name. So it's a case of 'cool running water' and 'the great outdoors' rather than the heady and intoxicating world of Wagner's opera.

“I originally planned the piece many years ago but it never got written, although I did make a few sketches which then became assimilated into other pieces. For this new work I have reverted to what I believe is the Celtic version of the name Isolde: Iseult. I have tried to distil those elements of the story which present the narrative from the standpoint of Princess Iseult rather than that of the swashbuckling Tristan. The story tells of how Tristan came to Ireland to find a wife for his uncle, King Mark, of Cornwall. Tristan and Iseult fall in love and so the story unfolds. There are, I believe, drama, pathos, colour and tunes in the piece which I am very excited to be presenting in the upcoming concert.”

Tickets purchased for the October date are still valid while new tickets are £14 in advance from Second Spin in Sackville Road (cash only), choir members, and online at, or £16 on the door.

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Jenny added: “Bexhill Choral Society is a friendly non-audition choir singing a wide range of choral music, and always welcomes new members. There is increasing evidence that singing in a choir brings real health, emotional and social benefits as well as enjoyment, so why not give it a try? The choir will be starting rehearsals for a concert in May, which will include Vivaldi’s popular Gloria, on Wednesday, February 7 at Little Common Community Centre, and new members are welcome.”

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