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CBS Music Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament Choir & Orchestra  

Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament Music Concerts

Text Box:    Beethoven 1803  Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 - 1827) 

CBS Beethoven Concert   

Christus Introduction Op.85 Recording

Eroica Symphony No. 3 in Eb Op.55

I   Allegro con brio Recording
II  Marcia Funebre: Adagio assai Recording
III Scherzo: Allegro vivace Recording
IV Finale: Allegro molto Recording

The CBS Orchestra presented a free hour-long concert featuring two dramatic works by Beethoven on Sunday 8 March, 2020, at 3 pm in St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, Manchester Street. His sombre Introduction to Christ on the Mount of Olives preceded the monumental Eroica Symphony No.3. The CBS Orchestra was led by Natalia M. Lomeiko and Musical Director was Don Whelan.

Each work dates from 1803, while Beethoven was confronting his impending deafness. In his only oratorio, Christ on the Mount of Olives, he vividly depicts anguish and ultimate resignation. The relatively brief Introduction Op. 85 functions like an overture to a sacred opera. It establishes a tragic, profound mood with evocative orchestration, including a chilling role for the timpani. To enable a young and challenging composer to be heard, the premiere became part of a marathon presentation of his first two symphonies and third piano concerto to an exhausted Viennese audience.

Text Box:  The famous Eroica Symphony No. 3 in Eb major was written immediately following this concert. Beethoven described it as “the biggest work he had written so far, and added, “I think heaven and earth must tremble beneath us when it is performed.” He had initially hoped that his former hero, Napoleon, would accept the dedication of the new symphony, which was to bear the title Bonaparte, as he saw him as the liberator of the downtrodden, a destroyer of oppression and class distinction, and the driving force for a democratic Europe. But on learning in 1804 that Napoleon had declared himself Emperor, he tore through the paper to destroy the name Bonaparte, and wrote instead: Heroic Symphony composed to celebrate the memory of a great man.

The music is both vigorous and noble, and reshapes the scope and scale of even the greatest symphonies of Haydn and Mozart. Although profound personal grief underpins the massive funeral march which comprises the slow movement, it eventually finds the musical catharsis which was ultimately to lead in his future symphonic creations to a Hymn of Joy.

On Good Friday, the CBS Choir presents a liturgical performance of the Via Crucis, by Franz Liszt.

Texts p.1 p.2 & Concert Recording (2014)

Michael Lawrence, piano & Don Whelan, organ

Composed in 1878-9, Via Crucis is one of the many religious choral works which Liszt wrote towards the end of his life. He intended these for liturgical use in Catholic services: but his efforts were not appreciated by his contemporaries, and most of these works were neglected during his lifetime and have only been performed and even published comparatively recently. Nevertheless in these works Liszt was trying to get away from the rather saccharine sentimentality of most 19th century religious music in favour of a more direct and austere style which is remarkably in keeping with modem taste; he made a special study of Gregorian Chant, and incorporated elements of it into his religious works. Thus the phrase of three rising notes, separated respectively by a whole tone and a minor third, which pervades the whole of Via Crucis, is in fact the phrase used in Gregorian Chant to symbolise the Cross: and Liszt used this also in several other works, including the Dante Symphony and the symphonic poem The Battle of the Huns.

Apart from Gregorian elements, Liszt also made some experimental use of harmony in Via Crucis, including whole-tone chords - nearly thirty years before Debussy! - and there are some strange harmonic clashes here and there. Nevertheless these devices are not just put in for effect, but are an integral part of the structure of the work: and the atmosphere throughout is one of simplicity and devotion. The text was arranged by Princess Sayn-Wittgenstein from Biblical quotations, medieval Latin hymns and German chorales; the organ plays an important part throughout and has many solo sections.

Haydn "London" Symphony 2020

Haydn Harmoniemesse 2020

Beethoven Oratorio Introduction 2020

Beethoven Eroica Symphony 2020

Haydn "Drumroll" Symphony 2019

Haydn Creation Mass 2019

Mozart Piano Concerto K466 2019

Mozart Trinity Concert 2019

Mozart Symphony 25 2019

Notre Dame Benefit Concert 2019

Haydn Theresienmesse 2018

Haydn Nelson Mass Concert 2017

Haydn Paukenmesse Concert 2016

Haydn Heiligmesse Concert 2015

Bach B Minor Mass 2014

Graduate & CBS Choir Haydn 2008

John Ritchie Missa Corpus Christi 2008

Schubert First Mass in F Major 2007

 

Mozart Requiem 25.8.2013

Internationally renowned opera stars generously contributed to this benefit concert for the new CBS Music Centre. Soprano soloist was Madeline Bender, from New York. Since graduating from the Manhattan School of Music, she has taken leading roles for many opera companies, and appears on DVD under John Eliot Gardiner alongside Magdalena Kozena in the title role of Gluck’s Orpheus and Eurydice. In demand as a concert soloist, she has sung the Bach B Minor Mass with the Handel & Haydn Society; the Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and Handel’s Messiah with the Toronto Symphony under Sir Andrew Davis. Simon O’Neill came fresh from Wagner performances at La Scala and the BBC Proms, and left for Tokyo, Berlin and Covent Garden. Paul Whelan, who has sung the title roles of Don Giovanni and Eugene Onegin at the Sydney Opera House, was in NZ for a Stravinsky Soldier’s Tale, and The Flying Dutchman. They were joined by alto soloist Margot Button, a vocal graduate of the Boston Conservatory of Music. A newly refurbished Steinway concert grand piano has replaced the instrument crushed during the earthquake. Played by Michael Lawrence, it was heard for the first time in settings of Ave Maria and the Lord’s Prayer sung by Simon and Paul, and a Rachmaninov Prelude.