We have a summer concert coming up next Sunday (July 3rd) at the Guildhall, Plymouth.
This is a predominantly lightweight programme of modern music: some short pieces and two medium-length works. As we started rehearsing, I thought that a set of madrigals, or even Beatles arrangements, would fit the programme nicely, though neither is included.
The two more substantial works are Morten Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna and Rutter’s Feel the Spirit. I can recommend both these works as well worth coming to hear.
Lauridsen is new to me. My first reaction to the score of Lux Aeterna was, nice to do once, but nothing to write home about. If theme and variations is a classical form, this could be kind-of described as chord and variations. Since then it’s been growing on me: this is an interesting work (and I hope it’ll be wonderful to listen to), and some of what I first thought weaknesses actually do work and make sense as effects. The text is Latin and religious, the orchestration sparing, the setting contemplative, and it comes as no surprise to find Lauridsen is contemporary with Tavener and Pärt. The music also hints at older choral traditions, from plainchant to (possibly) eastern orthodox, though I’m not really competent to judge such things.
The Rutter is a set of seven well-known negro spirituals. Like Tippett’s settings, these are for classical forces. But compared to Tippett this is lighter, more playful. Glorious tunes and lots of fun, and full of characteristic Rutter syncopations and cheeky modulations. You’ll be whistling those tunes as you go home, but they’ll catch you out!