Addison Singers Join Bernardi Chamber Orchestra

To perform major works by Beethoven and by Morten Lauridsen

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Saturday March 21, 7.30, at St Michael and All Angels Church, Bath Road, W4 1TT or phone 07531 447960

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One of west London’s biggest choirs, The Addison Singers, join regular partners The Bernardi Chamber Orchestra and four excellent young soloists on March 21 to perform two major – and contrasting - works.

One is by the American composer Morten Lauridsen who for the last decade has become one of the most widely performed of living composers. Central to his output are a sequence of choral works that have become much loved. Written in 1995 the Lux Aeterna was written in response to the death of the composer’s mother and focuses on warmth and consolation. Lauridsen writes: “Lux Aeterna is an intimate work of quiet serenity that expresses hope, reassurance, faith and illumination.”

The other is by Beethoven who composed only two Masses, the great Missa Solemnis written towards the end of his life and the Mass in C, commissioned by Hungarian Prince Nikolaus Esterhazy in 1807 for the name-day of his wife, Princes Maria. Beethoven was a believer but had little time for organised religion, feeling he had no need for the church to come between him and his God.

The composer wrote to his publisher when he was creating the Mass: “I am reluctant to say anything about my Mass and indeed about myself. Yet I believe I have set the text in a manner in which it has rarely been treated before.”

Unfortunately the rehearsal time was inadequate for the premiere and the Prince was clearly not impressed. He was heard to ask: “But Beethoven, what is this that you have done now?”

He later admitted that he thought the work 'ridiculous and detestable'. Beethoven, apparently, stormed off in a rage. It was not until the late 1800s that the Mass became more regularly performed and although some say it is overshadowed by the Missa Solemnis it contains moments of great drama and beauty.


March 9, 2009