The Passion of Christ
Percy E Fletcher composed the Passion of Christ in 1922. Intended to be performed by smaller, less experienced choirs, the Passion was sometimes used as an alternative to Stainer's The Crucifixion, though its influences derive more from Elgar than from Mendelssohn. The text of the work was translated and freely adapted from the libretto of an oratorio written by Metastasio (first performed in 1780). A few passages from the prophecy of Isaiah were introduced, as well as two hymns. The music is laid out for Chorus with Soprano, Tenor and Baritone soloists with an organ accompaniment. The work was also scored for a small orchestra with a special organ part for use with both complete and incomplete orchestral combinations.
Born in Derby, Percy Fletcher was largely self-taught, though his parents were both musical and he learned to play violin, piano and organ before embarking on a career of theatrical conducting. He took positions at the Prince of Wales, Savoy and the Drury Lane Theatre under Johnston Forbes-Robertson.
In 1915 he was appointed musical director at His Majesty's Theatre by Sir Herbert Tree, where he stayed until his death. Here, from 1916, he conducted (and mostly orchestrated) the music for the record-breaking five year run of Frederic Norton's Chu Chin Chow. As its successor, Fletcher composed his own musical comedy, Cairo, which ran for 267 performances in 1921. A further comedy, The Good Old Days was produced at Her Majesty's in 1925.
Although working in London, Fletcher lived in Farnborough, Hampshire for many years. There is a blue plaque marking his former residence on Sycamore Road, Farnborough Park. He died from a cerebral haemorrhage in Holloway Sanatorium, Virginia Water, aged 52.
Soloists and Professional Musicians
Adam Marsden - Baritone
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Joyce Tindsley - Mezzo Soprano
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Chris Turner - Tenor (click on image to see biography)
Neil Provost - Conductor
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Jonathan Scott - Guest Organist
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