The London Ripieno Society was founded in 1962 by its present musical director Geoffrey Hanson, who is an established composer and organist.
The original aim was to supplement the London musical scene with both interesting and unexplored repertoire, performed by smaller forces than was customary in the 60s. Hence the musical term Ripieno in the Society’s title, meaning ‘supplementary forces’. It was still the fashion in that era for Baroque and Renaissance music to be given in large scale performances. Original instrument groups and small scale performances more truly reflecting composers’ intentions were yet to come. The LRS was to play its part in this movement.
In 1968 the first London performance of Telemann’s St Matthew Passion of 1732 was given by the London Ripieno Society, as part of the Camden Festival. The Guardian’s reviewer thought ‘the performance was admirably conceived…the chorus was fresh and bright toned’.
The Society’s next concert, at the Wigmore Hall in 1969, was of mainly Baroque music, but it also included a contemporarycomposer’s work – ‘Lament for a Sparrow’ by Alan Rawsthorne – and this was to be the shape of things to come; a reliance on both old and new music in programming.
The London Ripieno Society is now in its fifth decade, with a successful history of public performance. The performing body is made up of an amateur chorus of around 30 members accompanied in concert by professional musicians. Professional soloists, both vocal and instrumental, are employed. Occasionally the group stages opera performances. The Society has premiered two of Geoffrey’s operas,
The Virgin Crown and Cuthman’s Journey and has given concert performances of Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas, Glucks Orfeo and Gilbert and Sullivan’s Trial by Jury.
Concerts by the Society have been given in venues ranging from Queen Elizabeth Hall and St John’s Smith Square to small country churches, and occasionally the choir has performed in Italy and France.
For the past few years concerts in Central London have often been at St Cyprian’s Church, Clarence Gate, London NW1 (near Baker Street Station) or St John’s Wood Church, London NW8.Interested in membership? Click here!