For its first concert of the season, London Concert Choir returns to the Musician’s Church of St Sepulchre-without-Newgate.
Having composed 36 operas by the age of 37, Rossini wrote almost nothing until at the age of 55 he settled in Paris and produced a number of pieces that he famously described as the ‘sins of his old age’. Among them was the Petite Messe Solennelle of 1863, which is not unduly solemn and only ‘little’ in an affectionate sense. Scored for harmonium and piano accompaniment for performance in a private chapel, the Mass encompasses a wide variety of styles from operatic arias to intricate choral fugues.
The concert opens with a radiant Mass based on a hymn to the Virgin Mary by the Spanish Renaissance master Tomás Luis de Victoria, in which the choir is divided into eight parts. With its rich harmonies the music bears out King John IV of Portugal’s comment on Victoria’s ‘naturally sunny disposition’.