'Sing my tongue' is the title of the next Cecilia Consort concert at 7.30pm on Saturday 16 November at St. John's Church, Newbury.
'Pange lingua' or 'Sing my tongue' are the first two words of a medieval Latin hymn written by St. Thomas Aquinas which Josquin des Pres uses as the basis for his mass of the same name. The French Renaissance composer, widely considered to be the first master of polyphonic vocal music, takes the hymn melody and uses it freely in all voices and in many variations in elaborate and ever changing polyphony. Gabriel Fauré also draws inspiration from Thomas Aquinas’ hymn taking the last two verses beginning with the words ‘Tantum ergo’ and arranging them in a beautiful setting for three female voices.
The programme also includes Poulenc's Four Christmas motets which relate the Christmas story using texts usually associated with Gregorian chant. Poulenc's distinctive style contrasts startling dissonance with luscious harmony and solemnity with playfulness. This demanding a capella piece requires rhythmic precision, clear intonation and ensemble balance.
In contrast James Whitbourn's Missa Carolae combines the words of the Latin mass with the melody of several familiar carols. The work which was commissioned by Rochester cathedral to mark the 1400th anniversary of its foundation in 2004, invokes a dance-like spirit true to the origin of the carol as a simple dance form. Arranged for choir, organ and piccolo this performance of Missa Carolae will feature the consort’s regular accompanist Steve Bowey playing the organ and Samantha Moore on piccolo.
The Cecilia Consort is a 40-strong, mixed voice choir, directed by Janet Coxwell, which performs two or three concerts a year in and around the Newbury area. Tickets cost £15 (£5 for under 18s) and are available online from www.ceciliaconsort.org.uk, or by calling 07775 743445.'Sing my tongue' is the title of the next Cecilia Consort concert at 7.30pm on Saturday 16 November at St. John's Church, Newbury.