Previous concerts

7.00pm Saturday 7 November 2015

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.

6.00pm, Saturday December 5 2015

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.

7.30pm Monday 7 March 2016

Britten : Four Sea Interludes
Ronald Corp : Behold the Sea
(world premiere)
Vaughan Williams : A Sea Symphony

Saturday 23 April 2016 Workshop: 11am - 5pm Performance: 6pm

Come and Sing
Faure Requiem

  • Venue: St Michael’s Church, Highgate,
    London N6 6BJ

7.00pm Saturday 25 June 2016

JS Bach – Mass in B Minor

Saturday 12 November 2016 7.00pm

George Butterworth – The Banks of Green Willow
Ronald Corp – The Somme – A Lament
Ralph Vaughan Williams – Serenade to Music
Johannes Brahms – A German Requiem

The opening concert in our 2016-2017 season has a sombre feel, commemorating the centenary of the Battle of the Somme. Starting with The Banks of Green Willow by George Butterworth, who was killed in action on 5th August 1916, aged only 31, this work is complemented by Ronald Corp’s The Somme – a lament, part of a larger work by Corp entitled Dawn on the Somme.

The mood lifts with the choral arrangement of Serenade to Music by Butterworth’s contemporary, Vaughan Williams and the programme is brought to a close with Brahms’s glorious German Requiem.

Possibly inspired by the death of his mother in 1865, Johannes Brahms’ A German Requiem, To Word of the Holy Scriptures, Op. 45 is the composer’s longest composition. In contrast to the traditional Roman Catholic requiem mass, which begins with prayers for the dead, A German Requiem focuses on the living, beginning with the text ‘Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted’ from the Beatitudes. This theme, transition from anxiety to comfort is central to the work.

The text of Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music is an adaptation of the discussion about music and the music of the spheres in Act V, Scene 1 of The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare.

There’s not the smallest orb which thou beholdst
But in his motion like an angel sings,
Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubims.

Vaughan Williams wrote the piece as a tribute to the conductor Sir Henry Wood to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Wood’s first concert. The solo parts were composed specifically for the voices of sixteen eminent British singers chosen by Wood and the composer, but Vaughan Williams subsequently made arrangements for four soloists plus choir and orchestra, for choir and orchestra, for choir and piano, and for orchestra alone.

Saturday 29 October 2016, 7.30pm

Orff – Carmina Burana
Rossini – Thieving Magpie Overture
Bruch – Violin Concerto No. 1

  • Venue: Royal Albert Hall, London (see map)

Promoted by Raymond Gubbay

We often perform alongside international stars as part of the Raymond Gubbay concerts. This rousing piece is one of our – and the public’s! – favourites!

Saturday 3 December 2016 6.00pm

Family Carols

  • Venue: St Michael’s Church, South Grove, Highgate, N6 6BJ (see map)
  • Conductor: Ronald Corp
  • Organist: Dan Moult

Our annual Christmas concert invites the whole community to join us, with the St Michael’s School junior choir and also the New London Children’s Choir and make merry! Carols and music will include some old favourites as well as some you may not know. It’s just the event to begin the run up to Christmas, so join us!

Thursday 15 December and Monday 19 December 2016, 7.30pm

Handel – Messiah

  • Venue: Royal Albert Hall, London (see map)

Promoted by Raymond Gubbay

The majesty of the Royal Albert Hall provides the perfect setting for Handel’s choral masterpiece, again one of our regular appearances as part of the Raymond Gubbay concerts

Friday 30 December 2016, 7:30pm

Beethoven – Symphony No. 9 ‘Choral’
Beethoven – Piano Concerto No 5 ‘Emperor’

Promoted by Raymond Gubbay

An unmissable all-Beethoven programme featuring the monumental ‘Choral’ symphony with its climactic ‘Ode to Joy’.

Saturday 11 March 2017

Delius – The Walk to the Paradise Garden
Delius – Sea Drift
Elgar – The Music Makers

Our first concert of 2017 is an all-British affair featuring two towering figures of 20th-century music, Delius and Elgar.

The concert begins with the highly attractive Walk to the Paradise Garden, an orchestral interlude from Delius’s opera,  A Village Romeo and Juliet. The motion of waves is suggested throughout by the orchestra in  Sea Drift, while the choir sings the tale of a pair of mocking birds nesting on the sea shore in a setting by Walt Whitman.

In  The Music Makers Elgar also sets an entire poem, Ode by Arthur O’Shaughnessy, to much original music punctuated with quotes from previous compositions including  The Dream of Gerontius,  Sea Pictures, the First Symphony, the  Enigma Variations and  Rule, Britannia.

Saturday 6 May 2017

Kodály Missa Brevis
Plus English and Italian Music by Finzi, Mascagni, Rossini, Vaughan Williams, Verdi

Throughout 2017 the 50th anniversary of the death of Hungarian composer Zoltán Kodály is being marked. In 1945, while hiding with his wife and many others in the cellar of the Budapest Opera House during the Nazi occupation, he completed his Missa Brevis, which had originally been an organ mass. Its first performance was in the cloakroom of the Opera House, later receiving its official première at the 1948 Three Choirs Festival in Worcester.

 

By the time of this concert Highgate Choral Society will have been on its tenth tour abroad, to Naples, Sorrento and Pompeii, where they will have performed sacred and secular pieces by Finzi, Mascagni, Rossini, Vaughan Williams and Verdi, as well as Campion, Palestrina and Tallis.

 

The soloist in the Missa Brevis will be young soprano Iúnó Connolly, who will also sing a selection of English and Italian songs accompanied by organist Edward Batting.

Saturday 1 July 2017, 7.00 pm

Will Todd – Mass in Blue
Russell Hepplewhite – Two or Three Angels

Pre-concert conversation with Russell Hepplewhite at 6:20pm.

When the first recording of Mass in Blue was released in 2006, MusicWeb International ended its review thus: “Choral singers and directors on the lookout for enriching their choir’s choice should get this, as should anyone who appreciates a well-themed piece of sung music that brings off the balance between accessibility and sustained creative delight.” Premièred in 2003, Mass in Blue, scored for soprano solo, choir, piano, bass and drum kit, has gone on to receive performances throughout the world.

Perhaps this will happen to Two or Three Angels too? To complement the Mass, Highgate Choral Society has commissioned an exciting new work for soprano and double choir from “one of the brightest young talents to emerge in recent years”, Russell Hepplewhite (Evening Standard Top 1000 most influential Londoners). Consisting of 12 movements, Two or Three Angels sets to music poetry by William Blake, Rabindranath Tagore, Emily Dickinson, W B Yeats, Stephen Crane, James Henry Leigh Hunt, John Keats and Henry van Dyke. 1 July 2017 will be its first performance.