A Concert of Choral Music for Good Friday, 19 April at 4pm AT ST COLUMBA’S CHURCH

Cambridge Voices’ concert on Good Friday, 4 – 5pm, in St Columba’s Church.

IAN DE MASSINI writes: As I fast approach my 60th birthday, I’ve become increasingly aware of the fact that the vast majority of composers whose compositions and musical-arrangements I hold close to my heart had all written their beautiful music, and had died, by the age of 60. This thought, far from morbid, has been inspirational and uplifting for me, in that it’s galvanised me into focussing all my musical energies into the completion of my unfinished compositions and musical projects, and to write my seminal works whilst my musical powers and physical energy are at their zenith. One of my 60th birthday projects has already become fruitful in that I’ve already contacted all the composers with whom I’ve worked in the past, asking them if they might consider writing a new composition for my choir, Cambridge Voices (with whom I now sing and direct), in honour of my 60th birthday, so leaving a rich musical heritage that I can pass on to future generations. The result, so far, is already a string of fascinatingly diverse choral compositions and musical-arrangements, from Norway, France, Switzerland, and Great Britain, alongside invitations to perform these new works in Paris, Apt Cathedral and Lumières Church in Provence, Trinity College Chapel (Cambridge), and Ely Cathedral.

We’re going to officially launch this series of 60th birthday concerts of sacred choral music on Good Friday, April 19th, from 4:00pm till 5:15pm, here in St Columba’s Church, where I’ve been organist since 2007, and where Cambridge Voices has had its home for over 12 years. Indeed, this concert will be the choir’s very final presence in this current building, before the membership of our united congregations move over to our sister church, on Trumpington Street. I very much hope that Cambridge Voices will be invited to move with us, over to Emmanuel URC, so ensuring their continued existence within our worshipping community.

So, on Good Friday, you’ll hear choral music that traces a path from Lent through to Holy Saturday, via Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday. Music will include no less than 14 first performances, including a choral version of a magnificent Bb minor Prelude from Bach’s 48 Preludes & Fugues, Purcell’s complete Funeral Music for Queen Mary in a version for unaccompanied choir, Rachmaninov’s ravishing Vocalise, plus stunning music from 15th-C. England (Cornyshe), 16th-C. Flanders (De Wert), 18th-C. Spain (Astorga), 19th-C. Italy (Puccini), 20th-C. USA (Gershwin) and Hungary (Ligeti), and 21st-C. Norway (Takle). There’s FREE ADMISSION to the concert, followed by a voluntary retiring collection, in aid of the choir’s expenses (photocopying the commissioned music, and travel costs for their forthcoming French tour).