Aylesbury Choral Society presents Requiem

Aylesbury Choral Society in rehearsal.

Aylesbury Choral Society in rehearsal.

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A Requiem that attracted high profile praise and criticism when it was first seen is to be performed next month (May).

Aylesbury Choral Society will present Verdi’s Requiem at Thame Leisure Centre at 7.30pm on Saturday May 21.

Conducted by Jeff Stewart with Aylesbury Concert Orchestra they will be joined by Uxbridge Choral Society and four internationally acclaimed soloists - Mardi Byers (soprano), Cheri Rose Katz (mezzo soprano), Max An (tenor) and George Stephens (bass).

Having worked with all these soloists on a number of occasions Mr Stewart was able to persuade them to travel from far and wide (Switzerland, Berlin, Korea and Cape Town respectively) to take part in this most operatic of sacred pieces.

The combined choir will number 150 plus so a powerful sound is guaranteed.

Written shortly after Aida (1871), it is no surprise that the Requiem is theatrical in style. Some critics took exception to this. Hans von Bulow, an eminent conductor and pianist at the time, described it as, “Verdi’s latest opera, in church vestments”.

Bulow’s comments caused Brahms to send for the score and after studying it he remarked: “Bulow has made an ass of himself, Verdi’s Requiem is a work of genius.”

The text of the Requiem is largely based on the Catholic Mass for the Dead. Verdi selected the specific texts he wanted, omitting for example the Gloria and Credo, and he rearranged the order of what remained to suit his purpose.

Tickets for the concert are £12, under 18s £5 and are available from www.aylesburychoral.org.uk or call 01296 640221 or from any choir member.

For those unable to make the date, the concert will be repeated the following day, Sunday May 22, at the home venue of Uxbridge Choral Society in Hayes.