Chamber of symphonies

Enfield Choral Society performing last year
Enfield Choral Society performing last year credit Waldek Godel

Two of the borough’s most popular classical groups are teaming up for an autumn spectacular, writes Ian Mackenzie

Enfield Choral Society and Enfield Chamber Orchestra will be joining forces to present a major concert at which we will perform two of the most famous and stunning choral works ever written – Giacomo Puccini’s Messa di Gloria and Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem.

When Puccini was 17 he walked from his home town of Lucca to Pisa, some 25 miles there and back, to watch a performance of Verdi’s Aida. It probably had a major influence on his decision to pursue a career in theatre rather than in church music.

Nevertheless, as a graduation exercise when he was 18, Puccini composed his exciting and lyrical Messa di Gloria. It is unapologetically majestic and operatic in style and was performed with great success in Lucca in 1880. Puccini then laid it aside as he concentrated on composing his big opera successes.

Fortunately, in 1951 an Italian priest from New York bought a copy of Messa di Gloria while collecting biographical material on Puccini and he arranged for it to be performed in Chicago in 1952 – some 72 years after its premiere. From then on, it was recognised as a major, popular work and is widely performed throughout the world.

Fauré’s Requiem is a total contrast to Messa di Gloria and also to some traditional versions of the requiem, in that it removes dramatic fiery judgement images and instead presents a poignant and serene mood throughout.

Fauré himself commented on his desire to break away from convention: “As to my Requiem, perhaps I have also instinctively sought to escape from what is thought right and proper, after all the years of accompanying burial services on the organ. I know it all by heart. I wanted to write something different.”

In this, Fauré was entirely successful, and his ethereally beautiful masterpiece is one of the most frequently performed choral works.

Our November concert will be conducted by Enfield Chamber Orchestra’s musical director Mark Sproson and apprentice musical director Penelope Jane Homer, for whom it will be a farewell performance. The professional soloists joining us will be Paul Norcross-King (tenor) and James Cleverton (baritone).

So please come along and enjoy these two stunning works at St Thomas’s Church in Oakwood. I look forward to seeing you there!

Enfield Choral Society and Enfield Chamber Orchestra’s joint concert takes place on Saturday 2nd November, from 7.30pm, at St Thomas’s Church, 2 Sheringham Avenue, Oakwood. Tickets cost £12 in advance or £15 on the door (£5 for students aged under 25). For more information and to book:
Call 07793 082 991
Visit enfieldchoralsociety.org.uk

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