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Bridgwater Choral Society’s next concert: hope springs eternal

posted 25 Mar 2016, 01:53 by Ann Hains
At the worst of times, there’s always hope. This is one message of the masterworks Bridgwater Choral Society will be performing at their next concert. On 7th May at St Mary’s Church the choir, with professional soloists and orchestra under their conductor Iain Cooper, will be performing Haydn’s Nelson Mass and Mozart’s Requiem.

The original title of Haydn’s Nelson Mass was ‘Mass in troubled times’. Haydn’s times certainly were troubled: he and his fellow citizens were terrified that Napoleon would invade Vienna. However, just before the first performance of the mass in 1798 Nelson had beaten Napoleon’s navy at the Battle of the Nile, and in 1800 Nelson visited Vienna, met Haydn, and possibly attended a performance of the mass, hence its change of name.

Haydn’s music reflects the dangerous situation. The mass begins in a tense, almost threatening minor key, and at times the trumpets and drums have a martial rhythm echoing the menace of an approaching army. But by the end optimism breaks through: the mass ends with a joyful, victorious chorus.

Mozart was writing his Requiem on his deathbed. The stirring music does not spare us from the fear and pain of death. Yet there is hope here too, the hope for mercy that threads its way through the work. The very last notes that Mozart ever wrote, the beautiful ascending melody of the ‘Lacrymosa’, are thrillingly poignant.

This is clearly going to be a very special concert, so make a note of the details now: Saturday 7th May, 7.30pm, St Mary’s Church, Bridgwater.
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