Saturday, May 24, 2014

Mass of the Children concert on 26 July 2014

The first concert in the Choir’s post-150th anniversary year is to be held in the winter at Knox Church on Saturday 26 July 2014. Entitled “Mass of the Children”, this concert will include works by twentieth century composers: John Rutter, Benjamin Britten and New Zealander David Hamilton. The Southern Sinfonia will accompany the Choir, Columba College Choir will provide children’s voices and young voice students will be given the opportunity to perform in public with a massed choir and professional orchestra.

Mass of the Children is, unquestionably, John Rutter's most magnificent, powerful and emotional composition. Described as “absolutely breathtaking”, it is Rutter at his best. It has the added beautiful element of a children's chorus and the exquisite blending of children and adult voices in Rutter's wonderful mesmerizing writing. Composed in 2003, two years after the tragic death of his young son, and thought to be Rutter’s way of paying tribute to his son, this work is full of promise. It is exciting and engaging. The soaring vocal lines of the combined choirs in the final movement are positively chilling!

Benjamin Britten's Rejoice in the Lamb, or Festival Cantata, written sixty years before Mass of the Children, uses the imaginative and charming text from Christopher Smart’s poem Jubilate Agno (Rejoice in the Lamb). Depicting praise and worship of God by all beings and things, firstly a cat, then a mouse, then flowers, each in their own way, it erupts into a festive and jubilant climax.

In keeping with the Choir’s policy of showcasing New Zealand compositions as much as possible, City Choir includes contemporary New Zealand compositions by David Hamilton. Dance-Song to the Creator is a lively work for three choirs (City Choir will divide into three) with piano duet and percussion accompaniment. His Three Spirituals, consisting of the songs Whosoever Will, In the Garden, and Walk You in the Light, is also on offer. Hamilton’s compositions are sung by choirs throughout New Zealand and it is timely City Choir performs him again.

These works will combine to create a musical pallet which will be contemporary, dramatic and romantic.


The staff of the University of Otago's Department of Music assists City Choir to determine the most appropriate students to contract for this concert. The involvement of the university staff, not only in the selection of suitable soloists, but also in assisting the students to prepare our repertoire, is beneficial for all parties. Every music student needs public experiences if they are to forge a career on the performance stage and City Choir is delighted to provide such opportunities again this year.

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