This year, the Choir of Christ Church St Laurence, conducted by Dr Neil McEwan, celebrates its patronal festival day with a performance of Jean Langlais’ (1907-1991) Messe Solennelle– a work whose simple beauty hides the complexity of the music and described by the choristers as ‘a joyously semi-anarchic, mid-twentieth century French musical romp, for choir and organ.’ Langlais, though blind from infancy studied piano, harmony and organ. Along with Messiaen, Langlais was a student of Dukas, emerging as one of the foremost organists and conductors in 20th, century France.
In an exciting collaboration, the Choir of Christ Church St Laurence will be joined by the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge who will give their own half-hour recital after the Mass. In this recital, they will perform the music of Giles Swayne, Herbert Howells and John Ireland.
The concert has some particularly beautiful art-work associated with it- the image is an Extract from St Laurence and Christian Witnesses, Saints and Martyrs (2003) by the late Earle Backen. This is one of a series of vivid works by the painter – a former lecturer at the National Art School, and parishioner of Christ Church St Laurence. They were painted especially for the church and are on display within the building.
Langlais J Messe Solennelle (High Mass, 6pm)
Followed by a recital by the CHoir of Clare College Cambridge:
SWAYNE G Magnficat I
HOWELLS H Like as the hart desireth the waterbrooks
PÄRT A …which was the son of…
IRELAND J Greater love hath no man than this
JOSQUIN Nunc dimittis
Entry is free.