Archive for September, 2011

Beethoven’s ‘Mass in C’, ‘Choral Fantasia’ & Coriolanus Overture.

A Saturday evening concert in Sunderland Minster.

Conducted by David Murray.

Soloists : Soprano – Katherine Moore, Alto – Sara Parry, Tenor – Edward Lee, Bass – Martin Robson, Piano – Eileen Bown.

Tickets are £12 in  Nave (£6 concessions for full time students and UB40s), £8.00 in Gallery (with limited view) and accompanied children under 16 admitted free. Obtainable via this website or and from online ticketing at

Beethoven wrote his Mass in C Major (Op.86) as a commission from Prince Nikolaus Esterházy in 1807. This continued a tradition established by Joseph Haydn who had composed one mass per year for the Esterházy family, from 1795 to his health failing in 1802, to celebrate the name day of the Prince’s wife, Maria. Although by this time his status as a composer was assured, Beethoven was less experienced in sacred music and had never before set the words of the Mass. He was to do so only once more, over a decade later, in the Missa Solemnis, which often overshadows this work.

The Prince did not appreciate the mass and Beethoven left his house in a rage. Although still one of the least often performed of Beethoven’s larger works it is now recognised as a long underrated masterpiece.

The Choral Fantasy in C Minor for Piano, Chorus, and Orchestra (Op.80) was composed in 1808 and was written as the finale of a concert, which was to premiere his Fifth and Sixth Symphonies as well a performance of a portion of his C major Mass, to unite the different musical elements (piano solo, chorus, and orchestra) highlighted in the concert night. A poet was commissioned to write the words to fit the already written parts shortly before the performance.

At the first performance Beethoven himself played the piano part but the performance itself “simply fell apart” a result most likely attributable to insufficient rehearsal time.

His Coriolanus Overture Op. 62 was written in 1807 to Heinrich Joseph von Collin’s 1804 tragedy. The structure and themes of the overture follow the play very generally. The main C minor theme represents Coriolanus’ resolve and war-like tendencies, while the more tender E-flat major theme represents the pleadings of his mother to desist. Coriolanus eventually gives in to tenderness, but since he cannot turn back having led an army of his former enemies to Rome’s gates, he kills himself.

Faure ‘Requiem’ & ‘Cantique de Jean Racine’ and Frank’s ‘Panis Angelicus’

A Saturday evening concert in Sunderland Minster, with Bishopwearmouth Young Singers.

Conducted by David Murray

Tickets are £12.00 in Nave (£6 concessions for full time students and UB40s), £8.00 in Gallery (with limited view) and accompanied children under 16 admitted free. Obtainable via this website or and from online ticketing at

Soloist – Alexander Baker – baritone.


“Everything I managed to entertain by way of religious illusion I put into my Requiem, which moreover is dominated from beginning to end by a very human feeling of faith in eternal rest.”

Gabriel Fauré composed his Requiem in D minor, Op. 48 between 1887 and 1890. This choral / orchestral setting of the Roman Catholic Mass for the Dead is the best known of his large works. The most famous movement is the soprano aria Pie Jesu. Camille Saint-Saëns said of it “just as Mozart’s is the only Ave verum corpus, this is the only Pie Jesu

His reasons for composing his Requiem are uncertain. One possible impetus may have been the death of his father in 1885 and his mother’s death two years later. Later he declared that the work was “composed for nothing …for fun, if I may be permitted to say so”. In 1924 the Requiem was performed at Fauré’s own funeral.

“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.”

Cantique de Jean Racine is a work for mixed chorus and piano or organ, also by Fauré, and was written by the nineteen year old composer in 1864-5. The piece won Fauré the first prize when he graduated from the École Niedermeyer and was first performed in the following year. The text, “Verbe égal au Très-Haut” is a paraphrase by Jean Racine of the hymn for Tuesday matins, Consors paterni luminous.

Panis Angelicus is the penultimate strophe of the hymn Sacris solemniis written by Saint Thomas Aquinas for the Feast of Corpus Christi as a part of a complete liturgy of the feast. Beginning with the words “Panis Angelicus” (bread of angels) it has often been set to music separately from the rest of the hymn. Most famously, in 1872, César Franck set it for voice (tenor), harp, cello, and organ, and incorporated it into his Messe àtrois voix Op.12. The 1932 performance of Franck’s work by John McCormack in Dublin’s Phoenix Park became the highlight of his career but many noteworthy renditions have been performed since.


A Saturday evening event in Whitburn Parish Church Hall.

This is another opportunity for everyone to get up and dance the night away to a live band.

Ticket price andwhat we will be having for supper to be confirmed (vegetarian option will be available if booked when buying ticket). Tickets will be available through Society members or the website.

Bring your own choice of drinks (glasses provided) and enjoy the music, dancing, raffle and good company.

Everyone can  ceilidh!

NEPAC ‘Last Night of the Proms’ Charity Concert

A concert in the City Hall, Newcastle.

This will be the 22nd North East Promenaders Against Cancer (NEPAC) concert to raise funds for cancer research and patient support. Although the content of the programme is not yet finalised, it is likely that members of Bishopwearmouth Choral Society will be making a significant contribution to the choral content.

Tickets are £28/£24/£20/£16/£14 and are obtainable from the City Hall Booking Office (Tel: 0191 261 2606)