On Sunday, July 4, at 2 pm, the CBS Choir and Orchestra offer a free hour-long concert by well-known American composers, together with Mozart’s famous Solemn Vespers, in the Catholic Pro-Cathedral, 373 Manchester St., Christchurch.
The programme includes three unaccompanied works. Written for the opening of the Berkshire Music Centre in 1940, Randall Thompson extended the single word “Alleluia” through a varied emotional landscape, towards a final evocation of peace. Based in Los Angeles in 1949, Igor Stravinsky returned to his youthful Russian Orthodox faith with a typically astringent Latin version of the Ave Maria. And it was the Los Angeles Master Chorale which gave the first performance in 1994 of Morten Lauridsen’s hauntingly beautiful O Magnum Mysterium, depicting in the composer’s words “the birth of the newborn King amongst the lowly animals and shepherds”.
Two famous American instrumental compositions will also be heard. Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man, in a suitably stirring and patriotic arrangement, was originally premiered on March 12, 1943, when tax returns were due. Said Copland: “I was all for honouring the common man at tax time”. A very contrasting word for string orchestra will be Samuel Barber’s much-loved Adagio for Strings, which in its gentle intensity seems to open the gates of paradise.
The concert concludes with Mozart’s Solemn Vespers, K339, five brilliantly varied psalm settings for choir, orchestra, and soloists, featuring English soprano Rosemary Galton in the famous Laudate Dominum. Other soloists will be Louisa Pilkington, Wally Enright and Ken Joblin.
Natalia M. Lomeiko leads the orchestra, and the CBS Musical Director is Don Whelan.
CBS Music continues its popular Lunch Plus Wednesday At One recital series, which moves from the Pro-Cathedral to the Music Centre during the months of July and August. Another Christchurch Choral Festival is planned for August 15, at 3 pm.
In place of the usual Haydn symphony and Mass, the CBS choir, orchestra and soloists will perform his oratorio The Creation at 2 pm on Sunday 12 September, to mark the beginning of a new chapter for their cathedral music in Christchurch. A gala concert is being planned for Saturday, 20 November at 7.30 pm, when it is hoped to achieve a concert performance of the Beethoven Missa Solemnis.
The CBS musical year will conclude another Christmas Messiah at 1.30 pm on Sunday, 12 December, and a performance of Haydn’s Mariazellermesse at the Christmas Midnight Mass.