03 July 2018
Fifty members of the Chorus are busy preparing to join with French choirs L’ensemble Vocal de Périgueux and L’ensemble vocal Arnault de Mareuil, to sing ‘Le Messe de la Délivrance ‘ by François-Clément Théodore Dubois, a piece commissioned to commemorate WW1, in the Cathedral at Perigueux on Sunday 15 July 2018. Performed for the first time in 1919 in the city of Orléans, the Messe de la Délivrance celebrates the return to peace after the retreat of German troops from France at the end of World War I. It is also an ode to Joan of Arc, who delivered Orléans and was canonized in 1915.
The five day trip, organised by bass Matthew Morgan, also involves two concerts given by the Chorus on their own, singing works by Parry, Stanford and Tippett, Arvo Part, Rachmaninoff, Esenvalds and Saint-Saens. Conductor Darius Battiwalla has willingly agreed to play in these two concerts, attracted by the organs in the churches concerned, L’Eglise de Excideuil and St Astier, both in the Dordogne region of France. ‘Everyone is excited about this mini tour, our first venture abroad for quite some time’ said Matthew, ‘The French choirs are really thrilled that we are joining them to sing in this special concert to commemorate WW1, and tickets for our own concerts are selling well.’
The Chorus have been rehearsing every Tuesday since their season ended with the fabulous Rossini concert in the City Hall ballroom early in June – including a penultimate rehearsal on Tuesday 3 July, testing loyalties to the full given the clash with a certain football match that evening!