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An evening of beautiful melodies and unbridled happiness!

Saturday 10th September, 2016

Truro Cathedral 7.30pm Saturday November 26th 2016

MENDELSSOHN Choral Symphony ("Lobgesang")

FINZI - God is gone up

ELGAR - Give unto the Lord

TCHAIKOVSKY - Rococo Variations

Chris Gray writes: What is Mendelssohn's Lobgesang? It is also known as Hymn of Praise, but the work was actually catalogued, after Mendelssohn's death, as his Symphony No 2. I'm not sure it is right to think of it as a symphony. Nor, for me, are comparisons with Beethoven Nine (the Choral Symphony) particularly helpful - the Mendelssohn, from 1840, surely has an awareness of the Beethoven which was composed just 16 years earlier; but the purely orchestral section of Beethoven Nine is much more substantial and intense a journey, with the voices entering late on to crown the rest of the work. The Mendelssohn, in contrast, is really two separate, more straight-forward works with some thematic overlapping, and there is much less of a feel of one organic whole. I feel we should take the Ronseal approach and respect what Mendelssohn wrote on the tin: "Symphony-cantata". What the music does contain is melodies: lots of beautiful melodies. And sunshine: unashamedly positive, unbridled happiness.

Lobgesang was written to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the invention of the printing press. After the orchestra plays its 25 minute Sinfonia, the choir enters, ecstatically singing "Everything that has breath praise the Lord", a line that returns to close the work. Along the way, you will hear the exquisite soprano duet "I waited for the Lord", and the hymn still widely used today in the harmonisation from Mendelssohn's Lobgesang, "Now thank we all our God" ("Nun danket alle Gott").

I am especially looking forward to welcoming back two soloists who have appeared with us in the past: soprano Rebecca Bottone and tenor David Webb.

The first half of the concert features three shorter works. We will raise the curtain with Gerald Finzi's boisterous anthem God is gone up and we go into the interval with one of Elgar's large-scale anthems, Give unto the Lord, which is complete with all the expansive tunes you might expect. The filling in the sandwich is Tchaikovsky's Rococo Variations from 1876. Barbara Degener is one of the linchpins of our orchestra and will take the solo part in this mini cello concerto. Tchaikovsky captures the spirit of the mid-18th century Rococo period which, in music, sits between the Baroque and Classical eras. This is not pastiche writing, but rather evokes aspects of an elegant, ornate bygone world.

Truro Cathedral 7.30pm Saturday December 10th 2016

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