Thursday, 22 November 2012

Westminster Cathedral Choir sings at Eleventh International Festival of Sacred Music and Art

The Fondazione Pro Musica e Arte Sacra held its eleventh Festival in Rome and the Vatican recently, during the course of which visiting choirs and resident ones alike sang at various Masses and concerts.

The Choir of Westminster Cathedral sang at Mass in St Peter’s Basilica, and gave at least one concert.

At the Mass, celebrated by Cardinal Angelo Comastri, the Offertory motet was the glorious eight-part Victoria Ave Maria, with the Choir showing every bit of the rich, continental sound for which they are celebrated.  Indeed, one even has cause to consider whether this might be precisely the sound the Iberian composer had envisaged for his music. 

At communion: 

At the concert the day before in St Mary Major the Choir sang the exhilarating Mawby Ave verum corpus

The programme suggests that this concert was a joint one with the Sistine Chapel Choir, that Choir singing music of the Roman School and the Westminster Cathedral Choir singing music form the British Isles.  The Youtube video suggests that Colin Mawby was directing his own piece.  This might well be the case as I’ve read that he was instrumental in organising the closer collaboration of the London and Vatican choirs.  If he were present, what could have been more fitting than for him to conduct his own composition? 

The Choir had the honour of singing for the Pope as well.  

Thursday, 8 November 2012

All Souls in London and Sydney

In London, at the Cathedral on the north side of the Thames, the Mass setting was the Anerio Requiem - beautiful  well-structured Italian polyphony in a style akin to that of the great Palestrina.  The said Cathedral has recorded this work.  And here is a wonderful video of the Bach Collegium of San Diego singing the Introit and Kyrie:

At the Oratory on Brompton Road it was the sublime Victoria Requiem, with sackbuts and cornetts.  

In Sydney, the setting was the Faure Requiem, and it was sung by the Cathedral Choir quite stunningly. The Mass was well attended, especially considering that it was Friday evening.  The Cardinal was present in choir, having returned that very evening from the Synod for New Evangelisation in Rome, of which he was a member. The Mass was celebrated by the Dean of the Cathedral ad orientem at the front altar in the main Sanctuary.  

Incidentally, Westminster Cathedral will be singing the Durufle Requiem for Armistice/Remembrance Day.  This year, the 11/11 happens to fall on a Sunday, however I am given to understand that in the UK, the second Sunday in November is known as Remembrance Sunday, and is the official commemoration of those who served in the Great War (and later conflicts).  The Cathedral Choir then heads off to Rome for the International Festival of Sacred Music and Art where they will sing at a Mass in St Peter's Basilica on Tuesday 13 November.  More to come on that.  

Monday, 5 November 2012

Update to Maestro Reuss and Bach Mass in B minor

As I write this, the fabulous performance of the Bach Mass in B minor that I drew attention to in an earlier post is being broadcast across Australia on ABC Classic FM.

How lovely that this music is being shared even more widely!

A reminder that you can listen to the whole performance again on YouTube, courtesy of the Dutch public broadcaster: