HITCHIN THESPIANS present
including works by F.J.Haydn,
G.B. Pergolesi and W.A. Mozart
April 17th, 2010
Christchurch, Bedford Road, Hitchin
Hitchin Thespians is a registered charity. Number 1005332
1. ‘Magnificat’ – G. B. Pergolesi (1710-1736)
Soloists: Jane Homer - Soprano; Lucy Miller-White - Alto; Richard
Cowling - Tenor; Michael Steele - Bass.
To celebrate the 300 th anniversary of the birth of Pergolesi we begin
tonight’s concert with a performance of his ‘Magnificat’. Pergolesi’s life
and the history of his ‘Magnificat’ remain a mystery. He was born in
Ancona and studied with Durante and Feo the leading composers in the
Neapolitan School founded by Alessandro Scarlatti. Pergolesi became an
accomplished organist and composer of Opera Buffa as well as sacred
music. He died tragically early from tuberculosis. Musicologists have
often considered the ‘Magnificat’ to be the work of Francesco Durante
(1684-1755) but there appears to be sufficient evidence to suggest that it
is indeed the work of Pergolesi. The work is divided into 6 short
movements: ‘Magnificat’ (chorus); ‘Et Misericordia’ (soprano and alto
solos with chorus); ‘Deposuit potentes’ (chorus), ‘Suscepit Israel’ (tenor
and bass duet); ‘Sicut Locutus Est’ (chorus) and ‘Sicut erat in principio’
(chorus). The first and last choruses share the same music – a traditional
compositional device reflecting the text ‘as it was in the beginning’ and
both use a theme based on the plainsong Magnificat Tone 1 also used by
Montiverdi in his setting of the same text. The whole work is full of
simple beauty, charm and melodic interest.
2. Three Solo Songs:
a) ‘O Ravishing Delight’ – T. Arne
Soloist : Lucy Miller-White
From the Opera ‘The Judgement of Paris’ (1742), text by Congreve,
music composed by Arne when he was House Composer at Drury Lane,
this arrangement is by William H. Summings.
b) ‘Mad Bess’ – H. Purcell
Soloist: Jane Homer
Realised by Benjamin Britten.
c) ‘O Peace Thou Fairest Child of Heaven’ – T. Arne
Soloist: Sandra Page
From ‘Alfred’, a masque by James Thompson and Daniel Mallet (1740),
this arrangement is by Guy Warwick.
3. ‘Splendente te, Deus’ - W. A. Mozart (1756-1791)
Soloists: Lucy Miller-White - Soprano; Jane Homer – Second Soprano;
James Hamilton - Tenor; Michael Steele - Bass.
Mozart’s life and music needs little introduction. This short motet
contains music originally used to accompany von Gelber’s heroic dram
‘Thamos, König in Āgypten’ and was popular throughout Mozart’s
lifetime. The music being heard tonight was probably commissioned and
written during Mozart’s stay in Vienna from July to September 1773 and
first performed in April 1774. Sometime later the original German text
was replaced by Latin world to form an offertory motet. This version was
published posthumously in 1804. The work for chorus and four soloists is
celebratory in character.
4. ‘Hark, the Echoing Air’ – H. Purcell
Soloist: Sandra Page
Realised by Benjamin Britten
5. ‘Music for a While’ – H. Purcell
Soloist: Lucy Miller-White
An arrangement by the Purcell Society of this aria from the opera
‘Oedipus’, a tragedy by Dryden and Lee first produced in 1678, although
it is believed that this aria was written for the 1692 revival.
6. ‘Te Deum’ - F. J. Haydn (1732-1809)
This magnificent choral drama is three parts was a commission from
Empress Marie Therese, the wife of Franz I of Austria. Haydn was a
frequent visitor to the Imperial palace in Vienna. The Empress had a
good voice; Haydn once accompanied her on a private performance of
the soprano part of ‘The Creation’. The Empress repeatedly used to ask
Haydn for some specially-composed church music, but Prince Esterhazy
was reluctant to allow his famous employee to write for anyone but
Evidently, however, Marie Therese finally got her way – we know not
how! The ‘Te Deum’ was composed around 1799, but its first recorded
performance was not until 1800 at Eisenstadt, the home of the Esterhazy
family, to celebrate Lord Nelson’s (and inevitably, Lady Hamilton’s)
The ‘Te Deum’ is a choral work throughout, without the solo sections that
are heard in Haydn’s masses and other sacred works. Two lengthy
‘Allegro’ passages surround a central ‘Adagio’, effectively making the
work a concerto for chorus and orchestra. For those with a serious
Catholic upbringing, Haydn uses the Gregorian Te Deum plainchant from
the eighth psalm-tone.
