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TRISH TAKES FIVE: Mirinesse plans glorious summer concert




My classical music education continues as Mirinesse, the all-female choir I joined last year, prepares for its next concert in St Mary's Church, Cowbit.

Our last outing, in the tiny octagonal church of St James in Moulton Chapel, was a great success. We entertained a packed congregation with a selection of early music, accompanied by traditional instruments such as the crumhorn and tabor. Dougie didn't think it would be his sort of thing at all - and he loved it!

St Mary's Church, Cowbit (13220117)
St Mary's Church, Cowbit (13220117)

Our summer concert features Vivaldi's Gloria and I'm now appreciating the fabulousness of such a piece. I associate Vivaldi with Nigel Kennedy and The Four Seasons. I can still remember how the spikey-haired violinist burst onto the classical music scene in 1989 with his multi-million selling album.Now I'm discovering a bit more about the composer.

The Gloria was written by Vivaldi around 1715. Taking the words of the hymn, Gloria in Excelsis Deo, he created three versions, although one has now been lost. We're singing the most popular, the Gloria RV 589.I know, it sounds like the name for a fancy American motorhome. Let's take that RV 589 on the road!

Even if you don't know the original, you may find it familiar, as parts of the work have appeared in movies including The Hunter, Shine and Runaway Train.

Trish Burgess (13220115)
Trish Burgess (13220115)

Vivaldi wrote the Gloria when he was based at the Ospedale della Pieta in Venice. This convent and orphanage was also a music school and it became renowned for its all-female musical ensembles. It seems very fitting that we are performing the Gloria as a women's choir.

Whilst the Gloria takes up the second half of the programme, our musical director, Sam Graper, has chosen a number of wonderful pieces to inspire in the first half.

We have three excerpts of the earliest surviving pieces of English music from St Godric of Finchale, a merchant and pilgrim who became a hermit in Durham. He was born around 1065 in Walpole, Norfolk.

We also sing Pur ti Miro, a sensual piece from the opera, L'Incoronazione di Poppea composed by Monteverdi. The song is usually a duet between emperor Nero and his mistress, Poppea. There's a lot of gorgeous Italian r-rolling in this one.

The song that makes me cry is Cantique de Jean Racine by Faure. In French this time, the harmonies are just exquisite. I'll have to keep my emotions at bay: tears are no good when you're trying to sing.

There are more delicious harmonies in John Rutter's arrangement of For the Beauty of the Earth and Will Todd's The Lord is my Shepherd. These are beautiful, contemporary compositions for female voices.

If you'd like to hear the Mirinesse singers perform, the Gloria concert is on Saturday 13 July at 7.30pm at St Mary's church, Cowbit. You don't need a ticket: there's just a retiring collection at the end.

You can read Trish's blog at www.mumsgoneto.co.uk

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