Directed by Robert Webb
With Daniel Justin - Organ
St Mark’s Church, Broomhill Saturday 30th November 2013 – 8.00pm
Admission FREE (with retiring collection)
How often do you get to hear three of the finest pieces of 20th Century Choral music in one evening? This is what the Sheffield Chamber Choir is offering on Saturday 30th November in St Mark’s Church, Broomhill, and for FREE (although there will be a retiring collection at the end of the concert to defray the expenses of hiring the church etc. The programme brings together Howells, Finzi, Britten and Tippett (with a couple of others) with some of their finest works:
Herbert Howells is arguably the greatest composer of English church music of the 20th century. The Requiem was written in 1936 following the death in 1935 of his nine year old son Michael from meningitis. Howells wrote the six-movement a cappella Requiem which is unbearably poignant at times, as a secret, personal work, and as such did not release it for publication. It was not until 1980 that he was persuaded that it should be performed and he allowed its publication. The choice of texts is entirely individual, diverging significantly from the liturgical requiem, and this moving and ultimately cathartic meditation on death and eternity is perhaps most poignantly thought of as a personally woven musical shroud for a beloved child.
The masterpiece that is Gerald Finzi’s Lo the Full Final Sacrifice was his first post war composition, written for the 1946 Patronal Festival of St Matthew’s Northampton where the incumbent, Walter Hussey, had commissioned a series of art works including painting, literature, sculpture and music. Finzi, a confirmed agnostic, was attracted to the intense imagery and passionate language rather than the Christian content of the seventeenth century metaphysical poet Richard Crashaw’s Hymn of the Blessed Sacrament a translation from the Latin of St Thomas Aquinas’s Adoro te and Lauda Sion, and the resultant music shows Finzi at his most intensely, profound. One of its most notable features is the final serene, melismatic Amen, one of the finest ever written.
The programme also include the Spirituals from A Child of our Time by Michael Tippett, a favourite of many choirs, and the marvellously inventive and uplifting Te Deum in C by Benjamin Britten. William Harris’s atmospheric setting of John Donne’s poem Bring us O Lord God and Edgar Bainton’s And I saw a New Heaven are also included in the programme, two of the finest church anthems of the last 100 years.
Sheffield Chamber Choir is fast gaining a reputation for some of the most musical interpretations of well-known choral works. Working under their experienced musical director Robert Webb, they have sung services to great acclaim and appreciation local cathedrals including Lincoln, York, Ripon, Southwell and Lichfield, always receiving warm invitations to return.
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