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Music in Times of War and Peace: Lecture and Concert

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William Elder Building, and Holy Trinity Church, Berwick

United Kingdom

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A lecture by Dr Richard Moore on Friday 20th April, 10 am to 12 noon, William Elder Building, 56 -58 Castlegate, Berwick-upon-Tweed,

and

A concert by Berwick Arts Choir, performing Handel’s Te Deum and Jubilate for the Peace of Utrecht and Haydn’s Paukenmesse, on Saturday 21st April, 7pm to 9pm, Holy Trinity Church

Music to welcome peace: can there be a more noble combination of cultural and social harmony? But war too has inspired great music. This collaboration between Berwick Arts Choir and Berwick Educational Association features Berwick Arts Choir’s live concert, providing an opportunity to experience directly the works of these two great composers, preceded by Richard Moore's lecture, which explores Handel’s and Haydn's creative processes set within their own historic context.

The two works are Handel’s Te Deum and Jubilate for the Peace of Utrecht and Haydn’s Paukenmesse. The first is a sublime work made all the more special by the ambiguities of its composition. It was completed in January 1713 three months after Handel had returned to London. Did he compose it in response to an official invitation from the English court or speculatively in the hope that it would be taken up? Documents recently discovered actually suggest that the performance precipitated Handel’s dismissal from the Elector’s service. Fortunately this seems to have done him no professional harm when the Elector succeeded Queen Anne as George 1st in the following year.

The second piece was composed in August 1796, at the time of Austria’s general mobilisation into war. Four years into the European war following the French Revolution, Austrian troops were doing badly against the French in Italy and Germany, and Austria feared invasion. Reflecting the troubled mood of his time, Haydn integrated references to battle in the Benedictus and Agnus Dei movements. He was himself a deeply religious man, who appended the words “Praise be to God” at the end of every completed score and it is possible here that one can also sense a prayer for peace, although much of the work is of a lyrically joyful nature

Come to Richard's lecture and learn about the political, social and military background to these works and the way in which they are part of a great tradition in which music arises like a Phoenix out of pain, death and loss.

Then come to the concert and enjoy Berwick Arts Choir's live performance of these works. Berwick Arts Choir has long been a feature of music-making in Berwick and celebrates its 70th anniversary this year. The choir numbers over 50 voices drawn from both sides of the border and sings major works from the choral repertoire ranging from from Buxtehude to Britten. They are fortunate to perform with first-rate orchestras and instrumental ensembles as well as some of the UK's most talented young vocal soloists.

In this centenary year when we commemorate the end of World War 1, let us find something of the resilience of the human spirit, seeking again the power of melody to transport the soul from the battlefields of pain to the celebration of the summits of peace.


Those who cannot attend both events can buy tickets for Richard's lecture (£6) online or by post, or tickets for BAC's concert (£10) from Grieves Stationers or from BAC members.




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Date and Time

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William Elder Building, and Holy Trinity Church, Berwick

United Kingdom

Refund Policy

Refunds up to 7 days before event

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