Let's do it again!
A Babe Is Born” enabled us to end 2020 on a high – something that was almost unimaginable only a couple of months earlier. In a year totally unprecedented in the lives of every living soul on the planet, our Christmas concert series was a ray of sunshine, not only for our live-performance-deprived audiences, but for US! We were able to finish the year doing what we love – performing beautiful music for music-loving live audiences.
And now here we are, at the start of 2021, and what promises to be a superb year of brilliant choral music, with Oriana’s renowned eclecticism to the fore once again: Mozart; Abba; Queen; Norwegian sacred; Choral composers of the U.S. of A. – if that’s not varied enough for one, then one is simply too hard to please!
Season One for 2021 will feature 2 contrasting works which, while centuries apart in their creation, style and musical approach, have certain similarities. Mozart’s Requiem, composed in 1791 and 1792, stands as one of the great works of the choral music canon. It’s one of those relatively rare compositions in which sublimely beautiful music richly complements the sacred nature of the text. Those who are familiar with Mozart’s Requiem almost invariably treasure it as a beloved musical work.
The other work featured in Season One is Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo’s Sunrise Mass, which had its world premiere in Oslo in 2008. Gjeilo took the Ordinary of the Mass – Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus and Agnus Dei - and placed it in a musical structure which presented “a metaphysical journey from the heavens to the earth.” It too is a beautiful choral work, which has a profound effect on audiences hearing (and seeing) it performed for the first time.
Both works are notable, not only for the beauty of the music, but for their respect, indeed reverence, for the liturgy of the Mass and the Requiem. And in this upcoming concert in May, they nicely bookend beginning and ending – the sunrise as a metaphor for the beginning, and the Requiem for the end of life.
Oriana has performed both of these works before, and they are both members’ favourites. To have the opportunity to sing them both on the one programme is akin to being a child being given free-run in a lolly shop!
It will be well worth the wait.