2012 Festival Newsletter
Issue 13, April 2012
FROM HARMONY, FROM HEAV'NLY HARMONY
James O'Donnell, Abbey Organist and Master of the Choristers, writes...
I am greatly looking forward to conducting The Choir of Westminster Abbey and St. James's Baroque in our Lufthansa Festival concert at the Abbey on 24 May. The Abbey has presented a concert in the Festival each year since 2001 and the event has become established as one of the highlights of our musical year.
We open this year's programme with Bach's joyful double-choir motet Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied. This is the work which famously prompted Mozart, on hearing it during his visit to St Thomas's Leipzig in 1789, to exclaim: 'Now, there is something one can learn from!'
Sophie Daneman then joins the players of St. James's Baroque for Handel's motet Silete venti for soprano and orchestra. Silete venti is something of a mystery piece. Handel's other settings of Latin sacred texts date from his stay in Italy during first decade of the 1700s, whereas this one, uniquely, seems to have been composed some 20 years later, in London. A possibility is that it was a one-off commission from a Catholic English patron, or that it was composed during Handel's visit to Venice in 1729 to engage opera singers.
For the second half of the programme, tenor Thomas Hobbs joins the line-up for Handel's Ode for St Cecilia's Day, a setting of John Dryden's 1687 ode in praise of music and its patron saint. Handel became one of the most renowned composers of his day, and when he died in 1759 at the age of 74 at his home in Brook Street, Mayfair, he was buried with State honours in the magnificent building for which he had written some of his most celebrated works. So it is always a particular pleasure to perform his music here, in Westminster Abbey.
We very much hope you will be able to join us on 24 May.
The Choir of Westminster Abbey is among the most famous cathedral choirs in the world, with a large and distinguished discography. You can have the chance of winning one of their outstanding CDs by 'liking' both our Facebook page (if you haven't already) and the picture of the CDs we have posted there by Friday 4 May. Two winners will be picked at random and will be announced on Facebook on Monday 7 May.
For your further interest...
York Early Music Festival 2012 celebrates international harmony across Europe and the Americas with guest artists including The Sixteen (6 July); Florilegium and the Arakaendar Bolivia Choir (7 July); guitarist Xavier Diaz-Latorre (9 July); Mhairi Lawson & Matthew Brook (10 July); Ensemble Villancico (11 July) and I Fagiolini directed by Robert Hollingworth (pictured) presenting Striggio's Mass in 40 parts in York Minster (12 July).
Full details and tickets from www.ncem.co.uk/yemf
Spitalfields Music Summer Festival, 8-23 June 2012
Hear the spaces of Spitalfields come alive with music this June as Associate Artists Gabrieli Consort & Players, Matthew Barley (pictured) and Talvin Singh lead a vibrant programme of Baroque masterpieces, contemporary works, music theatre, walks, free events and even Purcell for the under-threes. Don't miss performances from The Sixteen, Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, Schubert Ensemble, La Nuova Musica, The Monteverdi Choir, and Florilegium. Booking now open.
020 7377 1362