‘For the love of God’ – A Musical Extravaganza

Members and friends of Downing Place U.R.C.
present a charity fund-raising musical extravaganza entitled
For the Love of God . . . .
4.00pm – 5:15pm, Saturday February 15th
(the day after Valentine’s Day)
in Emmanuel U.R.C., Trumpington St., Cambridge
followed by a finger-food and drinks reception.

Ian de Massini, joint Director of Music of D.P.U.R.C., writes: Soon we’ll be leaving these much-loved premises of Emmanuel United Reformed Church in Cambridge, a building with one of the finest acoustics, and warm, welcoming ambience, in the city. And even sooner, one of our two very musical ministers will be leaving us for new pastures. So I thought it would be good to make full use of this opportunity, whilst we are all still worshipping inside this beautiful church, and bring together the rich panoply of all those musicians within our membership, together with musical groups who regularly provide liturgical music for our acts of worship here, and put on a family-orientated Musical Extravaganza, with free admission, followed by a retiring collection in aid of local charities. It’ll be on the day after Valentine’s Day, and so it seems natural to theme the whole event around the subject of ‘love’, in both its sacred, and secular, manifestations; hence the title, For the Love of God . . . .
Our minister, John Bradbury, will play some dazzling Liszt on our fine piano, a work inspired by a Love Sonnet written in the 14th century by Petrarch.
John will then be joined by our other minister, Nigel Uden, and together they will play, as a piano duet, the instantly recognisable theme-tune to Listen with Mother, otherwise known as the Berceuse (Cradle Song) from Fauré’s Dolly Suite.
Pippa Jones, an Elder of our church, and an outstanding cello-player, will be accompanied by my fellow Director of Music, Mark Dawes, when she performs the wistfully haunting theme-music to the millennial film starring Juliet Stephenson and Alan Rickman, Truly, madly, deeply; it is, in fact, the slow movement from one of Bach’s majestic Sonatas for Viola da Gamba and keyboard.
Our own Church Choir, conducted by Mark Dawes, will perform two anthems, one by Thomas Tallis (If ye love me), and one by the former Director of Music at Worcester Cathedral, Peter Nardone (A new commandment I give unto you).
My choir, Cambridge Voices, will present a hugely varied sequence of settings of words taken from King Solomon’s Song of Songs, with works by Orlando Gibbons, Palestrina, the Swiss contemporary composer Carl Rütti, and two works written by me, Ian de Massini. There’ll also be fun music by George Gershwin, and a beguiling setting of George Herbert’s poem, Love bade me welcome, composed by the current Master of the Queen’s Music, Judith Weir, CBE.
Accompanied by Nigel Uden, I will sing some songs by Schumann and Brahms on the subject of Eternal love.
And the whole show will be compered by our own, inimitable, Jane Bower, who will interleave these musical items with thought-provoking words from the Bible, from John Donne, and from Oscar Wilde’s play, Salomé. And rumour has it that she might even entertain us with a song about two very noisy cats!
I do hope you’ll reserve this date in your diary. I’ve chosen the music specially so that children of all ages would feel very welcome to attend. And, together, the two choirs will provide finger-food and drinks for a relaxing post-concert reception, to which all the audience and artists are invited, after the concert, in the church hall. And there’ll be the opportunity, as you leave the concert, to give money to go to ’Petals’, a charity based at the Rosie Maternity Hospital, Addenbrooke’s.
This will be a great festive occasion, suitable for the whole family.