I am really looking forward to resuming rehearsals in September when we will launch our 2023-24 season. The music we’ve chosen is a wonderful mix of exciting, dramatic and moving pieces from Handel, Mozart and Haydn.
November will see us perform Samson, the oratorio Handel wrote straight after Messiah. Unlike the Messiah’s narrative storytelling, Samson is a wonderfully dramatic piece with soloists playing specific characters and the chorus playing both Philistines and Israelites. The emotionally charged exchanges between the characters and the great moments where everyone sings together will make this a memorable performance.
We have a fine lineup of soloists for this concert. As his debut with our choir, tenor Charne Rochford will play Samson while soprano Hannah Davey will make a welcome return as Dalilah. Countertenor Tim Morgan will join us to play Micah, and soprano Kari Moffatt (who performed in our Vaughan Williams concert last year) will play Dalilah’s handmaid. We’ll have the pleasure of hearing her sing the famous aria ‘Let the Bright Seraphim’.
It will also be a great joy to perform Mozart’s Requiem this spring. I first sang it when I was 16 years old and have loved it ever since, conducting it a number of times. Left unfinished at Mozart’s death, it was left to Franz Xavier Süssmayer to complete at Costanza Mozart’s request. It quickly became well known and highly regarded, so much so that it was performed at Beethoven’s funeral in Vienna 35 years later. The work is packed with beautiful melodies, exciting fugues, and truly ethereal moments that provide a glimpse of heaven.
Another piece in that concert is a motet by Haydn: Insanae et vanae curae. It also begins in the dramatic key of D minor, and is reminiscent of the torment we hear in the Dies irae section of the Requiem. The choir will also sing Mozart’s sublime setting of Ave verum corpus.
Of the four soloists for this concert, we are delighted to be joined again by soprano Heather Wardle and we welcome newcomer tenor Matthew Keighley.
Separating these two concerts, we return to our ever popular ‘Prelude to Christmas’ in mid-December, with some lovely pieces for the choir to sing as well as carols for all.
I do hope you can join us for all these concerts. If you aspire to sing with us, do look at joining before our first rehearsal in September. However you would like to get involved, you will be very welcome.