Fauré, V Williams and Hussey – HCS Concert 21 May 2022
HCS’s Spring concert presents an enduring French choral favourite together with English song settings of celebrated poems by the seventeenth century Anglican priest George Herbert – including a new commission by HCS, and a piece in anticipation of the upcoming 150th anniversary of Vaughan Williams’ birth.
Gabriel Fauré’s famous Requiem in D minor, opus 48, was composed mainly between 1887 and 1890 as a setting of the shortened Catholic Mass for the Dead. The work, which focuses on eternal rest and consolation, is in seven movements and scored for soprano and baritone soloists, mixed choir, orchestra and organ. The Requiem was first performed in 1888 at La Madeleine in Paris, with the composer himself conducting. Fauré later revised and expanded the work, reworking it for full orchestra. In 1924 the Requiem was performed at Fauré’s own funeral in its full orchestral version. HCS will perform the version with organ accompaniment.
The English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams wrote his Five Mystical Songs between 1906 and 1911. The piece sets spiritually-themed poems by George Herbert and was first performed in 1911 at the Three Choirs Festival in Worcester, with the composer himself conducting. The Five Mystical Songs will be performed by HCS in the version for baritone soloist with choir and organ.
Songs from The Temple by Christopher Hussey is a new work commissioned by HCS and receiving its world première performance. The piece sets three poems by George Herbert – The Dawning, Love, and The Star – and is scored for solo voices, mixed choir and organ.
The programme also includes George Herbert’s metrical psalm The Lord is my Shepherd, set to the third psalm tune of the sixteenth century English composer Thomas Tallis and scored for mixed choir; as well as poems by Herbert set by the twentieth century English composers Eric Thiman and Michael Head for soprano and baritone soloists.