ALBUQUERQUE ― The New Mexico Symphonic Chorus will present intricate and wondrous works by two of England’s most highly respected composers, Vaughan Williams and Benjamin Britten, at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 26 at the First United Methodist Church in Albuquerque.
The first half of the concert will feature Vaughan Williams’ Mass in G minor, which was composed in 1921 and is known as the first mass written in a distinctively British manner since the 16th century. Sung at the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in Westminster Abbey, this piece will be a joy to hear with its complex and astounding harmonics.
Also on the program is Britten’s Hymn to St. Cecilia, which he completed in 1942 during a transatlantic crossing from the U.S. to England during World War II. St. Cecilia is the patron saint of music, and Britten was born on Nov. 22, 1913, the feast day of St. Cecilia. In this hymn, Britten sets a W.H. Auden poem to beautiful and stirring choral music.
Completing the concert will be Britten’s imaginative Festival Te Deum, composed in 1944 for the centenary of St. Mark’s Church in Swindon, England. This sacred choral work combines elements of Gregorian chant with demanding and dramatic organ passages.
Chorus music director Roger Melone will conduct the Feb. 26 concert, and Maribeth Gunning will play the spectacular Holtkamp organ.
“Our February concert will offer an enthralling combination of works by two of England’s greatest composers,” Melone said. “I look forward to our talented Chorus members showcasing their musical talents with these very special 20th century pieces.”