Thursday, 18 June 2009

"Music is an emanation from heaven"

The Avison Society continues its year of celebration with a special concert. Details below from their press release.


A Triple Anniversary Celebration!

THURSDAY July 9th at 7.30pm
St Mary’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, Newcastle upon Tyne

The Avison Ensemble presents this special event at St Mary's Cathedral, Newcastle upon Tyne, as part of the Avison tercentenary celebrations.

James Bowman (Counter tenor) and Dr Andrew Gant (Organist, Choirmaster and Composer at Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal) and other members of the Chapel Royal Choir with the Avison Ensemble perform anthems by Handel and Purcell that were written specially for the Chapel Royal. The programme includes an anthem by Charles Avison, previously unheard in modern times due to a missing part, which has been composed by Andrew Gant, especially to complete the work for this performance.

2009 celebrates the tercentenary of the birth of Newcastle-born composer, Charles Avison in 1709 and the City is in celebration of the occasion! This year also marks the 250th anniversary of the death of Handel in 1759 and the 350th anniversary of the birth of Purcell in 1659.

This concert is a triple celebration of 3 of the most important composers of the baroque period.

Gordon Dixon, CEO of the Avison Ensemble said: “2009 is a unique celebration. Two of England’s most important composers of choral music share an anniversary with Avison who, though he worked in the Cathedral at Newcastle most of his life, wrote only one anthem. It is a great opportunity to bring this interesting piece back into use.”

The Chapel Royal has been in existence since before the Norman Conquest, and in its early years its function was mainly peripatetic, accompanying the Monarch around the country and indeed beyond: the Chapel Royal went with Henry V to Agincourt, where Mass was sung before the battle, and with Henry VIII to the Field of the Cloth of Gold. In Tudor times it played a major role in enhancing the splendour and magnificence of the court and The King, and in addition to their musical duties the Children were required to act in plays, masques and pageants to impress important visitors.

The Chapel had a unique role in the development of English church music, partly because it had the power to "impress" the best choristers from around the country, and partly because as the Monarch's private Chapel it was, to a certain extent at least, immune from the severe restrictions placed on the composition and use of music by the various religious reforms of the 16th and 17th centuries. It thus employed many leading musicians, including Cornyshe, Fayrfax, Tallis, Byrd, Gibbons, Blow, Purcell, Handel, S.S.Wesley and Arthur Sullivan.

Made up of some of Europe’s leading musicians and soloists, The Avison Ensemble is the North East’s most famous exponent of 18th century music as well as being the standard bearer for Charles Avison. A composer, conductor, organist and writer of music, Avison is considered by many to be the most important English concerto composer of that period.

The Ensemble uses period instruments to recreate the distinctive ‘sound world’ that Avison would have known. The Avison Ensemble is a Regularly Funded Organisation by Arts Council England.

Tickets: £12 from JG Windows Ltd, Central Arcade, Newcastle upon Tyne."

Click here to go to their website for full details and other events.

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