Our concert on Saturday 6th June 2015 featured a performance of the Krönungsmesse (Coronation Mass in C Major, KV 317), one of the most popular of Mozart's seventeen mass settings, composed in 1779. We also performed the Mass in G Major (D167) by Schubert, one of the best known of the composer's three 'shorter' mass compositions; and choruses from Handel's Israel in Egypt, with their vivid depictions of the plagues visited upon the Eygyptians for their treatment of the Israelites. The concert concluded with two choruses by Verdi: the Chorus of the Scottish Refugees from Macbeth, and the ever-popular Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves from Nabucco.
On 7th February 2015, we performed Rossini's Petite messe solennelle in St. Michael's Church, Summertown, accompanied by piano and harmonium. Described by the composer as 'the last of my péchés de vieillesse [sins of old age]', this glorious and fun-filled mass by the greatest writer of comic operas is neither short nor solemn! The programme was completed by Rossini's O Salutaris Hostia and the Pater noster by Giacomo Meyerbeer, Rossini's contemporary and friend.
Our concert on 7th June 2014 comprised a selection of English choral delights based on the theme of Vaughan Williams, his inspirations, and his contemporaries. The choir also commissioned a suite on the theme of Vaughan Williams from the contemporary English composer (and former Choirmaster of the Chapel Royal) Andrew Gant. We received universal acclaim.
On 8th Feburary 2014, the choir performed Haydn's 'Nelson' Mass (Missa in Angustiis, 1798), 'arguably Haydn's greatest single composition', according to his chief biographer H. C. Robbins Landon; and Purcell's I was glad, My heart is inditing('the best music yet performed at a coronation', according to David Starkey in his recent BBC series Music and Monarchy), and Come ye Sons of Art.
' ...it really was a wonderfully enjoyable concert and everyone I spoke to felt the same!' Over 300 people gathered on 15th June 2013 to enjoy the choir's summer concert, Murder, Morse and Mozart, an intriguing programme of music associated with Oxford detective fiction, in particular the work of Colin Dexter, Dorothy L. Sayers and Edmund Crispin. Mozart's Requiem – a favourite of Inspector Morse – was performed, along with a medley of music by Schubert, Bruce Montgomery, George Dyson, Geoffrey Bush and Charles Wood.
In February 2013, the choir performed J.S. Bach's St. John Passion to a capacity audience, with an accomplished baroque orchestra and wonderful soloists, led by Emma Kirkby and including Christopher Watson singing the role of the Evangelist. Singing in the same performance as Emma Kirkby was very special - and we were thrilled to receive this from her afterwards: '…a special and vital performance all round. I thoroughly enjoyed the instruments, all soloists, and very classy choir!'