This Year’s Works

To be performed on Sunday 7th April 2019, accompanied by the Isle of Man Symphony Orchestra.

Sir Karl Jenkins CBE – Sing! The Music was Given: Not much needs to be said about this work. The World Premiere was held at Carnegie Hall, New York on 15th January 2018 when forty-nine of our [IOMCS] members sang with Distinguished Concerts Orchestra and Distinguished Concerts Singers International in the presence of the composer and his wife. The conductor was Dr Jonathan Griffith – Artistic Director and Conductor of Distinguished Concerts International New York [DCINY].

Sing! The Music was Given was commissioned by DCINY to mark the organisation’s 10th anniversary in 2018 on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. To celebrate, Sir Karl Jenkins was commissioned to write a work and he decided to go to the core of what DCINY is, their raison d’être: music and singing. He selected or commissioned text that was about music. The words ‘Sing – sing – Music was given’ are an exhortation from him to a choir to sing the music he has given and the rousing first movement, is a setting of the poem by Thomas Moore (1779–1852). There follow two movements with text by Carol Barratt (Lady Jenkins!). The first is in the form of an acrostic poem, where the first letter of each line spells another word, in this instance ‘M-U-S-I-C’. The second with text by Carol is ‘Music Matters!’

‘Waterfall Music’ has haiku text dating from 1688 by Bashō Matsuo and is sung in both Japanese and English. The fifth movement, ‘That Music Always Round Me’, sets words by Walt Whitman (1819–1892), a vivid text pointedly highlighted in the orchestration.
An option for performances of this work is to include two movements borrowed from his Gloria, also a celebration of music. The first is a setting of ‘Tehillim – Psalm 150’ (sung in Latin or Hebrew), followed by ‘I’ll Make Music’. The work ends with a movement in Adiemus ‘tribal’ style and quasi-African feel. The text is based on the deconstruction of two Zulu words, ukukula (sing) umcolo (music).

Gounod’s St. Cecilia Mass is the common name of a solemn mass composed in 1855 and scored for three soloists, mixed choir, orchestra and organ. The official name is Messe solennelle en l’honneur de Sainte-Cécile, in homage of St. Cecilia, the patron saint of music. The St. Cecilia Mass was his first major work. The premiere was performed on St. Cecilia’s day, 22 November 1855, in Saint-Eustache, Paris.

The appearance of the Messe solennelle en l’honneur de Sainte- Cécile caused a kind of shock. This simplicity, this grandeur, this serene light which rose before the musical world like a breaking dawn, troubled people enormously …. at first one was dazzled, then charmed, then conquered.

The vocal parts of the mass are performed by three soloists (soprano, tenor and bass) and a choir of four parts, sometimes with divided tenor and bass. In our case the tenors will not be split. The soloists act mostly as an ensemble, without arias. Gounod scored the mass for a large orchestra, demanding six harps [just one for us!]. In Gloria and Sanctus, he highlighted passages by pistons (cornets), typical instruments of the romantic French orchestra. In Benedictus and Agnus Dei, he was the first composer to use the newly developed octobass, a string instrument of the violone family. He included the great organ, mostly in Grand jeu.