Come along and join MK Chorale for a concert performance of two great choral works, accompanied by the wonderful Alina Orchestra.

We are performing Haydn’s Nelson Mass or Missa in Angustiis [Mass in troubled times] which sadly seems as appropriate today as it was when it was composed. The hope that Haydn wished to give to his audience is exuded through this wonderful, powerful piece, full of emotion and excitement.  This is despite it being composed for a much-reduced orchestra  – a diminished court budget meant the court wind and horn players had recently been sacked – Arts funding evidently being an 18th as well as a 21st century issue… However, there was funding for the military so it was easy for Haydn to add trumpets and drums to give some of the work a militaristic feel.  No doubt this is one of the reasons why it swiftly became known as the Nelson Mass.

The second half of the concert, Vaughan Williams’ Dona nobis pacem (which translates as ‘Give us peace’), features some of the composer’s best and most potent music (both serene and violent). This piece draws upon text from the Bible, sections from the Mass, and poems by Walt Whitman.  It is a powerful musical evocation of the destruction and death brought about through war and violence, with an overarching message of peace and reconciliation. It was composed in 1936, a time when war was threatening to engulf Europe once again, and like the Nelson Mass, is as relevant now as it was when the work was premiered.