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.

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

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.

Family Carols

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!

Handel Messiah

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