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Lea Singers - Music and Conflict

Saturday March 10, 2018 at 7:30 pm
St Lawrence Church, Bovingdon
£12 (under 18s £6); £13 on the door (£7 under 18s)
Phone for tickets: 07881-785299
Phone lines open: Monday to Sunday 10am to 8pm
Other Sources: Charles Burch, 10 Church Street, Bovingdon, HP3 0LU
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Tickets "at the door" - until sold out
  1. Cantique de Jean Racine Op 11 - Gabriel Fauré
  2. Missa Papae Marcelli - Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
  3. The Dying Soldier - Traditional American, arrnged by Nigel Short and Mack Wilberg
  4. Mass for double choir - Frank Martin

Written centuries apart, Palestrina’s and Martin’s masses both speak of conflict in their own way. Palestrina apparently wrote his mass for the Council of Trent, and a plea for the continued use of polyphony in the liturgy. Martin famously wrote his ethereal Mass for Double Choir in a fervour of religious conflict, never intending it to be performed. Short’s The Dying Solider provides a direct reference to the centenary of the end of World War 1.

With this year’s centenary of the outbreak of World War I, there is a focus across the arts upon remembrance and commemoration. Tonight, we acknowledge this anniversary with a programme which deals more obliquely with the theme of confict. Both our main works for this evening have something different to contribute: Palestrina’s Missa Papae Marcelli was allegedly written for the Council of Trent as a vote for the continued use of polyphonic music (that is music simultaneously combining a number of parts, each forming an individual melody and harmonizing with each other), but it also contains oblique references to folk music melodies throughout, which were expressly forbidden in the Catholic Church. These factors make the piece a political statement as well as beautiful polyphony.

Frank Martin’s Mass for Double Choir is a deeply personal expression of the composer’s Calvinist faith and his intense internal struggle to know God. The double-choir format of the piece allows Martin to construct a work full of harmonic and rhythmic tensions. The piece was never intended to be performed, and was premiered in 1963, nearly forty years after its composition.

Framing these works are two shorter pieces; Fauré’s moving Cantique de Jean Racine, and Tenebrae conductor Nigel Short’s The Dying Soldier, which deals directly with the human effect of conflict.

St Lawrence Church
Church Street
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