Treble voices from Shrewsbury House Preparatory School will take part in the challenging and the rarely performed Vaughan Williams work Sancta Civitas. Benjamin Costello, Accompanist and Assistant to the Artistic Director of Thames Philharmonic Choir, who is directing the boys, describes the challenges they face at this Saturday's (1st April) choral concert at Cadogan Hall.
“The Work sits quite high for the trebles, so the boys chosen have to have full use of their upper register. As a result the majority of the lads are aged between around 9 and 11.
"The particular challenge on a musical front is that their music is completely exposed, with no useful melodic support from the orchestra (this cleverly adds to Ralph Vaughan Williams’ picture of a disembodied, celestial choir). That is, except for an off-stage trumpet playing open fifths, which cues them and gives some of them, but not all of them, their notes. The musical language is not too familiar to them either, but there is agood deal of repetition of material, so that makes things a little easier. The tessitura (vocal range) sits high and requires all of them to be technically 'match fit' to produce a quality sound."
THE CONCERT also features the unique, lively and tuneful Messa di Gloria, by Puccini - he moved rapidly on to working on operas such as La Boheme and Madame Butterfly. After its highly acclaimed first performance in 1880, Messa di Gloria wasn't heard again until 1952, as Puccini didn't get around to publishing the score.
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