Concerts - 2010

A Concert in aid of East Anglian Hospices
Friday 12 November 2010, 7.30pm, Lavenham Church, Suffolk
The Choirs of Jesus College Cambridge
Conducted by Mark Williams

Music for a Summer’s Evening
Tuesday 22 June 2010, 7.30pm, St Mary’s Church, Arkesden
The Choir of Jesus College Cambridge
Conducted by Mark Williams

G.F. Handel Dixit Dominus; J.S. Bach Jesu meine Freude, Der Gerechte kommt um
Wednesday 17 March 2010, 7.30pm, Jesus College Chapel
The Choir of Jesus College Cambridge
Saraband Consort
Conducted by Mark Williams

Written in 1707 while the young Handel was visiting Rome, Dixit Dominus (a setting of Psalm 110) is a furious blaze of virtuosic musical writing (intended to meet the expectations of the audiences of Rome at the time) for both the choir and soloists involved (in this case Grace Davidson, Soprano (from the Sixteen); Amy Haworth, Soprano; and David Allsopp, Counter-tenor). From the explosive beginning through the serene beauty of the soprano duet in the ‘De torrente’ movement to the fast-paced and intricate fugue in the Gloria, Handel delivers a work which is dramatic, technically brilliant and stylistically well-developed for what was his first autographed work.

Written nearly twenty years after Dixit Dominus, Bach’s funeral motet Jesu, meine Freude (the earliest, longest, most complex and arguably most popular of his six motets) sets a text combining verses from St Paul’s Letter to the Romans and a Lutheran devotional text by Johann Franck. With a perfectly-symmetrical musical structure over the eleven movements, the piece is a brilliant composition, using the full range of the choir (from full sections in the double fugue and chorales to reduced voice trios in the middle of the work). For both pieces, complemented by Bach’s arrangement of Kuhnau’s achingly beautiful funeral motet, Der Gerechte kommt um, the College Choir joined forces with members of the Saraband Consort to deliver an evening of masterful baroque music.

J.S. Bach St Matthew Passion
Wednesday 31 March 2010, 6.30pm, King’s College Chapel
The Choristers of Jesus College and St Catharine’s College
The Choir of King’s College Cambridge
Academy of Ancient Music
Conducted by Stephen Cleobury

Once again, the Choristers of Jesus College joined the Choir of King’s College Cambridge in their Holy Week performance of J.S. Bach’s masterpiece.

Britten War Requiem
Saturday 16 January 2010, 8pm, King’s College Chapel
The Choirs of Jesus, Selwyn, Clare, Christ’s and Gonville and Caius Colleges
The Choristers of Jesus College
Conducted by David Hill

First performed in 1962 to mark the consecration of the new Cathedral in Coventry (built to replace the original Cathedral, lost to firebombing in the Second World War), Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem is perhaps one of the greatest pieces of choral music written in the twentieth century. The core of the work is a highly dramatic setting of the traditional Latin Requiem Mass, reminiscent in scale (particularly in the ‘Dies Irae’) of Verdi’s own Reqiuem, but interestingly, Britten weaves around this core settings of nine poems by the war poet Wilfred Owen, sung by the tenor and baritone soloists, in telling juxtaposition to the Latin text. It is a Requiem for the futility of war and the terrible costs it inflicts on society (something felt particularly strongly by Britten himself as a pacifist). Britten does not hold back on the orchestration, writing the work for soprano, tenor and baritone soloists (Jane Irwin, Andrew Staples and Ashley Riches), chorus (the Choirs of Jesus, Selwyn, Clare, Christ’s and Gonville and Caius Colleges), boys’ choir (the Choristers of Jesus College), organ and two orchestras (a full orchestra and a chamber orchestra). David Hill (father to Jesus Chorister Dominic Hill) combined these vast forces to produce an electrifying sound, suitably conveying the terrible suffering of war and the fear of the world to come inherent in the Requiem Mass.