OUR CHOSEN WORK FOR THIS SEASON IS ROSSINI’S PETITE MESSE SOLENNELLE
After the pandemic-related difficulties of 2020 and 2021, Oxford Orpheus looks forward to a full return to our familiar formula this season – with a Choral Workshop on 19th November 2022 and a full Workshop & Concert Day on 4th February 2023. Our Creative Director Robert Dean describes the chosen work for this season, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle:
The first thing to say about this marvellous work is that it is the composer’s ironic description of a Mass setting that is neither petite nor solennelle (solemn). Gioachino Rossini (1792 – 1868) described it as “the last sin of my old age”.
Written long after his opera buffa years and 34 years after he had completed his final opera William Tell and gone into artistic retirement, this piece saw the light of day in 1863. By then he was a famous celebrity living in Paris and the initial version was for salon rather than liturgical performance – involving 12 singers, 2 pianos and harmonium. In 1868 Rossini orchestrated it for fear of someone else doing it after his death and it is this comparatively rarely heard version we shall perform next February.
It is a wonderfully joyous outpouring of faith in a setting that lasts nearly 90 minutes. We previously performed it in this version in 2011 – and have had many requests for a repeat. For those of you who don’t know the piece, you will be surprised by Rossini’s fresh take on the Solemn Mass comprising memorable tunes, ingenious fugues and in the Agnus Dei, a moment of profundity and heartfelt emotion. It is one of my favourite pieces having conducted it more than any other choral work and I am looking forward to sharing my experience of it with you in workshop and performance.
So indulge yourself with a thrilling choral experience on one or both of two intensive and stimulating workshop days – the second of which ends with an exhilarating full concert performance with orchestra and professional soloists. Experience the thrill of rehearsing and performing with one of the UK’s leading vocal coaches!
For information on the agenda and logistics of the two days, click on the relevant link at the top left of this page. Membership for 19th November costs £22.50; and £27.50 for 4th February. To Register on Eventbrite, click on the links below: