Bernstein – Chichester Psalms

Leonard Bernstein – Chichester Psalms

2018 marks the centenary of the birth of composer, conductor, author, music lecturer and pianist Leonard Bernstein, whose most famous scores include West Side Story, On the Town, Candide and On the Waterfront.

Commissioned from Bernstein by the Dean of Chichester Cathedral for the 1965 Southern Cathedrals Festival, the Chichester Psalms received its UK premiere on 31st July 1965 and has gone on to become a highly popular staple of choral societies to this day. Consisting of three short movements, the Chichester Psalms is sung in Hebrew.

Our programme of 20th- and 21st-century compositions is completed with choral works by Janáček, Morten Lauridsen and Vaughan Williams.

Carl Orff – Carmina Burana

Carl Orff – Carmina Burana

  • Venue: Royal Albert Hall
Carl Orff popular favourite, Carmina Burana plus other works to be confirmed.

Handel – Israel in Egypt

George Frideric Handel – Israel in Egypt

"The horse and his rider hath He thrown in to the sea." These are the final words of Israel in Egypt, which sets to music passages from the Old Testament Book of Exodus and Psalms. The libretto is believed to have been prepared by Charles Jennens, who was also to compile the biblical texts for Messiah a few years later.

Frogs, pestilence, flies, lice, locusts, hailstones, fire, darkness and the parting of the Red Sea all feature in this extraordinarily dramatic oratorio, composed by Handel in one month.

HCS musical director Ron Corp shares his thoughts on Handel’s work in this video.

 

Mozart Mass in C, Szymanowski Stabat Mater

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Mass in C Minor K427
Karol Szymanowski – Stabat Mater

Free pre-concert talk by Ronald Corp at 6.20pm.

Works written for two very different occasions form the opening concert in Highgate Choral Society’s 2017-2018 season. Following the recovery from illness of his fiancée, Constanze Weber, Mozart promised to write a mass of thanksgiving. Although it was never completed the Mass in C minor was premièred, in its incomplete state, with Constanze as one of the soprano soloists, in Salzburg on 26th October 1783 and harks back to the Baroque world of Handel and Bach.

Originally commissioned by the Polish-born art collector Bronislaw Krystall to write a requiem commemorating his wife’s death, Karol Szymanowski decided to change the contract and instead composed what is considered to be his greatest masterpiece. The inspiration for his Stabat Mater was the tragic death of his niece, Alinka and the subsequent suffering of his pregnant sister, who was soon to lose another child. Completed in 1926, Stabat Mater is of fundamental importance in the history of Polish music after Chopin.

Verdi : Requiem

Verdi : Requiem

Highgate Choral Society begins its 2015-2016 season with Verdi’s highly dramatic Requiem. The terrifying (and instantly recognizable) Dies irae which introduces the traditional sequence of the Latin funeral rite is repeated throughout. Verdi uses vigorous rhythms, sublime melodies and dramatic contrasts to express the powerful emotions engendered by the text.

At the time of its premiere in 1874 it was not particularly favourably reviewed, with criticism ranging from “an opera in ecclesiastical robes” to a religious work in “dubious musical costume.” It is currently one of the most popular works in the entire choral canon.

Family Carols

Family Carols

Come and join us for our annual concert of carols for all the family. As well as many seasonal favourites there are more unusual offerings from Howard Skempton, John Rutter and the 18th century Czech composer František Xaver Brixi.