In Praise of Peptides

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What is Bach, the Universe & Everything? If this is your first Bach, the Universe & Everything (BUE), welcome! We like to think of the series as a community, similar to the one Bach enjoyed in Leipzig where he produced cantatas at an extraordinary rate, providing innovative music for the weekly services at the church where he worked from 1723 until his death in 1750. At that time, the congregation was as open to science and new ideas as it was united by faith. It is in that spirit that we come together for a thought-provoking cantata and a talk from a leading scientist. We are grateful to return to Kings Place for another season of Bach, the Universe and Everything and so we begin with a cantata about giving thanks. Continuing on the theme of gratitude, Dr Louise Walport enlightens us on how peptides are helping us in the battle to develop new medicines against difficult disease targets.

A note from our director, Steven Devine, about today’s programme: BWV 192 – Nun danket alle Gott - is part of a strand within Bach’s Cantata output known as ‘Chorale Cantatas’, where each movement is based wholly or partly on a chorale melody – usually only one throughout the entire cantata and often it appears as a cantus firmus in one or more voices in the various movements. This cantata is incomplete in that the tenor part in the outer movements is missing and has to be reconstructed. It is also surprisingly short, having only three movements: two outer chorale movements with the sopranos singing the chorale melody as a cantus firmus surrounding a duet. Telemann’s keyboard works are not particularly well-known, but his organ chorale preludes are inventive and idiomatic. His many concerti are scored for lots of different combinations and are highly innovative and also often very forward-looking in style.


PEPTIDES Speaker Dr Louise Walport Francis Crick Institute & Imperial College

Orchestra Steven Devine director, organ Kati Debretzeni violin Debbie Diamond violin Max Mandel viola Catherine Rimer cello Cecelia Bruggemeyer bass Katharina Spreckelsen oboe Sarah Humphrys oboe Sally Jackson bassoon Chorus Sofia Ticciati soprano*+ Daisy Walford soprano David Clegg alto/choir director Martha McLorinan alto Matthew Beale tenor Edward Ross tenor Hugo Herman-Wilson bass* Jimmy Holliday bass


Crispin Woodhead


Telemann Nun danket alle Gott


William Byrd Christe qui lux es et dies


Brook Emery Extract from Very like a Whale


JS Bach Nun danket alle Gott BWV 192


Dr Louise Walport In Praise of Peptides


Crispin Woodhead


Telemann Vivace from concerto in A minor TWV 53:a1

* Soloists +Present singers of the Rising Stars of the Enlightenment Scheme.

Today’s concert is dedicated to Joanie Speers. Happy birthday from your family in Sydney!

Polyphony Christe qui lux es et dies by William Byrd (1543-1623) Christe qui lux es et dies, noctis tenebras detegis, lucisque lumen crederis, lumen beatum praedicans.

Christ, who are the light and day, you drive away the darkness of night, you are called the light of light, for you proclaim the blessed light.

Precamur Sancte Domine, defende nos in hac nocte, sit nobis in te requies, quietam noctem tribue.

We beseech you, Holy Lord, protect us this night. Let us take our rest in you; grant us a tranquil night.

Ne gravis somnus irruat, nec hostis nos surripiat, nec caro illi consentiens, nos tibi reos statuat.

Let our sleep be free from care; let not the enemy snatch us away, nor flesh conspire with him, and make us guilty in your sight.

Oculi somnum capiant, cor ad te semper vigilet, dextera tua protesta famulos qui te diligunt.

Though our eyes be filled with sleep, keep our hearts forever awake to you. May your right hand protect your willing servants.

Defensor noster aspire, insidiantes reprime, gubernatorial tuos famulos, quos sanguine mercatus es.

You who are our shield, behold; restrain those that lie in wait, and guide your servants who you have ransomed with your blood.

Memento nostri Domine, in gravi isto corpore, qui es defensor animae, adesto nobis Domine.

Remember us, O Lord, who bear the burden of this mortal form you who are the defender of the soul, Be near us, O Lord.

Deo patri sit gloria, ejusque soli Filio, cum Spiritu Paraclito, et nunc et in perpetuum.

Glory be to God the Father, and to his only Son, with the Spirit, Comforter, both now and evermore.



Reading Extract from Very like a Whale by Brook Emery (b.1949) I’ll chatter metaphysics with a chimpanzee, now my thoughts are the antlers of the Irish elk, the wings of flightless birds, peptides spelling out the phrase very like a whale. Most organisms produce more offspring than can possibly survive. Nothing can follow that. Something will. Blunt heads of rain, faithless wind, the stricken sun at dusk, knock-kneed girls somersaulting on the beach, the commonplacce surprise of making love face to face, the heart breaking apart, an instrumental eye and instrumental mind rejoicing, a last cacophony of birds. Read by Sarah Humphrys, oboe

Cantata BWV 192 Nun danket alle Gott JS Bach 1685-1750 Coro Nun danket alle Gott Mit Herzen, Mund und Händen, Der große Dinge tut An uns und allen Enden, Der uns von Mutterleib Und Kindesbeinen an Unzählig viel zugut Und noch jetzund getan.

Chorus Now all thank God with heart, mouth and hands; He does great things for us and all our purposes; He for us from our mother’s womb and childish steps countless great good has done and still continues to do.

