Wonderful baroque pieces in a glorious acoustic setting

Jenny Hansell Conductor of Horsham Chamber Choir
Jenny Hansell Conductor of Horsham Chamber Choir

Horsham Chamber Choir, with Jenny Hansell conducting, will be performing a number of works by Mozart and Haydn on Saturday, March 28, in St Mary’s Church.

Choir chairman Peter Hooper said: “On this occasion they will be accompanied by Horsham Chamber Ensemble leader Rachel Ellis.

“Works to be performed include Mozart’s Missa Brevis, Ave Verum Corpus and Regina Coeli, and Haydn’s Salve Regina.

“The eighteenth century was the age of patronage: most (financially) successful composers worked at the courts of princes and bishops. Part of their duties would have been to provide music for services in the court chapel. Mozart became a court musician at Salzburg when he was 17.

“However he was always looking for better work elsewhere and resigned in 1777. He was re-employed in 1779 as court organist and concertmaster with an annual salary of 450 florins but eventually left again to try his fortune in Vienna where, although he gained in fame and musical stature, he struggled financially.

“Joseph Haydn had a more stable relationship with his employer: he became Kapellmeister to Prince Esterhazy in Eisenstadt in 1766 and held the post all his life. The two men met in Vienna in 1784 and got to know each other well. Haydn always held the younger Mozart in awe and during this time Mozart dedicated six String Quartets to Haydn, so the respect seems to have been mutual. There is no doubt that they inspired each other, for which we must all give eternal thanks.

“The musical forces employed at places such as Salzburg and Eisenstadt included an orchestra and Mozart and Haydn wrote many glorious large scale choral works for orchestra and soloists but these are expensive to promote.

“Luckily for Chamber Choirs, they also composed many excellent smaller scale works, a selection of which will be performed in this Concert. All but two of the choral works date from the 1770s, a period in which composers, in Germany and Austria in particular, were embracing the dramatic ideas of the Sturm und Drang (Storm and Stress) movement. Several of these pieces have passages marked for soloists, but these parts will be sung by the choir and the dramatic contrast with the full choir sections is achieved by having only one or two vocal parts singing or by a different style of music.

“In Mozart’s Regina Coeli the full choir parts are actually more challenging than the passages designated for soloists!

“This concert of wonderful baroque music, in the glorious acoustic setting of St Mary’s Church, accompanied by a very accomplished string and wind ensemble, promises to be an evening to remember.”

Tickets, at £12 each (students £6) are available from members of the Choir or by email info@horsham-chamberchoir.org.uk or call 07730983314, or on the door.