The Main Event March 2024 - Cantores OEC 2023

Cantores Oecumenica
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The Main Event - March 2024
John Henry Maunder was born in Chelsea and studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He was organist at St Matthew's, Sydenham 1876-7, and St Paul's, Forest Hill 1878-9, neither of which now exists, as well as churches in Blackheath and Sutton, and accompanied concerts in the Albert Hall. He was conductor of the Civil Service Vocal Union from 1881, and also trained the choir for Henry Irving's original production of Faust at the Lyceum Theatre in 1887.

His Easter oratorio, Olivet to Calvary, is a fine example of music written for the late Victorian / early  Edwardian Anglican church. Considered by some to be over sentimental by modern tastes,  it contains a sincerity and dedication which, despite being a definite product of its time, has carried the piece through to the modern era.

Its popularity is in part due to its simplicity, needing only organ, choir, bass and tenor soloists, and is a work which can be performed by the smallest choirs.

The words used for Olivet to Calvary were written and arranged by Shapcott Wensley, a pseudonym for the English poet Henry Shapcott Bunce (1854-1917). Described as a sacred cantata, 'Olivet to Calvary' recalls the scenes which mark the last few days of Christ's life on earth.

Part 1 starts with Christ's jubilant journey to Jerusalem with the rejoicing of the multitude with hosannas and palms. The view of Jerusalem from the steep of Olivet and the lament over the city, the dispersal of the money changers in the Temple, and the sad nocturnal walk on the Mount of Olivet are all portrayed.

Part 2 begins with the ‘Last Supper’ at the Feast of Passover at which Jesus washed his disciples' feet and with the commandment to his disciples to 'Love one Another'. Then follows the agonizing prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, the sudden appearance of the hostile crowd, the abandonment of Jesus by his disciples, His utter loneliness among ruthless enemies, the turmoil before Pilate when Barabbas is released, the tragedy of the cross, the crucifixion and eventual triumph of Calvary.

The whole work is interspersed with hymns which reflect on the scenes.  While a slight and somewhat outdated work 'Olivet to Calvary', like Stainer's more substantial 'Crucifixion', rewards sincere performance.

Soloists and Professional Musicians
Adam Marsden - Baritone
(click on Adam's image to see his biography)
Lucy Yardley - Soprano
(click on image to see biography)
Stephen Mills - Tenor (click on image to see biography)
Neil Provost - Conductor
(click on Neil's image to see his biography)
Jonathan Scott - Guest Organist
(click on Jonathan's image to see his biography)
Where and When!

Where - Holy Angels Church, Wicker Lane, Hale Barns, Altrincham, Cheshire WA15 0HF

When - Sunday 24th March 2024 at 4.00pm.

Entrance is FREE!
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