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Vivaldi's Gloria and Cecilia McDowall's Magnificat

Saturday November 10, 2018 at 19:30
St Barnabas Church, Jericho, Oxford
£12, £10 concessions, under 18s free
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Tickets "at the door" - until sold out
  1. Insanae et vanae curae - (Franz) Joseph Haydn
  2. A wreathéd garland - Malcolm Pearce
  3. Magnificat - Cecilia McDowall
  4. Exsultate, jubilate K 165 - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  5. Gloria in D RV 589 - Antonio Vivaldi

The Oxford University Press Choir, formed in 1985, gives two public performances each year, in May and November. Malcolm Pearce has been the Choir's Musical Director since 2010.

Vivaldi's lively distillation of the Italian musical style had a strong influence upon his contemporaries, even those as exalted as Bach and Handel. His setting of the Gloria provides a wonderful demonstration of this, ranging from the energetic repetitions of the opening, through lilting solo arias, to a rapt and expressive contemplation of the incarnation. This setting may have been intended for the all-female vocal and orchestral forces of the Pietà in 18th century Venice but it is ironic to note that, across the centuries, settings of liturgical texts have been almost entirely dominated by male composers - even that most feminine of lyrical outpourings, the Magnificat. Cecilia McDowall's setting of this text, using much the same format and scoring as the Vivaldi work, therefore brings a new perspective to Mary's song, expressing apprehension, balletic agility, maternal compassion, and radiant joy.

Our two soloists will perform solo works of sacred, non-liturgical texts: Malcolm Pearce's settings of Jacobean metaphysical poet, George Herbert's lyrics (familar to many in hymns) and Mozart's popular showpiece Exultate, jubilate, originally written for the castrato star of one of his early operas, but long since a firm favourite of sopranos and audiences alike. To begin the programme, Haydn's motet Insanae et vanae curae provides a dramatic choral overture contrasting the turmoil of earthly life with the heavenly peace. Since its arrival in the English church repertoire in the 19th century this piece has been affectionately lampooned by generations of choristers as 'Insane and vain curates'!

St Barnabas Church, Jericho
Cardigan Street
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