Arie Der ewig reiche Gott Woll uns bei unserm Leben Ein immer fröhlich Herz Und edlen Frieden geben Und uns in seiner Gnad Erhalten fort und fort Und uns aus aller Not Erlösen hier und dort.

Aria May God who is forever rich be willing to give us in our life a heart that is always joyful and noble peace and in his mercy maintain us for ever and ever and free us from all distress here and there (both on earth and in heaven).

Coro Lob, Ehr und Preis sei Gott, Dem Vater und dem Sohne Und dem, der beiden gleich Im hohen Himmelsthrone, Dem dreieinigen Gott, Als der ursprünglich war Und ist und bleiben wird Jetzund und immerdar.

Chorus Glory, honour and praise be to God, to the Father and to the Son and to Him, who is equal to both on heaven’s high throne, to the triune God, as he was from the beginning and is and will remain now and forever.









Biographies Sofia Ticciati Sofia is a graduate of the Royal College of Music International Opera School. She previously trained at the Royal Academy of Music, the English National Opera programme and King’s College London, where she graduated with a first-class honours degree in Music. She recently made her Glyndebourne debut as Donna in Handel’s Rinaldo and Premier Esprit in Massenet’s Cendrillon. Operatic roles include Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Gretel in Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel and Miss Wordsworth in Albert Herring for Royal College of Music International Opera School, Ginevra in Ariodante and Calisto in Handel’s Giove in Argo for London Handel Festival and the title role in Holst’s Savitri for British Youth Opera.​Covered roles include Anne Trulove in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress for Festival d’Aix-en-Provence and Antonia and Giulietta for English Touring Opera’s production of Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann. Hugo Herman-Wilson British baritone Hugo Herman-Wilson read Theology at King’s College, Cambridge before studying at the Royal College of Music. He won the Audience Prize in the 2017 Somerset Song Prize, received the Maidment Award from Help Musicians UK in 2016 and 2018 and was a Britten-Pears Young Artist for 2017, 2018 and 2019. Recent highlights include the roles of Marcello and Scarpia in a double-bill of La Bohème and Tosca staged in contemporary one-hour adaptations with Opera Undone at Trafalgar Studios, the role of Mr Jedermann in British Youth Opera’s production of Scoring a Century written by David Blake and Keith Warner, Micha (cover) in The Bartered Bride as a Garsington Opera Alvarez Young Artist and a recital of songs and duets by Purcell and Lawes with soprano Charlotte Bowden for the Aldeburgh Festival. Hugo is a member of the Glyndebourne Chorus for their 2021 season. As part of the Royal College of Music International Opera Studio, Hugo performed the roles of Blazes and Second Officer in Peter Maxwell Davies’ The Lighthouse, Peter Quince in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Polifemo in Handel’s Acis and Galatea, in a residency at Snape Maltings. Hugo has a growing reputation in contemporary music, recently performing Birtwistle’s Three Songs from the Holy Forest and Theo Chandler’s The Divining Lair at Snape Maltings with conductor Jessica Cottis. He has also collaborated on and premiered in a number of other projects, including, Last Thursday an opera by Gareth Mattey and Lewis Coenen-Rowe as part of the Collisions Festival 2018; threads, a chamber opera combining music by Stephane Crayton, dance, theatre and Monteverdi; Free // Falling, an electroacoustic piece for solo voice by Matthew Lomax; and We the People, a satirical piece for voice and piano by Stella Fiorenzoli with libretto by Donald Trump. Other contemporary repertoire includes Elliot Carter’s Poems of Louis Zukofsky for voice and clarinet and extracts from the roles of Pig in Knussen’s Higglety Pigglety Pop and The Protector in George Benjamin’s Written on Skin. Hugo is grateful for the support of the Aldama scholarship, the Josephine Baker Trust and the Help Musicians UK Maidment Award.

Biographies Steven Devine Steven Devine enjoys a busy career as a music director and keyboard player working with some of the finest musicians. He made his London conducting debut in 2002 at the Royal Albert Hall and is now a regular performer there - including making his Proms directing debut in August 2007, with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Since 2007 Steven has been the harpsichordist with London Baroque in addition to his position as Principal Keyboard Player with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. He has recorded over forty discs with other artists and ensembles and made many solo recordings including Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier and Goldberg Variations. Steven is Early Keyboard Consultant at both the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and a regular teacher and examiner at many other institutions.

Dr Louise Walport Louise obtained her PhD in chemical biology from the University of Oxford in 2014 under the supervision of Prof. Chris Schofield and Prof. Christina Redfield. She used a combination of biochemical and structural techniques to study the structure and function of ‘reader’ and ‘eraser’ proteins involved in epigenetics. Following further postdoctoral work in Oxford, she obtained a Global Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship to work in Japan for two years in the laboratory of Hiroaki Suga at the University of Tokyo, with a return year in Chris Schofield’s laboratory at the University of Oxford. In 2018, she established her lab at the Francis Crick Institute in a joint appointment with the Chemistry Department at Imperial College London.

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment Three decades ago, a group of inquisitive London musicians took a long hard look at that curious institution we call the Orchestra, and decided to start again from scratch. They began by throwing out the rulebook. Put a single conductor in charge? No way. Specialise in repertoire of a particular era? Too restricting. Perfect a work and then move on? Too lazy. The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment was born. Please visit for more information, videos, podcasts and blogs.

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