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London Concert Choir - Vivaldi & Bach

Content by Eleanor Cowie London Concert Choir

This Christmas concert of Baroque favourites begins with the Gloria, the hymn of praise and worship from the Mass, which Vivaldi composed in about 1715 for the girls of a Venetian orphanage.

Since its formation in 1960 London Concert Choir has become one of London’s leading amateur choirs, distinguished by its conviction and expressiveness in an unusually broad repertoire. With Music Director Mark Forkgen LCC regularly appears at London’s premier concert venues and in cathedrals and churches in and around the capital as well as touring abroad.

In 2014 the choir performed Haydn’s oratorio The Seasons in Assisi and in 2011 joined with the Augsburg Basilica Choir to perform Verdi’s Requiem in the Royal Festival Hall and to take part in the Augsburg Peace Festival.

LCC celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2010 with two performances of Britten’s War Requiem. Among other major works in recent seasons have been Mozart’s Requiem with the London Mozart Players, Rachmaninov’s choral symphony The Bells with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius, Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony, all with Southbank Sinfonia. The Sea Symphony was the main work in a Battle of Jutland centenary concert in 2016 to support maritime charities.

Performances with the Counterpoint ensemble include Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s St Matthew Passion and Christmas Oratorio, Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 and Schubert’s rarely-heard Mass in E flat. Operas in concert performance have ranged from Gluck’s Orfeo to Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess and the London premiere of The Chalk Legend by Stephen McNeff. LCC has also performed Ellington’s Sacred Concert, Will Todd’s Mass in Blue and a concert celebrating Leonard Bernstein’s centenary.

The choir often gives concerts for charity and continues to commission new works. Last season these were A Light not yet Ready to Go Out by Alison Willis, in aid of Breast Cancer Now, and Per Ardua ad Astra, a major work by the baritone Roderick Williams to celebrate the centenary of the RAF.

Mark Forkgen, who recently celebrated 20 years as London Concert Choir’s Music Director, is also Music Director of Canticum chamber choir, Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor of Kokoro (the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s New Music Group) and Director of Music at Tonbridge School.

The Counterpoint ensemble, formed in 2000 to work with vocal groups, includes the leading young period instrument specialists working in London.

This Christmas concert of Baroque favourites begins with the Gloria, the hymn of praise and worship from the Mass, which Vivaldi composed in about 1715 for the girls of a Venetian orphanage. The score of the Gloria was lost for two centuries and only came to light in the 1920s, but it has since become Vivaldi’s best-known choral work, as its radiant nature, distinctive melodies and rhythms give it an immediate appeal.

In Bach’s splendid large-scale festive setting of the Latin Magnificat, the song of the Virgin Mary, jubilant and impressive choruses are interspersed with reflective solos. It was first performed on Christmas Day, 1723 – Bach’s first Christmas in Leipzig – and revised about ten years later. His third orchestral suite includes an overture and cheerful dances in the French style surrounding the serene slow movement, popularised as ‘Air on the G String’.

A collection will be held in aid of Youth Music, a national charity investing in music-making projects for children and young people.

Vivaldi: Gloria
Bach: Orchestral Suite No. 3
Bach: Magnificat

London Concert Choir
Counterpoint Ensemble
Mark Forkgen conductor

Rachel Elliott and Raphaela Papadakis sopranos
Mark Chambers countertenor
Nathan Vale tenor
Laurence Williams bass

London Concert Choir - Vivaldi & Bach

Thursday 13 December 7.30pm

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