Newsletter

Our new season has started with a bang – or maybe a fanfare from trumpets. Our call for singers to join us to sing Verdi’s Requiem, has been answered brilliantly; and the concert is already sold out! This is very exciting, not least because the Requiem is such an exciting work to perform.

Verdi composed the Requiem in memory of the Italian poet and writer, Alessandro Manzoni. Though, perhaps, less well known in this country today, his novel, I promessi sposi (The betrothed) was immensely influential and held to be “a paradigm of the modern Italian language”. Manzoni was a profound Christian, whose own life was full of tragedy – he was predeceased by both his first and his second wife and all but two of his nine children. When he himself died in 1873 as the result of a head injury sustained in a fall he was accorded a funeral that was almost as grand as if for a member of royalty.

Verdi, himself, was not religious – his second wife, Giuseppina Streppina described him as “a man of little faith, however, his Requiem is full of passion and drama. It was criticised as being too operatic and though is now most usually performed in the concert hall, it was composed as a liturgical work, having its first performance the San Marco church in Milan in 1874. It was not in fact, Verdi’s first attempt at a Requiem. A few years earlier he had been involved in a project to create a Requiem to honour Rossini. This was to have been a collaboration between a number of composers and failed. However, in this the “Manzoni” Requiem, Rossini is remembered in the “Libera Me” which Verdi initially composed for the Rossini Requiem and then reworked.

A requiem, requiem mass, is a mass said for the repose of the soul of someone who has died. In the context of the liturgy it has a particular form with set texts to be said or sung. It is these texts that have attracted composers across the ages, choosing the sections that will best reflect their own response to the words and emotions. It is this variety that makes singing these pieces so rewarding; and Verdi’s vision is particularly moving. It was also conceived on a large scale, requiring four soloists as well as a choir of both male and female voices. This was a problem at the time – women were not allowed to perform in Catholic services and Verdi had to apply for special permission in this case. Perhaps, this ensured its move away from a church setting to the concert hall – though the sheer numbers required would have always made it difficult for church performance.

We are lucky – we will sing it with a full choir in a beautiful church.

Announcements

We are happy to report that we have shortlisted 6 candidates for the post of Musical Director. Interviews will take place later this month, and choir members will have the opportunity to meet the candidates at a couple of rehearsals in November.

Dates
Autumn 2014
Concert Saturday 29th November, 7.30pm, St Luke’s Church, Ramsden Road
Saturday Rehearsals 11th October and 1st November
Verdi: Requiem

Spring 2015
Rehearsals start Monday 5th January
Concert Saturday 21st March
Saturday Rehearsals 7th February
Handel: Israel in Egypt

Events:

Wednesday 23rd October , 1.00pm – All Saints, Hertford – The Metier Ensemble – pieces for flute and piano

Wednesday 19th November, 7.30pm – St Peter’s Vauxhall – Concert by Candlelight. Daniel Moult, organist

Saturday 22nd November 9.30am – 4.00pm St Matthews Church, Raynes Park, SW20 0DE.Wimbledon Choral Society: Come and sing with Will Todd (All parts welcome, especially tenors and basses)

Thursday 11th December – Carol Concert in aid of the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, 6.30, All Saints Church, East Sheen

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