With now less than a month to our concert in St. Edmundsbury Cathedral I thought it might be worth writing a little about our programme.
As the 22nd of November is St. Cecilia’s Day we thought it appropriate to celebrate the Patron Saint of Music with ‘music that celebrates music’. The programme will start with Lassus’ stunning 6 part Musica dei Donum, a piece written in praise of music and its ability to calm the senses. This will lead into a blazing processional piece for choir, brass and organ by the Belgian composer Flor Peeters, Entrata Festiva. Peeters wrote much music in particular for the organ and his style fuses earlier baroque and even renaissance techniques into a tonal 20th century musical language. A second work by Peeters, Canticum Gaudii, written for the same forces will end the concert. There then follow two pieces by the English renaissance composer, Peter Philips, proper to the feast of St. Cecilia. Cantantibus Organis is probably his best known work but the magnificent 8 part Cecilia Virgo (reminiscent of Gabrieli) has only been revived in recent years. The first part of the concert will end with the British première of Emile Naoumoff’s Concerto Sacré. This piece is essentially a concerto for piano and choir. The composer uses the words of the Latin Mass but in no way is this a liturgical piece. For example the Sanctus movement is placed after the Gloria and before the Credo to create a palindromic structure of short-long-short-long-short movements with the Sanctus at its centre. Naoumoff creates some wonderful effects – bells and cascades of shimmering notes in the piano part, chanting and organum in the choral writing. There are passages of meditative introspection and exuberant, even ecstatic, outpourings of praise.
The second half of the concert will begin with one of Giovanni Gabrieli’s Canzonas for brass in four parts, which will lead into his mighty 19 part motet Buccinate which exhorts us to ‘Blow the trumpet’ and to praise God with strings, organ, drums and voices. The major work in the second half is Kodaly last work Laudes Organi. Written in 1966 this work praises the organ and the choir that sings with it. In its turn, it is a concerto for organ and choir.
I am sure you will enjoy all the music which is dramatic, emotional and yet very accessible. We look forward to seeing you there.