Lauda Creatoris 2016

The first of our 50th anniversary concerts was on at St Giles Church, West Bridgford on Saturday, 12th November 2016. 

The main work was a composition entitled Lauda Creatoris by our own Musical Director, Richard Roddis. It was originally composed for the 50th Anniversary of the Derby Bach Choir where it was extremely well received. The work celebrates all Creation through the words of the Canticle of St. Francis and the writings of Gerard Manley Hopkins. For this second full performance of his work, Richard very successfully re-arranged the original orchestral score for two pianos.

The soloists were Natalie Windsor (Soprano) and Dana de Waal (Baritone), with pianists Michael Overbury (our new accompanist) and Clive Pollard.

The first half of the concert consisted of well-known choral works which are part of the Choir's favourite repertoire.

HANDEL: ZADOK THE PRIEST

This well-known and popular setting has been performed at every British coronation since 1727. The text is derived from the biblical account of the anointing of Solomon by Zadok and Nathan and the public rejoicing at this event. The anthem is characterised by a soft, arpeggio, string introduction, followed by a sudden exuberant, forte, tutti, vocal entrance. There are three sections and all the voices are divided, (except the tenors) for greater impact.

BYRD: AVE VERUM

This short Eucharistic hymn published in 1605, is considered to be one of Byrd’s finest compositions. It exudes a beatific atmosphere for a service of Holy Communion worship, especially in the quiet supplication, O Sweet, O merciful, O Jesus, son of Mary.

BYRD: LAETENTUR COELI

Let the heavens be glad and let the earth rejoice. Let the mountains be joyful with praise because our Lord will come and will show mercy to his poor. In your days, justice and abundance of peace shall arise and He will have mercy on the impoverished.

Although published in 1589, this 5 voice motet suggests an earlier style. There is typical Renaissance word painting on the word exultet, where the melodic line dances in joyful praise. The three part middle section only utilises female voices, perhaps to represent the celestial abundance of peace in the Latin text.

HANDEL: THE KING SHALL REJOICE

This is one of four Baroque Coronation Anthems written by Handel in 1727 for the coronation of George II and Queen Caroline. Another hymn of praise of sorts, the majestic and declamatory text is from the Book of Psalms. The anthem is full of pomp and fanfares and is divided into four sections encompassing common and triple time signatures, harmonic fluidity, long chains of suspension, varied division of vocal parts and a double fugue.

RODDIS: LAUDA CREATORIS

This kaleidoscopic composition is a fusion of text from the Canticle of the Creatures by St Francis of Assisi, poetry by Gerald Manley Hopkins and shifting, prismatic vocal combinations, with a double piano accompaniment.

The title is taken from the Lauda tradition of vernacular sacred song, originating in Italy with the Franciscan order in 1220, in praise of the Creator. Each part of the Canticle text opens with Praise be to thee my Lord for this or that, which acts as a unifying thread throughout.

The inspiration for the music emerged from the rhythm, emotion and atmosphere of the interspersed texts. The rich, varied vocal colours range from male and female solo voices, to a 4 part female choir and a double choir format. There is also a dynamic and onomatopoeic, spoken setting of God’s Grandeur by Manley Hopkins. This large-scale piece is a musical collage of historical allusions with particular reference to a 12th century melody in the Lydian Mode.

Sue Jolly

Sinfonia Chorale

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