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The Marches Choir presents Britten and Handel

Saturday November 23, 2019 at 19:30
Church of St John the Baptist, Bishops Castle
£12; children and students free
Phone for tickets: 01588 650 448
Tickets "at the door" - until sold out
  1. Saint Nicolas Op 42 - Benjamin Britten
  2. Chandos Anthem No 9, 'O praise the Lord with one consent' HWV 254 - George Frideric Handel
  3. Simple Symphony Op 4 - Benjamin Britten
  4. Prayer of the Cockerel - Anthony Hemson

On Saturday 23rd November 2019, the Marches Choir will present a programme of music by Benjamin Britten, one of Britain’s greatest composers, and Georg Frederic Handel, who was German-born and became a naturalized Briton. Both are recognized as highly successful and influencial composers of their time.

Handel’s Chandos Anthems are often seen as examples of the great man cutting his teeth on a musical style that would eventually bring us masterpieces such as Messiah. The choruses of No 9, O Praise the Lord with one consent, demonstrate consummate craftsmanship and skill, with lively melodic lines and a driving energy.

The featured work to be performed is Britten’s St Nicolas Cantata composed in 1948 when Britten was at the height of his creative powers. The music is a vivid and dramatic re-telling of the life of Nicolas, the 4th century Bishop of Myra, with the demanding part of Nicolas sung by experienced professional tenor Clifford Lister. The main chorus plays a vital role in recounting the miracles and legends of the Saint’s eventful life.

Britten’s musical setting is acutely dramatic, sometimes very poignant and always imbued with a tremendous humanity. The audience will be enveloped in sound from all directions in the Church: the large main choir with orchestra (embellished with exciting percussion), a ‘gallery choir’ of female voices and three boy trebles singing at some distance from the rear, and Nicolas himself in the exalted position of the pulpit. All this is part of Britten’s sound world, adding to the work’s originality and vitality.

Joining with the choir will be the Senior Choir from Bedstone College, directed by Emma Bryden. They will sing mainly from the West end of the church in dramatic antiphonal effect. Also joining will be four boy trebles from Prestfelde School, Shrewsbury.

The Marches Sinfonia (leader Julia Hargreaves) will be accompanying both choirs. The orchestra will also perform Britten’s Simple Symphony, an engaging and imaginative work (though far from simple!), masterfully written for strings.

The concert will also include a new commissioned work for chorus and orchestra by local composer, Anthony Hemson who sings with the choir. ‘The Prayer of the Cockerel’ has catchy melodies and a highly effective musical representation of sunrise!

Conductor and Musical Director, Alistair Auld, said: “This concert is a musical celebration of two truly remarkable composers. Handel’s music has a universal appeal and Britten is one of the great British composers of the 20th century. The concert promises to be a really uplifting musical tribute to these two renowned composers."

Church of St John the Baptist
Church Lane
Bishops Castle
This advertisement was submitted by Marches Community Choir.
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