Alexander’s Feast

Alexander’s Feast will be performed by the Southport Bach Choir on Saturday, 24 June 2017, with chamber orchestra and soloists:

Hayley Swanton (Soprano)

Andrew Masterson (Tenor)

Ed Robinson (Bass)

The work is a setting of Dryden’s poem of the same name, a poem that had been written explicitly for musical performance and that functions as a celebration of St Cecilia, the patron saint of music, whose nameday falls on 22 November.

428px-Meister_des_Bartholomäus_1501SteCecile

St Cecilia playing the portative organ by the Meister des Bartholomäus, 1501.

 

Her story – which may, or may not be true – is that she was a Roman woman forced to marry a pagan nobleman named Valerian, despite her vow of chastity. During the wedding, it is said, Cecilia sat apart singing to God in her heart, and this led to her later being declared the patron saint of musicians. The story goes that Valerian saw her guardian angel crowning Cecilia with a chaplet of roses and converted to Christianity. Cecilia’s martyrdom followed that of both Valerian and his brother Tiburtius. She is supposed to have lived on for 3 days after having been struck on the neck by a sword.

 

 

411px-CeciliaValerianTiburtius

Sts Cecilia, Valerian and Tiburtius by Bononcini, 1495.

It’s not surprising, I suppose, to find that composers are attracted to the idea of writing music in honour of St Cecilia, and the Southport Bach Choir has performed quite a few of these works over the years, most frequently Benjamin Britten’s Hymn to St Cecilia. This is a setting of a poem by W.H.Auden, written between 1940 and 1942. Auden’s words celebrate the power of music and pray for its ability to bring peace to mankind. On two occasions the choir’s programme also included Haydn’s St Cecilia Mass. We have also performed Gounod’s St Cecilia Mass and Herbert Howell’s Hymn for St Cecilia.

 

 

 

Handel in fact wrote two pieces in St Cecilia’s honour, and his Ode to St Cecilia was included in the   choir’s 1983/4 season. There are still other pieces which the SBC hasn’t ever performed: a Purcell Ode to St Cecilia, oratorios by Marc-Antoine Charpentier, a setting by Gerald Finzi of a poem by Edmund Blunden,  and an Ode on St Cecilia’s Day by Hubert Parry.

The concert on 24 June will take place at Holy Trinity Church, Southport, 7.30pm.

Tickets: £12, at the door or in advance from 01704 535208/564205.

 

Concert Season 2015-16

Saturday 12 December 2015 at 7.30 pm

CHRISTMAS BY CANDLELIGHT

Charpentier: Messe de Minuit

with carols by Rutter, Chilcott, MacMillan and Willcocks, plus congregational carols

Tickets £10

 

Saturday 19 March 2016 at 7.30 pm

Duruflé: Requiem

Lauridsen: Lux Aeterna

Britten: Rejoice in the Lamb

Tickets £10

 

Saturday 11 June 2016 at 7.30 pm

SUMMER CONCERT

Handel: Dettingen Te Deum

Shakespeare settings for choir and soloists.

Helen Francis: Alto
Stephen Newlove: Tenor
Mark Rowlinson: Bass

with Crosby Symphony Orchestra

Tickets £12

All concerts conducted by Ian Crawford

Season tickets £29

Further information: 01704 540097

All concerts at Holy Trinity Church, Hoghton St, Southport PR9 0TE