"50th ANNIVERSARY CONCERT"

Saturday April 5th 2014 at 7.45pm,
Clifton Cathedral, Pembroke Road, Bristol

Molly Alexander soprano, Rob Waters counter-tenor
Tom Castle tenor, Andy Marshall bass

TICKETS £15 (16s and under FREE)

Ticket office 01454 880458
tickets@bristolphoenixchoir.org.uk
At the door from 6.45pm on the evening of the concert
and choir members

Here are some notes by our choir director, Paul Walton, about the music.

Henry Purcell (1659 – 1695) was described at his death as ‘the greatest genius we ever had’ by his fellow musicians. His musical legacy is enormous, including a vast output of sacred music and 24 ceremonial odes, four of which celebrate St Cecilia’s Day. Hail! Bright Cecilia was commissioned in 1692 by the Musical Society of London. The text is by Nicholas Brady, based on John Dryden’s A Song for St Cecilia’s Day of 1687. The text is full of references to music and instruments, and Purcell employs a large body of instruments (unlike many of the other odes) to give full colour to the words.

 

The Te Deum in C is the second of two settings Haydn wrote. The Empress Marie Therese was a great admirer of Haydn and organised private concerts of his music at the Imperial and Royal Court. She commissioned this piece, probably in 1799, though its first known performance was in September 1800 at Eisenstadt, where Haydn was kapellmeister to the ruling Esterházy family.

Haydn’s setting is, for the most part, joyful, optimistic and confident. After a brief change of mood at the words ‘We therefore pray thee, help thy servants’, the festivity resumes, concluding with a bright fugue ‘O Lord, in thee have I trusted’.

The Mass in D minor is perhaps Haydn’s most celebrated mass setting. It was written in 1798, and referred to as ‘Missa in angustiis’ (mass in straitened times), though that was never a formal title. It became known as the ‘Nelson Mass’ after it was performed in Nelson’s presence, when he visited Eisenstadt in 1800. Commentators have tried to detect Nelson-like qualities in the work, with particular reference to Nelson’s victory over Napoleon’s Mediterranean fleet in summer 1798, when Haydn was writing the work. However, news of the victory would not have reached Haydn until after he had finished the piece! The ‘straitened times’ could refer to court, as Prince Esterházy was attempting to cut down on court expenditure and had dismissed the wind players. Hence Haydn scored this mass for the court string players, the organ (which he played himself), 3 trumpets that were hired for the occasion, and timpani. This scoring is a distinctive feature of the mass.

We are pleased to be supporting 'Wallace and Gromit's Grand Appeal' during our 50th Anniversary Season.

wallace and Gromit

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