Thursday, 20 July 2017

The Nelson connection and more: St Marylebone

Horatia Nelson
Horatia Nelson
The parish of St Marylebone is 900 this year, with the present church being 200 and the second St Marylebone Festival celebrates these events with a week of festivities in and around the church from 22 July to 28 July 2017. Things kick off with a come-and-sing Haydn Nelson Mass with conductor Gavin Roberts and soloists Helen Semple, Caroline Doggett, Nicholas Berry and Andrew Copeman. Haydn's Missa in Angustiis was written in 1798 but became known as the Nelson Mass after Nelson attended  performance of the mass at Esterhazy Palace. Nelson's daughter, Horatia was baptised at St Marylebone Parish Church in 1803. Horatia's mother was Nelson's mistress, Emma Hamilton and the concert will also include Haydn's Lines from the battle of the Nile which was written to be sung by Emma Hamilton and celebrated Nelson's victory over Napoleon in the Battle of the Nile in 1798.

Other events at the festival include a recital by Stephen Grahl celebrating the 30th anniversary of the church's Rieger organ, a festal Evensong, and Ensemble Hesperi in a programme of music and readings evoking the pleasure gardens of Old Marylebone.

Soprano Alison Pitt and pianist Gavin Roberts explore settings of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning (of nearby Wimpole Street) with music by Amy Beach, Samuel Taylor-Coleridge, Michael Head, Arnold Bax, Maude Valerie White and Edward Elgar. Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning were clandestinely married at St Marylebone Parish Church in 1846.

Another concert celebrates the UK premiere of Brahms' Requiem which took place in 1871 in the home in Wimpole Street of a leading surgeon, this used Brahms' own version of the piece with piano duet accompaniment and the choir of St Marylebone Parish Church is joined by soprano Lucy Hall, baritone Ben McAteer and pianists Gavin Roberts and Elizabeth Burgess. The evening also includes songs and piano music by Schubert.

The festival concludes with the church's organ scholar, Bertie Baigent conducting the London Young Sinfonia in a programme of Erwin Stein's chamber version of Mahler's Symphony No. 4 plus a new work by Baigent himself.

Full details from the festival page on EventBrite.

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