Edward Elgar - Spirit of England
Joseph Haydn - Mass in Time of War
Gerald Finzi - Farewell to Arms

Programme:

Joseph Haydn - Mass in the Time of War, Edward Elgar - Spirit of England, Gerald Finzi - Farewell to Arms

Date:

Saturday 4th November 2017, 7.30pm

(doors open 6.45pm)

Venue:

Lincoln Cathedral

Lincolnshire Chamber Orchestra

Conductor: Mark Wilde

Leader: Caroline Siriwardena

Soloists:

Soprano - Kimberley Raw

Mezzo - Louisa Baker

Tenor - Guy Withers

Bass - Ossian Huskinson

Tickets:

£8, £12, £16, £20

Available from early September from Lincoln Cathedral Shop: 01522 561644
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Mass in Time of War
'Missa in tempore belli' is a setting of the Mass, by Joseph Haydn. It is one of the most popular of his fourteen mass settings.
Haydn composed this mass at Eisenstadt in August 1796, at the time of Austria’s general mobilisation into war. Four years into the European war that followed the French Revolution, Austrian troops were doing badly against the French in Italy and Germany, and Austria feared invasion. Reflecting the troubled mood of his time, Haydn’s potent integration of references to battle in the Benedictus and Agnus Dei movements is inspired.
The Mass was first performed on December 26, 1796, in the Piarist Church of Maria Treu in Vienna.

In a final flowering of his genius, Haydn completed six magnificent masses. Missa in Tempore Belli was performed at the Bergkirche, at Eisenstadt on September 29, 1797. Haydn also composed his oratorio The Creation around the same time and the two great works share some of his signature vitality and tone-painting.
'Missa in tempore belli' has been long thought to express an anti-war sentiment, even though there is no explicit message in the text itself, and no clear indication from Haydn that this was his intention. What is found in the score is a very unsettled nature to the music, not normally associated with Haydn, which has led scholars to the conclusion that it is anti-war in nature -especially noticable in the Benedictus and Agnus Dei. However, most of the mass is of a lyrically joyful nature.

The vocal parts of the mass are performed by four soloists (soprano, alto, tenor and bass) and a four-part choir. The soloists often appear as an ensemble, without arias. Haydn scored the mass for a large orchestra.
The 'In Tempore Belli' first suggests itself in the Benedictus. The sense of anxiety and foreboding continues with ominous drumbeats and wind fanfares in the Agnus Dei, which opens with timpani strokes, perhaps fate itself, knocking seemingly from the depths. The music brightens with trumpet fanfares, ending with an almost dance-like celebration of peace, "Dona nobis pacem" (Give us peace).


Spirit of England
'Spirit of England', is a work for chorus, orchestra, and soprano/tenor soloist in three movements composed by Edward Elgar between 1915 and 1917. It uses as its text three poems from Laurence Binyon's 1914 anthology of poems 'The Winnowing Fan'. The work acts as a requiem for the dead of World War I and is dedicated 'to the memory of our glorious men, with a special thought for the Worcesters'.
The first of Binyon's poems used by Elgar was published within a week of Britain's entry into the war. Its title, 'The Fourth of August', marks the date of the declaration of war on Germany. The second, 'To Women', and the third, 'For the Fallen', were written before the end of 1914, after British troops had suffered the first of many great losses during the conflict.
Elgar conducted the second and third sections in Leeds in 1916, but the complete work was first performed in Birmingham on 4 October 1917, by the soprano Rosina Buckman, with Appleby Matthews conducting his choir and the New Beecham Orchestra.
An anonymous contemporary reviewer (1917) in The Times wrote that Elgar's new work 'contains some of his most vigorous and inspiring, if not some of his most inspired work.'


Farewell To Arms
Gerald Finzi's 'Farewell to Arms' is an Introduction and Aria for tenor and strings. The piece displays Finzi's enthusiam for 17th century poets as well as the steady, inevitable tramp of time and is symbolised by the tenor's sad, arching melody. The text is based on poems by Ralph Knevet and George Peel.

The helmet now an hive for bees becomes,
And hilts of swords may serve for spiders' looms;
Sharp pikes may make
Teeth for a rake;
And the keen blade, th'arch enemy of life,
Shall be degraded to a pruning knife.
The rustic spade
Which first was made
For honest agriculture, shall retake
Its primitive employment, and forsake
The rampires steep
And trenches deep.
Tame conies in our brazen guns shall breed,
Or gentle doves their young ones there shall feed.
In musket barrels
Mice shall raise quarrels
For their quarters. The ventriloquious drum,
Like lawyers in vacations, shall be dumb.
Now all recruits,
But those of fruits,
Shall be forgot; and th'unarmed soldier
Shall only boast of what he did whilere,
In chimney's ends
Among his friends.

His golden locks Time hath to silver turned.
O Time too swift! Oh swiftness never ceasing!
His youth 'gainst Time and Age hath ever spurned,
But spurned in vain; youth waneth by increasing.
Beauty, strength, youth are flowers but fading seen;
Duty, faith, love are roots and ever green.

His helmet now shall make a hive for bees,
And lover's sonnets turn to holy psalms.
A man-at-arms must now serve on his knees,
And feed on prayers which are Age's alms.
But though from Court to cottage he depart,
His Saint is sure of his unspotted heart.

And when he saddest sits in homely cell,
He'll teach his swains this carol for a song:
Blest be the hearts that wish my Sovereign well.
Curst be the soul that think her any wrong.
Goddess, allow this aged man his right
To be your bedesman now that was your knight.



Future events include the following -further details will be added as they become available.

  • November 4th 2017: Elgar -Spirit of England, Haydn -Mass in Time of War
  • Saturday 16th December 2017: Christmas Carol Workshop and Concert
  • March 24th 2018: Bach: St Matthew Passion. This will be performed with Lincoln Cathedral choir.
  • Saturday 3rd November 2018: Britten's War Requiem. This will be performed with Grimsby and Scunthorpe choirs, Louth Choral Society, Gainsborough Choral Society, Lincoln Cathedral Choristers and hopefully Neustadt Liedertafel
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