The opening theme in the ‘Allegro’, the traditional festive key of C major,
is sung by the chorus in unison. The ‘Adagio’ and ‘Te ergo quaesusmus’
opens with a thunderous unison C and proceeds, mysteriously, in C minor
with the harmonies moving chromatically to stunning, if brief, effect. The
final ‘Allegro’ returns to the same cheerful mood as the first passage,
concluding with a stirring double fugue on the words ‘In te Domine
speravi’. A coda-like section, distinguished by overlapping instrumental
and choral phrases with syncopated rhythms, brings the piece to a
© Aylesbury Choral Society, December 2003.
7. ‘Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast’
S. Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912)
Soloist: Richard Cowling
Accompanist: Robert Day
Born in London, the son of an African father and English mother, Samuel
Coleridge-Taylor began playing the violin and singing in the local church
choir from a young age. By the time he was 15 he had been accepted into
the Royal College of Music, his place there sponsored by the musical
director of Croydon’s Grand Theatre. At the RCM he was taken under the
wing of Sir Charles Villiers Stanford, a stabilizing influence in his
troubled youth – deserted by his father who returned to his native Sierra
Leone and taunted throughout his school days. His problematic life
ended at the age of 37 in 1912 when he collapsed and died unexpectedly.
Coleridge-Taylor was fascinated by Longfellow’s epic poem ‘The Song of
Hiawatha’ setting it to music as a trilogy for solo voices, chorus and
orchestra: ‘Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast’ (1898), ‘The Death of
Minnehaha’ (1899) and ‘Hiawatha’s Departure’ (1900). Longfellow’s
colourful description of the legends of the Red Indian Tribes is equally
matched by Coleridge-Taylor’s charming and exciting music and such
was the popularity if this work during the first half f the 20 th century that
it became the most performed choral piece with the exception of Handel’s
Sopranos : Joanna Chugg, Anna Carter, Chris Fox, Lesley Greasley,
Vivienne Hamilton, Wendy Hazlewood, Jane Homer, Lucy Miller-White,
Sandra Page, Ann Peacock, Melanie Plowman, Sheila Soothill, Roz Ward,
Kate Webb, Jenny Wilson.
Altos: Gillian Clough, Lilian Dixon, Barbara Edney, Helen Hodge, Sheila Mole,
Kay Watts, Natasha Worsley.
Tenors: Fred Ardron, Andrew Carmichael, Richard Cowling, James Hamilton,
Basses: John Beal, John Edwards, Jack Lardent, Michael Steele.
Box Office Managers:
Front of House Manager:
Nick & Nicky Morgan
Jane Tunesi & Susan Osbourn
Have you enjoyed the concert?
Would you like to be part of the next one?
Hitchin Thespians are looking for new members,
especially tenors and basses.
If you are interested, please contact the Secretary,
Alex Evans – firstname.lastname@example.org
or ask any member of the choir.
WHAT’S ON 2010
‘Carmina Burana’ – Carl Orff,
‘Feel the Spirit’ – John Rutter and excerpts
from ‘Mass’ - Leonard Bernstein
Hitchin Girls’ School
17th July 2010
‘The King and I’
Gordon Craig Theatre
12th – 16th October 2010
GORDON CRAIG THEATRE BOX OFFICE
Tel: 01438 363200
CONCERT BOX OFFICE MANAGERS
Nick and Nicky Morgan, 43 Bessemer Close, Hitchin, Herts, SG5 1AG
Tel: 01462 641575 e-mail: email@example.com
WOODSIDE HALL BOOKINGS
For details contact Ann Crook
01462 434181 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Financially supported by The Arts Council for North Hertfordshire
Hitchin Thespians Web Site