Preview of “Choral Wonders” in Southsea on 16 July 2016

“Best of Byrd, vibrant Victoria, Macmillan’s Miserere and a new commission”. This is the second of our 40th anniversary celebrations. View our concert page.

Besides performing a selection of gorgeous music from the Renaissance and modern times, the Choir will perform a new commission to Hampshire-based composer Ian Schofield entitled “Stream of Life” containing poetry by Rabindranath Tagore.

Members of the Choir voted which music they wanted our MD, Peter Gambie, to consider for performance.

Peter says: “The pieces that we have selected represent the epitome of Renaissance polyphony in the UK, Spain and Italy. Each of these pieces shows off the true genius of their composers, and they were written in their mature years. The layout and acoustic of the Church of the Holy Spirit recalls the spaciousness of the grand cathedrals in which these works will have been originally performed, yet it retains intimacy owing to its small size, and we will position the choir in various parts of the building to utilise its wonderful acoustic. We are certain that our audience will experience an intense emotional response.”

Notes on the individual composers and works (in ascending date order):

Victoria – Ave Maria (1572).

Tallis – Salvator Mundi – Saviour of the world. Published in the 1575 “Cantiones Sacrae”, the joint venture with William Byrd.

Palestrina -Exsultate Deo. Psalm 81, Sing merrily (1584).

Byrd – Laetentur Coeli – Let the heavens be glad. Five voice motet (1589).

Byrd – Ne Irascaris, Domine. Conveys Byrd’s protest and defiance following alienation by triumphant Protestantism (1589).

Byrd – Sing Joyfully. Psalm 81. Conveys music of timbrels, harps and trumpets with syncopated rhythms (1590).

Byrd – Laudibus in Sanctis. Psalm 150. One of the few madrigals written by Byrd. Imitations of the instruments used to praise God, with sharp rhythms (1591).

Pearsall – Great God of Love (1839) and Lay a Garland (1840). These pieces have a similar sound to Renaissance polyphony and like them use dissonant harmonies.

Stanford – Coelos Ascendit – Jesus ascended into heaven. Scored for double choir, this piece makes much use of dramatic interplay between the two choirs (1892).

MacMillan – Miserere. A profound and beautiful setting of Miserere Mei, based on the piece by Allegri, using techniques from both the 17th and 21st centuries. The verses break out from the plainchant roots to a transcendental climax (2009).

Schofield – Stream of Life. The premiere of this work for unaccompanied choir, comprising five poems of Rabindranath Tagore (2016).