Choral Classics from the British Isles

7:30pm, Sat, 9 Mar 2024

  • Event Details
  • Type of event: Concert
    Start time: 7:30pm
    Venue: Holy Trinity Church
    162 High Street
    GU1 3HW
    Description: Choral Classics from the British Isles
    A concert to mark the centenary of the death of Sir Charles Villiers Stanford (30 September 1852 – 29 March 1924) and including music by some of his contemporaries, associates, pupils or pupils of pupils.

    Parry - Blest Pair of Sirens

    Smyth - Prelude on a Traditional Irish Air (Organ Solo)
    Stanford - Three Motets
    Finzi - Lo, The Full Final Sacrifice

    Bridge - Adagio in E (Organ Solo)
    Britten - Rejoice in the Lamb

    In Stanford's anniversary year the Occam Singers present a programme of music, familiar and unfamiliar, in celebration of six of the most important figures in British music of the first half of the twentieth century. Between them Stanford and his contemporary Parry reinvigorated British music in their positions as professors at the Royal College of Music, and Oxford and Cambridge Universities, educating nearly every aspiring composer of the time. Parry's Blest Pair of Sirens is one of the cornerstones of the repertoire, while Stanford's Three Motets marry technical assurance to expressive eloquence with confidence.
    Britten's Rejoice in the Lamb, a setting of selected text from Christopher Smart's sprawling Jubilate Agno, together with Gerald Finzi's Lo, the full, final sacrifice, is one of the most important large-scale anthem settings of the twentieth century, both pieces commissioned by the far-sighted Walter Hussey, then vicar of St. Matthew's, Northampton. Britten's work encapsulates a variety of moods, famously evoking the poet's cat Jeoffry while also slyly poking fun at Dmitri Shostakovich, while Finzi's is an intense and personal evocation of a text of great beauty and personal insight — both works are also utterly characteristic of their composers.
    In addition to these choral works, the programme includes organ pieces by Frank Bridge, composition teacher to Benjamin Britten, whose photograph the younger composer kept on his writing desk, and the formidable Dame Ethyl Smyth, who once conducted her fellow imprisoned suffragettes by leaning out of her cell window and using her toothbrush to indicate the tempo.