Choir gears up for an emotional crescendo

Aysen Ulucan SUS-160905-115002001
Aysen Ulucan SUS-160905-115002001
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The Hastings Philharmonic Choir are warming up to an emotional climax for their performance of Brahms’ Deutsches Requiem at Christ Church St Leonards next Saturday 14 May. The concert also includes another beautiful Brahms choral piece, ‘Gesang der Parzen’, and uses the full orchestra to great effect for Sibelius’ popular violin concerto.

‘Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.’ So begins this Requiem for the living, an all time choral favourite, which reaches out to the deepest emotions and ‘feeds the soul’. Eduard Hanslick, who reviewed the first performance of Brahms’ Requiem in 1867 in a Vienna newspaper, wrote: “Since the masses for the dead and mourning cantatas of our classical composers, the shadow of death and the seriousness of loss have scarcely been presented in music with such power. The harmonic and contrapuntal art which Brahms learnt in the school of Bach is inspired...”

Although lesser known, Gesang der Parzen shows fascinating links with Brahms’ last two (3rd and 4th) symphonies with an immensely powerful orchestral opening in common with the third and a glorious mixture of ‘early music’ styles alongside passages of the most advanced harmony. The words are taken from Goethe’s play, Iphigenie auf Tauris, which use the chants of Greek goddesses of fate (Parzen) to dramatic effect in describing how man is buffeted by the whims of ‘the gods’.

Sibelius’ violin concerto is one of the most popular of 20th century works judging by how often it is presented at concerts and this will be a most special performance by soloist, Ayşen Ulucan. Ayşen’s latest projects include a chamber music concert with Maxim Vengerov in Turkey and playing with the Sinfonia Concertante (conducted by husband Marcio da Silva) in Kosovo. This concerto is both dramatic and deeply romantic.

The other soloists for this concert are Lígia Ishitani and Alex Duliba. Brazilian soprano Lígia is a winner of an oratorio prize last summer in Brazil which has enabled her to visit Hastings for this concert, and travel on for further auditions in Europe and pursue her language studies. She comes from Belo Horizonte, the hometown of the choir’s music director Marcio da Silva. Alex Duliba is a very experienced English baritone who has performed at the Barbican, Wigmore hall, Royal Festival Hall, St Martin in the Fields, Grange Park Opera, Aldeburgh Festival and the Oxford Lieder Festival.

The concert takes place at 7pm on Saturday 14 May at Christ Church, Silchester Road, St Leonards-on-Sea, TN37 6GL. Tickets cost £18 (£15 concs) or £3 for children under 17yrs. You can reserve tickets by calling the Box Office on 01424 552119. Tickets to buy online and at the following outlets around town: Hastings Information Centre, IMAGEN Gallery, Claremont, the Book Keeper, Kings Road or from choir members themselves.