Established in 1858, the Choral has played a significant part in the musical life of the Scotland, having given the first Scottish performances of many works, including Bach’s B Minor Mass. The choir also performed at the opening of the Usher Hall in 1914 and retains a strong association with this venue to the present day.
There is an illustrious history of performance with orchestras such as the Hallé, the Royal Philharmonic, The London Symphony, the Vienna Philharmonic, the BBC Scottish Symphony and the Royal Scottish National under such legendary figures as Sir Henry Wood, Sir Thomas Beecham, Sir Malcolm Sargent, Otto Klemperer, Sir Adrian Boult, Sir Charles Groves and Vernon Handley. But the ERCU is a modern choral society and aims to provide both Edinburgh and the wider Scottish musical scene with ongoing performances of the highest standard. Its annual new year presentation of Handel’s Messiah, now in its 126th year, is a highlight of the festive season.
Recent highlights have included a collaboration with the SCO for ERCU’s 150th anniversary gala concert in the newly reopened Usher Hall, at which a specially commissioned work, Shadow Aspect, by acclaimed composer Judith Bingham, was premiered. In 2010, ERCU joined forces with Halifax Choral Society for two joint performances of Verdi’s Requiem and in May 2012, the choir collaborates with the Bearsden Choir for a programme of French music. In June 2012, the choir will travel to Orkney to perform Tippett’s A Child of Our Time alongside the St Magnus Festival Chorus and the RSNO, conducted by Sian Edwards, as part of the 2012 Festival.
The choir has made a number of CDs, including the premiere recording of Shadow Aspect, and recently provided the music for a live broadcast on BBC Radio 4’s Sunday Morning Worship Programme, from Augustine United Church in Edinburgh.45 kBERCU History 1858-1958 – An Excerpt