Spring Newsletter

Festival Chorus Newsletter
January 2014
Happy New Year – though already celebrations are little more than a memory. Our rehearsals have begun as we prepare for our first concert of 2014 on Saturday 29th March. We will be performing a varied programme of works from Bach to Bruckner and including an unfamiliar work by Liszt. All, however, are linked; they were all composed for, or relate to, that particular season in the church calendar leading up to Easter – Holy Week. The two Bach Cantatas will be known to many. In the case of Cantata 38 it is the sentiments that are so pertinent, while Bach composed Cantata 182 for Palm Sunday, the event that stands at the beginning of Holy Week, the week in which the church remembers the events leading up to the Crucifixion on Good Friday, followed by the Resurrection at Easter. Similarly, the three Bruckner Motets that we will be singing, are specific to this week.
It is, however, the Via Crucis by Liszt that has the most obvious relevance. The Via Crucis, The Stations of the Cross, mirrors the journey taken by Christ as he carried the cross from the Temple to Golgotha. Though pilgrims to Jerusalem could follow this route down the Via Dolorosa where there were nine stations, by the 18th century sculptural representations were appearing in churches – usually Roman Catholic, and fourteen scenes depicting the chief events of Christ’s suffering and death became the norm. Set around the building, they encourage worshippers to move from one to another. The object is to help the faithful to make a spiritual pilgrimage through meditating upon them.
Liszt adheres to the cannon, introducing them with the 6th century hymn Vexilla regis –
 The regal banners fly wide/Now shines the mystery of the Cross/through which, life endured death/and by death did win life.
The work closes with words also taken from this hymn –
 Ave crux – Hail, Cross, hope sublime, grant the faithful grace overflowing, pardon grant to sinners
Traditionally the Stations are as follows:
  1. Jesus is condemned to death
  2. Jesus carries his cross
  3. Jesus falls the first time
  4. Jesus meets his mother
  5. Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry the cross
  6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
  7. Jesus falls the second time
  8. Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
  9. Jesus falls the third time
  10. Jesus’ clothes are taken away
  11. Crucifixion: Jesus is nailed to the cross
  12. Jesus dies on the cross
  13. Jesus is taken down from the cross (Deposition or Lamentation)
  14. Jesus is laid in the tomb.
The work does not just feature soloists and choir. Liszt uses dramatic organ solos to evoke many of the stations. It is going to be a very different and exciting work to perform.


Those who took part in Carol singing at the Eagle before Christmas will be pleased to know that we raised £200 for Spires, a local charity that supports the homeless. They have expressed their delight and thank the choir very much.
We do not have the luxury of rehearsal CDs for this concert. However, you will find links to resources to help you  on our website – www.festivalchorus.co.uk. Please do log on to find them. We would also urge you to click the “Follow” button on the site. This will ensure that you will receive an alert whenever new material is posted. It is a great way to keep in touch with all the news.
Spring 2014
Term starts Monday 6th January 2014
Concert Saturday 29th March, 7.30pm St Luke’s Church, Ramsden Road SW12
Saturday Rehearsals 8th February and 8th March
Liszt: Via Crucis; Bach: Cantatas 38 and 182
Summer 2014
Term starts Monday 7th April 2014
Concert Saturday 5th July, 7.30pm, St Luke’s Church, Ramsden Road
Saturday Rehearsals 17th May and 14th June
Gilbert and Sullivan: The Pirates of Penzance
AGM : Monday 7th July 8pm
Autumn 2014
Term starts Monday 1st September
Concert Saturday 29th November, 7.30pm, St Luke’s Church, Ramsden Road
Saturday Rehearsals 11th October (tbc) and 8th November (tbc)
Verdi: Requiem
Saturday 8th February 7.30pm Guildford Cathedral – Wimbledon Choral Society – Belshazzer’s Feast (Walton)
Sunday 9th February 6pm The Forge Camden, 3-7 Delancey Street, NW1 7NL/ Metier Ensemble Fairy Tale
Saturday 1st March 7.30pm St Luke’s Church, Ramsden Road. St Luke’s Music Society – Nicola Benedetti, Leonard Elschenbroch, Alexei Grynyuk.
Saturday 15th March 2.30pm Registration; 6.30pm performance. Holy Trinity Church, Tooting Bec, 74 Trinity Road SW17
Come and sing The Messiah – everyone welcome

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