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MUSIC: BOOK NOW! Sydney Philharmonia Choirs – St Cecilia, the patron saint of music

November 2, 2009toNovember 22, 2009

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Sydney Philharmonia serves us choral feast for St. Cecilia Patron Saint of music

  • Friday 20 November, 7pm &
  • Sunday 22 November, 2pm
  • City Recital Hall Angel Place

Countless composers have penned homages to St Cecilia, the patron saint of music, across the centuries and Sydney Philharmonia Choirs will present some of the most revered examples in a new concert coinciding with St Cecilia’s Day.

St Cecilia will feature landmark works from Benjamin Britten, Henry Purcell and Ralph Vaughan Williams, along with the Australian premiere of Gabriel Jackson’s Cecilia Virgo at City Recital Hall Angel Place on Friday 20 November and Sunday 22 November, the traditional feast day for St Cecilia celebrated by the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches.

Jackson’s setting of an anonymous 16th century text was commissioned by the BBC and first performed by the BBC Singers at Canterbury Cathedral in October 2000.
“Cecilia Virgo shows a fondness for the multi-voice polyphony of Tudor church music and it’s quite a privilege to perform the piece to Australian audiences for the first time alongside classics from Britten, Purcell and Vaughan Williams,” said Artistic & Musical Director, Brett Weymark.

Born on St Cecilia’s Day in 1913, Britten was perhaps destined to compose A Hymn to St Cecilia, a choral work with considerable technical demands and complexities of meaning. His tour de force will be performed by Sydney Philharmonia together with Vaughan Williams’ A Serenade to Music, an altogether different piece in praise of music.

Drawing on one of Shakespeare’s most notable texts about music – Lorenzo’s speech in Portia’s garden in The Merchant of Venice – Vaughan Williams created a masterpiece of shifting moods and harmonies.

St Cecilia will climax with Hail! Bright Cecilia, the most famous of Purcell’s several works dedicated to the patron saint.
Composed in 1692, the piece contains a number of astonishing compositional devices and beautiful vocal parts to be performed by Sydney Philharmonia’s favourite soloists Sara Macliver, Fiona Campbell, Victoria Lambourn, Paul McMahon, Richard Alexander and Morgan Pease. “St Cecilia provides a fascinating opportunity to see and hear how different composers from different eras immortalise the patron saint of music,” said Weymark.

Also featuring Peter Phillips’ Cecilia Virgo, the concert will feature the Sydney Philharmonia Chamber Singers and Chamber Orchestra.
ST CECILIA
Friday 20 November, 7pm & Sunday 22 November, 2pm
City Recital Hall Angel Place
For tickets to St Cecilia phone (02) 9251 3115 or visit www.sydneyphilharmonia.com.au

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