The Renaissance Choir has enjoyed a year of themed programmes – concerts where the title is “Sanctus” or “Gloria” or “Agnus Dei”. This approach allows works from many different periods to share the same programme, so that Bach and Mozart, Victoria and Poulenc can nestle together in the same sumptuous feast.
Our third and last programme of this series also continues to reflect repertoire which form landmarks in Peter Gambie’s past 25 years as the conductor of The Renaissance Choir.
MacMillan’s complex Miserere Mei represents the choir’s continual search for challenge – in this case, singing one of the most complex works in the repertoire. MacMillan looks over one shoulder to Allegri’s famous opus of the same setting (in fact, he quotes directly from the Italian’s piece) but he also adds his own remarkable Scottishness to the work, with melodies from the Gaelic tradition. It’s a haunting and deeply moving piece, full of drama, passion and contrast.
Beethoven is not a composer who features often in Renaissance Choir concerts but, since we’re joining forces with our favourite soloist (concert pianist Karen Kingsley) it seemed a natural choice. Beethoven wrote his mass for choir and orchestra but the composer’s orchestral writing for this work is as much pianistic as it is orchestral. The choir will perform the Agnus Dei from the mass, a feature being used to form unity for the programme as a whole.
Further Agnus Dei movements come from works by Lassus, Victoria, Palestrina, Fauré, Kodaly and Rheinberger. The music of Eric Whitacre also features in the programme.