18 November 2019

Our annual JCS concert with the School of St Helen and St Katharine was directed this year by Adam Treadaway, the Chapel Choir Director at Abingdon School. He chose a contemporary piece, Sunrise Mass, by the Norwegian composer, Ola Gjeilo (b 1978).

The Mass explores many textures and sonorities with some beguiling dissonances and antiphonal textures for double choir. It proved to be an attractive and accessible choice for the chorus and orchestra comprising pupils, parents and teachers from both schools.

The concert proceeded without an interval, starting with Puccini’s Crisantemi for string orchestra. Although better known as an opera composer, this work, originally for string quartet, provided some of the material for his big first opera success, Manon Lescaut, and was written in response to the early death of one of the princes of the Italian royal family who had been great sponsors of the composer in his youth.

The Joint Chamber Choir were on next with a performance of Mozart’s well-known Ave Verum Corpus, a sublime motet for choir and string orchestra. Dated 17 June 1791, it was perhaps Mozart’s final completed work and includes some masterful textures and magical chromatic harmonic progressions.

The Sunrise Mass completed this memorable concert. Our thanks and congratulations go to Mr Treadaway and all the musicians involved for a very enjoyable evening.

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