By Mark Ellul (Bass)

The Requiem looms large in the life of choral singers. Some of the most performed and beloved pieces in the choral repertoire set the text of the Latin Missa pro Defunctis, Mass for the dead. I grew up singing these mysterious words in many guises, from the consolatory and deeply personal: Faure, Howells, to the declamatory and ostentatious: Mozart, Verdi. Quite apart from their ritualistic liturgical context, the text seems to cry in an essentially human and fragile voice: timeo – I am afraid, and libera me – free me, as well as the desire to see hope, lux aeterna, in desolation.

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Singing the St. Matthew Passion

By Ian Stephens (Bass)

Bach’s St Matthew Passion is one of those absolute towering masterpieces of music – of any music, written anywhere and at any time. I’ve never sung the whole piece before – in fact I think I’d only previously sung the opening and closing choruses. I have to admit that I regarded it with some trepidation – the score is enormous, with 68 separate numbers, some of them subdivided into further sections. But our director Jonny Lo’s finely-paced rehearsals have put paid to any misgivings.

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