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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

King's College Cambridge - Easter at King's

A rather amazing assortment of music at King's College Cambridge--imagine doing this repertoire (for the choir) in the space of about four days!

From the press release:

The seasonal Cambridge centrepiece, widely broadcast, has been given a makeover this year by music director Stephen Cleobury.

The big event is Golgoatha by the Swiss composer Frank Martin. Petris Vasks, the Latvian, gets a big look-in and Prime Brass will bow out the festival with anticipations of the royal wedding.

Now in its seventh year, Easter at King's has forged an enviable reputation for presenting traditional and innovative repertoire for Passiontide and Easter.  It offers a varied feast of services and concerts that illustrate, contemplate and celebrate the Holy Week and Easter narrative. In most years, BBC Radio 3 has broadcast from the Festival to listeners all over the world. 

The climax of this year's festival is on Good Friday, 22 April, with a rare opportunity to hear Frank Martin's epic oratorio, Gologtha, which will be broadcast live on Radio 3.  Martin wrote some of the most poignant sacred music of the 20th century. Golgotha (1948), written when the composer was at the height of his powers, is a personal response to the desolation of war-torn Europe. The awe-inspiring space of King's College Chapel, combined with the drama and sheer scale of Martin's work, will make the evening a rewarding musical and spiritual experience.

Easter at King's opens on Tuesday 19 April with a performance of Bach's St John Passion. The Choir of King's College Cambridge and Academy of Ancient Music combine forces again and the strong cast of soloists includes King's alumnus and Cambridge local Andrew Kennedy as the Evangelist, and former Cambridge student, Elin Manahan Thomas returns to sing soprano. There is an additional opportunity to enjoy this performance in London, at the Cadogan Hall on April 20th.

Chamber Music for Maundy Thursday, on 21 April, offers a chance for reflection and contemplation. The concert will take place at the east end of the Chapel by candlelight. The trio of top young artists, including Cambridge favourite and former King's chorister, Guy Johnston, will perform Vask's extraordinary allegorical work, Episodi e Canto perpetuo framed by works by Beethoven and Fauré.

Pergolesi's masterpiece, Stabat Mater, combines with Bach for the Easter Vigil programme on 23 April. The work conveys, with great beauty, deep and heart-rending compassion for Mary's suffering during the events of Good Friday. Bach's powerful Cantata Christ lag in Todesbanden was written for Easter and takes us from the crucifixion to the resurrection, whilst another work by Bach, the Fourth Brandenburg Concerto prefigures the celebratory theme of Easter Sunday. These three works provide the perfect mix of celebration and contemplation for a concert set at the heart of the Easter weekend.

Daniel Hyde, a former Organ Scholar at King's College, will give an organ recital on Monday 25 April, which concludes our Easter celebrations. However, we will be celebrating the Royal Wedding in style the following Saturday with a brass concert given by Prime Brass. The concert programme features some great British music, including William Walton's majestic Crown Imperial.

Throughout, the powerful and moving Chapel liturgies are fundamental to the series and are sung by the Chapel Choir.  Good Friday is an excellent day to visit Cambridge with Allegri's famous Miserere mei Deus sung in the morning and the Lamentations of Jeremiah of Thomas Tallis at evensong. Alternatively, why not come to the concerts on Easter Eve and then stay the night so that you can also enjoy the services on Easter Sunday itself?

We are taking the Festival outside King's Chapel and into Cambridge for the first time in 2011. To celebrate the 400th anniversary of the death of Victoria, the extraordinarily powerful Tenebrae Responsories will be performed in three late night services in three different Cambridge College Chapels. The climax of the three will be in King's Chapel on April 23rd.

Easter at King's Schedule

Tuesday 19 April
Bach St John Passion

Maundy Thursday 21 April
5.30pm Sung Eucharist and Stripping of the Altar
8.00pm Concert:
Chamber Music for Maundy Thursday
9.30pm Victoria Tenebrae Responsories Clare College Chapel

 Good Friday 22 April
10.30am Ante-Communion and Veneration of the Cross
5.00pm Choral Evensong
6.55pm Concert:
Frank Martin Golgotha
9.30pm Victoria Tenebrae Responsories  Corpus Christi College Chapel

Holy Saturday 23 April
7.00pm Concert:
Pergolesi Stabat Mater
Bach Brandenburg Concerto No. 4
9.30pm Victoria Tenebrae Responsories

Easter Day Sunday 24 April
10.30am Sung Eucharist
3.30pm Festal Evensong

Easter Monday 25 April
4.00pm Concert
Daniel Hyde Organ Recital

Saturday 30 April
6.30pm Concert:
Prime Brass
Music for Easter ...and a Royal Wedding

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