Rossini: 3 Motets: Salve Regina, Ave Maria, O Salutaris Hostia
Mendelssohn: Capriccio brillante for piano and orchestra, Op 22
Mozart: Ah! Vous dirai-je, maman: 12 Variations for solo piano
Cherubini: Requiem in C minor
Lewisham Choral Society
Forest Philharmonic Orchestra
The programme for Saturday’s concert can be viewed here.
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Drama and Sparkle on the 14th of November!
The single clash of a gong shook the musical world to its foundations at the 1816 première of Luigi Cherubini’s first setting of the Requiem Mass. It signalled the start of the Dies Irae in as dramatic a fashion as the setting by Cherubini’s compatriot Verdi was to do more than half a century later.
Cherubini’s Requiem in C Minor was composed to mark the anniversary of the execution of the French king Louis XVI. Would it be too fantastical to suggest that the strike of the gong also depicted the fall of the guillotine’s blade?
Whatever is the case, that gong strike and the Requiem itself re-established the reputation of a composer who had fallen out of fashion. The work was universally admired. For Beethoven it was unsurpassed and thus was played at his own funeral eleven years after its first performance.
But before all that drama, a meditative mood to begin our concert: Rossini, Cherubini’s fellow ex-pat (they both settled in France), demonstrated with his three short choral motets that old age had not diminished his inspiration.
Our other two composers in the concert sadly never reached old age but showed the exuberance and sparkle of youth in their piano works: Mendelssohn’s Capriccio brillante for piano and orchestra and Mozart’s 12 Variations on Ah! Vous dirai-je, maman for solo piano – performed by the inimitable Nico de Villiers.
Prepare to be dazzled!
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If you’re a Spotify user and unfamiliar with any of these pieces we are performing, here is a playlist of professional recordings to listen to: