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Newbury Choral Society

  • St Nicholas Church W Mills Newbury, England, RG14 United Kingdom (map)

Conductor Cathal Garvey
Tenor David Butt Philip
Baritone Ashley Riches
Newbury Choral Society


Parry Blest Pair of Sirens
Mozart Symphony no. 40
Puccini Messa di Gloria

Puccini needs no introduction as the composer of some of the most popular operas ever written. His Messa di Gloria, a setting of the full Catholic Mass, has all the intensity, passion and rich musical texture that are the hallmarks of his later operas.

Composed as his graduation exercise from the Istituto Musicale Pacini in Lucca where he was born, the piece was first performed in 1880. It did not see the light of day again for more than seventy years, during which time Puccini made his name with his better-known operas.  If you are familiar with them, you will recognise some themes in the Messa di Gloria; even if you are not, you cannot fail to be moved by the sheer power of its drama.

In Victorian England, in the same decade as Puccini’s graduation, Sir Charles Hubert Parry wrote his Blest Pair of Sirens for Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887. In contrast to Puccini’s Mass, this late-Romantic piece with its broad, sweeping orchestral score and rousing choruses became an overnight sensation. It was so rewarding to sing, and so well received when we performed it in Douai with organ and string quartet in March, that we couldn’t resist the opportunity to sing it again with a full orchestra. The ‘excellent’ (Newbury Weekly News) Covent Garden Chamber Orchestra will also perform Mozart’s famous Symphony No. 40, a work that seems at once familiar and enigmatic.

Our soloists will be tenor David Butt Philip and baritone Ashley Riches, recognisable to NCS regulars for his captivating performances in Vaughan Williams’ A Sea Symphony and Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus.

Earlier Event: June 7
Music Inspired by the Countryside
Later Event: September 20
The Toy Shop: Shostakovich 15