Hear Puccini’s delightful mass at remembrance concert in Haywards Heath

For nearly twenty years the Mid-Sussex Remembrance Concert has been promoted by Ardingly Choral Society.

This year it will take place in the Dolphin Centre, Haywards Heath, on Sunday, November 8, at 7.30pm in conjunction with Ardingly Prep School Choir and Mid-Sussex Sinfonia.

The soloists will be tenor Lawrence Olsworth-Peter, Baritone Mike Christie and soprano Olivia Bell.

All have strong associations with the area and may well be known to many in West Sussex.

The major work of the evening will be Puccini’s delightful but vigorous Messa di Gloria.

This setting of the mass explores all the most rewarding choral styles of the early 20th century (Puccini wrote the Messa di Gloria while still a student aged 18) and also displays both the tenor and baritone soloists in what was to become Puccini’s extraordinarily brilliant operatic technique.

The concert always starts with Robert Hammersley’s moving Remembrance in which the children’s choir plays an emotionally powerful role.

Robert will, as usual, conduct the concert, which then features the children (under their director Stephen Smith) in a selection of varied songs.

This is followed by Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, Slow Movement, to which Robert has added Siegfried Sassoon’s uplifting poem Everyone Sang. The choral version of those words fits the mood of Beethoven’s slow movement very closely, reflecting Sassoon’s relief at the passing of the terror of fighting in the trenches that he faced in the First World War.

There follows Panis Angelicus in which all the choral forces will perform and, after that, Verdi’s exuberant Brindisi to lift everyone’s spirits for a combined performance of Parry’s Jerusalem to round off the first part of the concert before the performance of Puccini’s Gloria.

Tickets for the performance cost £14 (concessions £12) and are available from Carousel Music, Commercial Square, Haywards Heath (01444 417654), from Michael Kershaw (01825 791241) and on the door.

Visit www.ardinglychoralsociety.org.uk to find out more about the society and see all the upcoming concerts.

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