Polish Connections November 2008

This concert included works by the Polish composers Panufnik and Górecki, and by Vaughan Williams and was performed on 19 October 2008, at the Polish Church, St Paul's, Wakerley Road, Leicester, LE5 4WD and on 1 November 2008 at St Barnabas Cathedral, Derby Road, Nottingham

The programme included:
Vaughan Williams - Mass in G minor
Henryk Górecki - Totus Tuus
Andrzej Panufnik - Song to the Virgin Mary
Eric Whitacre - Lux Aurumque
together with other Polish songs and motets by Charles Villiers Stanford.

Freshly returned from a Concert Tour to Krakow, Poland, (Click on the picture above for a link to our photograph album) the Sinfonia Chorale performed its Tour Programme at St Barnabas' Cathedral. The main works were British and Polish.

The British side of the connection was provided by Charles Villiers Stanford and Ralph Vaughan Williams, three of whose liturgical works from the beginning of the last century - especially the latter's Mass in G Minor - demonstrate the resurgence of an English choral style with deep historical foundations and a contemporary musical palate.

On the Polish side Górecki's Totus Tuus is a deceptively simple but profound reflection, based on old Polish Catholic chants. As a lighter contrast we included some secular Polish songs.

The 'Connection' was provided by Andrzej Panufnik, whose career spanned both countries. His deeply moving Song to the Virgin Mary is based on an old Polish Gregorian chant.

The programme was completed by works by the American Eric Whitacre and the Swede Jan Sandström.

In his review, William Ruff of Nottingham Evening Post wrote:

'The Sinfonia Chorale's 'Polish Connections' concert blazed with a spiritual light whose intensity was remarkable even for this most accomplished of choirs. Even if conductor Richard Roddis had not told the audience that they had recently returned from a visit to Krakow, it would have been obvious that this was music that was flowing in their veins.

'Górecki's Totus Tuus, Panufnik's Song to the Virgin Mary and Eric Whitacre'sLux Aurumque are all works which require absolute precision of ensemble and a secure sense of musical architecture - as well as lungs of steel to cope with the breath-control which the composers demand. The choir rose to every challenge to produce music of radiance and power.

'The programme was bound together by Vaughan Williams' sublime Mass in G minor whose dispersed movements were sung with a heartfelt radiance that ideally suited the cathedral's generous acoustics.'

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