St. Mary, Kippington
KODALY – MISSA BREVIS and VERDI – FOUR SACRED PIECES
Conductor Robin Walker
We are delighted to be presenting this programme of richly layered and
dramatic sacred pieces. This is the concert we had been about to perform when
covid struck in 2020 and we are very pleased to be returning to these pieces
Kodály was born in Hungary and stayed there during the Nazi occupation. In
the last stages of the war he took refuge in the Budapest Opera House and it
was there that he composed Missa Brevis, building on an
earlier work composed in 1942. Its first official premiere was at the Three
Choirs Festival in Worcester in 1948.
The piece is imbued with folk melodies and romanticism. There are moments of
yearning and moments of joyousness; intense and rich, gentle and haunting,
exuberant and exultant, this piece is wonderful to perform and we hope you will
enjoy discovering it if you have not heard it before.
Four Sacred Pieces, Quattro pezzi sacri, were
written separately between 1886 and 1897, towards the end of the Verdi’s life.
They were published together in 1898 and they are generally performed in
the publisher’s order, rather than chronologically.
Ave Maria was a piece composed to try and harmonise the
enigmatic scale. Intended as an exercise, it was not originally written
for public performance. The melody is sung by each line in turn and the other
parts harmonise around it, resulting in a lush and beautiful piece.
Stabat Mater is a theatrical composition as the music moves
between the different dramatic moods of the crucifixion.
Laudi alla Vergine Maria is a setting of a prayer in Canto
XXXIII of Dante’s Paradiso, a joyous hymn to the Virgin Mary, for four female
voices a cappella. Gentle and beautiful this is a moment of peace.
Te Deum is a setting for double chorus and provides another
opportunity for operatic drama. The piece ranges from lyrical passages to
thundering climaxes, providing stirring contrasts of mood and movement. This is
the piece Verdi wanted buried with him when he died.
The series as a whole provides music of great beauty and drama. If you came
to our performance of Christmas Oratorio in 2019, you will know we can promise
you an exciting and exhilarating concert. We hope you will join us on the 26th
(UPDATED – when we actually performed the concert covid had unfortunately prevented Charles Andrews from playing the organ)