Sinfonia Chorale - Spring Newsletter 2024

Newsletter Archive : Sinfonia Chorale - Spring Newsletter 2024

Dear Friends

We hope that this newsletter finds you well!

After a successful (albeit a bit cold!) Come and Sing day, we are off to a flying start with our rehearsals for the March 16th concert. This is the European Tour, Part 2, during which our esteemed conductor, Richard Roddis, together with the wonderful organist, Michael Overbury, will lead us on a journey through different countries and musical times.

Our main piece for the evening will be the challenging, but moving, Missa Brevis by Zoltán Kodály (1882 – 1967). This Hungarian composer was also a linguist and philosopher and you might know him as the creator of the Kodály method of music education. He wrote many instrumental, choral and organ pieces but, apparently, encouraging and educating children was his lifelong passion. A statue of Kodály was commissioned after his death and the sculptor requested that it face a former playground, rather than the cathedral in Pécs, reflecting Kodály’s commitment.  

Missa Brevis was originally composed as an organ mass but later rearranged for organ and mixed choir. The first performance was actually in one of the Budapest Opera House’s cloakrooms on 11th February 1945, during the siege of Budapest. Kodály and his wife were taking refuge here and, with the distant sound of gunfire outside, the company’s soloists sang, accompanied by a harmonium. After the war, the work (now with orchestration) was actually performed at Worcester Cathedral at the 1948 Three Choirs Festival.

We will also be singing pieces by Mäntyjärvi – two interesting compositions from his Shakespeare Songs, as well as Clara Schumann’s delightful Gondoliera, Saint Hildegard von Bingen’s atmospheric O virtus Sapientiae and Palestrina’s O magnum mysterium and Quem vidistis. The beautiful Cantique de Jean Racine by Gabriel Fauré will also be on the programme. Fauré (1845 – 1924) composed this sensitive and refined piece for a competition when he was just 20 years old.

Hildegard von Bingen (1098 – 1179), considered a patron saint of writers and musicians, was a very interesting, accomplished woman and created over 77 songs. She was born into a noble family and at an early age became a Benedictine nun, but she was only recognised as a saint and a Doctor of the Church in 2012. From the age of 3, she began receiving visions, which she believed were a gift from God. Hildegard kept these visions a secret until she was 42 and experienced a ‘midlife awakening’.  Her Scivias or Know the Ways are illustrations and writings of these prophetic visions. She also wrote about medicine and natural remedies, very unusual for a woman in Europe at that time. Her attitude was very much about finding harmony and balance in mind, body and spirit because everything is interconnected. This approach is reflected in her musical compositions – she thought that we could ‘gain access to the angelic choruses’ through liturgical chants. It would be amazing to achieve this when we sing her piece!

Please join us on Saturday March 16th at 7:30pm at St John’s Church, Carrington, NG5 2DP for some wonderful music. There is something for everyone!

Tickets are £15, including refreshments, (£5 for students) and are available from Sandra Wakefield 0115 960 6236 or from the Choir's website.

Sinfonia Chorale

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