For M is Musick
Benjamin Britten 1913 – 1976
To mark the 30th anniversary of the death of Benjamin Britten, one of the greatest composers of the 20th century, Nota Bene is presenting an evening of some of his finest choral music alongside a selection of his folksong arrangements.
Guest conductor Peter Walls will direct the choir in one of Britten’s most popular choral pieces, the gorgeous Hymn to St Cecilia. Also on the programme are the Five Flower Songs, exquisite miniatures written as a 25th wedding anniversary gift to friends. The six Choral Dances from the opera Gloriana pay homage to Queen Elizabeth the First, and the concert ends with the cantata Rejoice in the Lamb, a stunning work with organ (played by Michael Stewart) which takes its text from a poem by the 18th century poet Christopher Smart, who suffered from a religious psychosis and was confined to a mental asylum.
Soprano Pepe Becker will also perform a selection of Britten’s Folksong Arrangements, with Michael Stewart accompanying.
Nota Bene was formed in August 2004 by Christine Argyle and since then has presented three recitals: Parallel Lines in the Hunter Council Chamber, Birdsong at Sacred Heart Cathedra and Brush Up Your Shakespeare in the Hunter Council Chamber. As well, members of the choir have performed live on National Radio’s Nine to Noon, at the opening of the Holbein to Hockney exhibition at Te Papa, and at the World Aids Day Service at St Andrews on the Terrace.