Puccini Messa di Gloria

Well, I guess the word is out: Capital Choir will perform Puccini’s Messa di Gloria later this year. The Wikipedia page has the information that the usual title is a misnomer, as it is a full Mass and not a true Messa di Gloria, which would contain only the Kyrie and Gloria. That’s fascinating, to someone with pedantic leanings like me. It was written when Giacomo Puccini was in his early 20s, as his graduation exercise from the Istituto Musicale Pacini. In this respect it has parallels with another piece we will perform, Gabriel Faure’s Cantique de Jean Racine, which was written by the composer at 19 for a composition competition at the École Niedermeyer de Paris. (He won.) Both are remarkable pieces for such young composers.

I encountered the Puccini Messa for the first time at choir rehearsal this week, having unavoidably missed a few weeks. I still don’t know what to make of it. So I scanned YouTube for a few performances, as you do, and found several that didn’t really convince me. But I think I like this one:

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Sure on this Shining Night

One of the pieces that Capital Choir is learning at the moment is “Sure on This Shining Night”, a poem by James Agee in a choral setting by Morten Lauridsen. It is, in my non-expert opinion, one of those quiet but intense pieces that are not too difficult to sing but very difficult to sing really well. However, a choir called Vox Humana—with David Childs conducting—manages to sing it very well in this YouTube clip:

Term 1 begins

Capital Choir rehearsals for 2017 will start on Tuesday 31 January at the usual time (7:15 pm) and place (downstairs at Central Baptist Church, ). Far be it from me to spread rumours, but the word in the ‘hood is that one of the pieces we will be doing in the new year is Faure’s Cantique de Jean Racine.

Shaky Places: the concert film

As promised in December, SOUNZ has published videos of Capital Choir’s Shaky Places premiere concert in November 2015. The videos are served from the Vimeo web site. There’s a separate one for each song, with Geoff Robinson’s reading of the poem followed by the Capital Choir’s performance. Here’s World (hat tip to Rachel McAlpine):

It’s pretty good!

And this search

https://vimeo.com/search?q=shaky+places+2015

shows the others, along with a few extras.

Shaky Places: the concert film

The word on the street is that the film of Capital Choir’s Shaky Places premiere concert in November 2015 will be released on the SOUNZ Facebook page at midday on Monday 12 December. So, in preparation, all you Facebookers should go to this page (the full name is “SOUNZ Centre for New Zealand Music”) and Like it. And the rest of you should keep an eye on the SOUNZ website.

The Donizetti Requiem concert: done and dusted

I think the concert on Sunday afternoon went rather well! The choir responded to Sue’s spirited direction, the soloists were brilliant and Belinda accompanied us superbly. At least, that’s my opinion. Perhaps others would like to chime in in the blog comments or on the Facebook page.

The Donizetti Requiem concert: not long now

capital-choir-donizetti-requiem-flyerCapital Choir, under the direction of Sue Robinson, will perform Gaetano Donizetti’s Messa di Requiem at 3 pm, Sunday 13 November, at Sacred Heart Cathedral, Hill St, Wellington. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for children. Email capitalchoir@gmail.com or phone 478 0271.

Donizetti was one of the leading composers of the bel canto opera style in the first half of the nineteenth century, along with Gioachino Rossini and Vincenzo Bellini. He resolved to write a requiem mass during the final stages of rehearsal of Lucia di Lammermoor, when news reached him of his friend Bellini’s death. He seems to have completed the work promptly, but the the first known performance is as late as 1870.

Anyway, it’s an intense but often lively piece in an Italian operatic style. We’ve been rehearsing it for a while now, and I think we’re starting to get the hang of it.