Puccini Messa di Gloria at St John at Hackney

“Hackney Singers and Forest Philharmonic excelled themselves once again. The best day of St. John-at-Hackney is when it’s filled to capacity and used for that which really it’s built for – good music.”

Click here for press release

There’s just something about a Hackney Singers concert.  Audiences come back time and time again because they know it’s going to be special and this concert was no exception. Inspired by Mark Shanahan’s direction the choir, orchestra and soloists gave a performance that was joyous, energetic and full of exuberance” – Rachel Gallagher, Clapton

“On top form”. Hackney Singers, Mark Shanahan and the Forest Philharmonic play Puccini’s Gloria to a packed St John’s

“I was truly impressed by the Hackney Singers on Saturday night, they were bloody brilliant. Cheers” – Michael, St John’s website

Photos:  Imogen Radford

Spring Concert

St John-At-Hackney Church

Sat 9th May 2009

Hackney Singers

The Forest Philharmonic Orchestra

Conductor Mark Shanahan

Tenor Thomas Herford

Bass-baritone Andrew Greenan

Puccini: Messa Di Gloria

A work of boundless vitality and self assurance, filled with colour and invention. It’s a switchback ride for the listener, as Puccini lurches gleefully from key to key and sidesteps into different forms. The music is protean, always moving on in new directions, constantly surprising us. At its premiere in Lucca on 12 July 1880, the Mass was
extremely well received, but it was never performed again in Puccini’s lifetime. Already the composer had settled on opera as a career choice. He would later write ‘The Almighty touched me with his little finger and said, “Write for the theatre, mind, only for the theatre!”‘.

Mozart: Divertimento in B flat major, K 137

The 18th-century divertimento was a multi-movement entertainment piece, intended, as its name suggests, to divert rather than to inspire profound thoughts. Mozart wrote three orchestral divertimenti in the 1770s, at a time when he was in the service of the archbishop of Salzburg.

Mozart: Ave Verum Corpus, K 618

This work dates from 1791, the last year of Mozart’s life, when his creative genius was at its height. Other works of that year include his Requiem, the opera The Magic Flute, his clarinet concerto and his last
two string quartets. He wrote it for a celebration of the feast of Corpus Christi in the parish of Baden, just outside Vienna. The poem Ave verum corpus (‘Hail, true body!’) dates from the 14th century. It has been attributed to Pope Innocent IV (died 1362).

Download the programme text in 18pt type

The Audience

“The playing and singing at the concert were excellent. The whole thing went off splendidly – one of your best. The Puccini especially was for me a rare delight. It’s good to hear a choir sing with such passion and commitment.” Michael Friess

“The Puccini was a delight. Wonderful tunes and rousing choruses, the choir and orchestra were on top form and the soloists excellent. Roll on the next time!”. Jill Eakins, Crouch End

“Good to see local businesses supporting the choir with their ads in the concert programme. And thanks for the excellent translation of the Latin. I followed every word”. Visitor from Wales (aged 88)

The Conductor

Mark Shanahan

This season Mark makes his debut in Marseilles with Jenufa and returns to Frankfurt Opera for Nabucco. Concerts include Forest Philharmonic, his debut in Denmark, Alpine Symphony with the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra and his first visit to the Orchestre de pays de Loire for the Haydn festival 2009.

The Perfomers

Thomas Herford: Tenor

THOMAS HERFORD is a Cambridge graduate and is now studying at Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Rudolf Piernay. His recent concert appearances include Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle, Mozart’s Requiem, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Bach’s Magnificat, and his Barbican debut with the London Symphony Orchestra, singing the tenor roles in ‘Two Sisters, A Rose, A flood and Snow’ by Alasdair

Andrew Greenan: Bass-baritone

ANDREW GREENAN was a Choral Scholar at St John’s College, Cambridge. He then went on to the Royal Northern College of Music
where he studied with John Cameron. He made his operatic début at La Scala, Milan in Schoenberg’s Die Glückliche Hand. His concert repertoire ranges from Bach to Walton, Tippett and beyond, including the major choral works of Haydn, Beethoven, Rossini Dvorak, Elgar and Mendelssohn’s Elijah, for which he is particularly noted. He has appeared with many leading orchestras including the RPO, BBC
Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, English Chamber and Belgian National Orchestras.