Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Hundred-strong choir's gearing up to tackle choral masterwork

Hundred-strong choir's gearing up to tackle choral masterwork

A CHRISTMAS cracker is in store for music fans this weekend — courtesy of the 100-member South Chiltern Choral Society, writes Matthew Wilson.

The society is teaming up with the Hawkedon Primary School Choir to perform John Rutter’s Mass of the Children, followed by a selection of favourite carols for choir and audience.

Chiltern Edge School in Reades Lane, Sonning Common, is the venue for two performances of the landmark choral work — the first of which takes place at 7.30pm tomorrow (Saturday). This will be followed by a 2pm concert on Sunday (December 11).

A spokesman for the choral society said: “First performed in 2003, John Rutter’s Mass of the Children displays the melodic invention, immaculate craft, and consolatory tone that have become the hallmarks of this most renowned of living British composers.

“The extensive resources required — mixed choir, children’s choir, two soloists, and piano — are combined with a wide variety of texts to form a work that, in its 40-minute duration, offers a kaleidoscopic range of moods and textures.

“The backbone of the piece is the text of the Christian Mass, sung in Latin and arranged in five movements. Within this framework appear settings of English poetry which — ranging from William Blake’s famous The Lamb to prayers for morning and evening by Thomas Ken, a 17th century bishop — convey the passing of an entire musical day, from waking to sleeping.

“Of particular note is the final movement, where all the forces combine. After a lyrical melody from the soloists, the children’s choir sing the hymn ‘Glory to thee, my God, this night’ accompanied by the final words of the Agnus Dei in the mixed choir. After a triumphant final phrase of the hymn, the Agnus Dei draws to a hushed conclusion above which — as time seems to stand still, in a sustained and moving coda — the soloists have the final word.”

Chiltern Edge School has wheelchair access and free parking for concertgoers. Tickets are £12, or £6 for under-21s, including interval refreshments. To book, call Caroline Jones on 07500 032840 or visit www.

THE South Chiltern Choral Society has recently issued an appeal for new members.

A spokesman for the society, which meets at Chiltern Edge School in Sonning Common every Monday evening and stages three concerts a year, said it was looking to recruit 10 to 15 new singers.

“No audition is needed — just a voice check after a couple or so rehearsals to make sure they’re placed in the right part of the choir.

“We currently have spaces in our alto, bass and tenor sections. We would particularly like to recruit more tenors and basses. Our soprano section currently has a full complement, but we’re happy to encourage anyone interested to contact membership secretary Richard Larkin on 0118 947 4982.”

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