(Please note that this concert has now taken place.)
The first concert in the North London Chorus 2018/19 season includes one popular favourite and one rarely heard curiosity that deserves more attention. Haydn’s Missa in Angustiis is more usually known as Nelson Mass and is widely regarded as a masterpiece. Haydn’s 1798 work particularly highlights the choir and the virtuosic solo soprano, with the orchestra of strings, trumpets, organ and timpani also taking a prominent role.
Britten composed The Company of Heaven for BBC radio broadcast in 1937 but the complete piece was not performed again until 1989, 13 years after his death. Texts about angels – the “company of heaven” – by, among others, Emily Brontë, Gerald Manley Hopkins, John Milton, Theodosius, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Christina Rossetti as well as verses from the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Revelation are woven into a rich tapestry of spoken and sung words of immense colour and intensity.
Haunting plainchant melodies, a Mahlerian funeral march, a rousing congregational hymn and ecstatically charged string writing all add to the theatrical drama of this extraordinary piece in which the voice of the mature composer can already be heard clearly.
The programme is completed by J S Bach’s cantata for solo alto and strings, Widerstehe doch der Sünde, BWV 54.
Our line-up of brilliant young soloists includes three of this season’s ENO Harewood Artists, (soprano), (mezzo-soprano) and (tenor). They are joined by the exceptionally promising young bass , 1st prize winner in the 2018 Kathleen Ferrier Awards.
In addition, we have two actors joining us for the Britten.
Rachel Bell was a founder member of Hull Truck Theatre Company. She has appeared in several films and many theatre productions, including Keeping Up Appearances, in which she played Hyacinth Bucket, but is best known for her television work which includes The Detectorists, The Silkworm, Dear John, The Darling Buds of May (as Edith Pilchester), Dr Who, Miss Marple, Poirot and five years playing Mrs Holmes in Grange Hill. Rachel can currently be seen as Eve Haskey in the BBC daily drama series Doctors. She narrated the NLC Opera Gala in 2004.
Jeremy Finch studied at Cambridge and RADA. His extensive theatre and music-theatre credits include the title rôle in Candide (ENO), Sunday in the Park with George and My Fair Lady (Théâtre du Châtelet), Sunset Boulevard (RUG), Trevor Nunn’s A Little Night Music (Menier Chocolate Factory), Company (Sheffield Crucible) and Lady in the Dark (National Theatre) and Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors (West Yorkshire Playhouse). TV appearances include Band of Brothers (HBO), Pirates (S4C) and Dreamdate (ITV). Jeremy last appeared with NLC in 2013 in our programme of songs from American musicals “Summertime”.
Look forward to seeing you there!