War and Peace theme for Lea Singers at St Nicholas Church, Harpenden

War and Peace

War and Peace - Credit: Archant

A CONCERT on a War and Peace theme is being performed by The Lea Singers at St Nicholas Church in Harpenden next Saturday, March 16.

The concert, which starts at 7.30pm, features two great choral works – Haydn’s Nelson Mass and the Duruflé Requiem.

Haydn’s Nelson Mass is sub-titled Missa in Angustiis – mass for troubled times. It was written in 1798, when Haydn’s native Austria was at war with Napoleon’s France. While at times it captures the menace of war, it also contains moments of celebration.

Days before its first performance, news reached Vienna of Admiral Nelson’s great naval victory over the French fleet in the Battle of the Nile. When Nelson visited Austria two years later, the Mass was performed especially for him and thereby acquired its more familiar nickname.

The Duruflé Requiem is not without its fearful moments but its overall atmosphere is one of peace. It was composed in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War but draws heavily on the tradition of medieval plainchant.


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War and Peace marks the first collaboration between The Lea Singers and The Solis Ensemble, a new chamber orchestra founded in Oxford by Lea Singers conductor Benjamin Goodson.

Choir and orchestra will be joined by award-winning soloists Helen Neeves, Catherine Hopper, Simon Wall and Marcus Farnsworth.

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Commenting on his first orchestral concert with The Lea Singers, conductor Benjamin Goodson said: “Our War and Peace theme contrasts high drama, agony and ecstasy in Haydn’s Nelson Mass with contemplation, stillness and comfort in the Duruflé Requiem.

“I am delighted to bring together The Lea Singers, The Solis Ensemble and wonderful soloists to perform these two great choral masterpieces.”

Tickets are £13 with concessions £12 and under-18s £10, available in advance from Fran Brown on 01582 793845, from Rollings Wine Company in Station Road and Stage Door in Southdown or online from leasingers.co.uk

n The Lea Singers are a Harpenden-based chamber choir, whose annual programme includes concerts in Hertfordshire and beyond. The choir is always interested to hear from singers interested in auditioning and has an interns scheme to help talented young local singers build their choral experience. For more details contact chair@leasingers.co.uk.

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