Music by Puccini and Elgar to be performed by Axminster and District Choral Society

PUBLISHED: 17:00 22 October 2019

Charles Cunliffe. Picture courtesy of Charles Cunliffe

Charles Cunliffe. Picture courtesy of Charles Cunliffe


Members of Axminster and District Choral Society are preparing for their next concert with two exciting pieces to sing – full of praise and glory.

Two exuberant pieces of work will be performed at the autumn concert by Axminster and District Choral Society.

Members of the 90-strong choir have been rehearsing Puccini's Messa di Gloria and Edward Elgar's Give unto the Lord under their director of music, Peter Parshall.

They can be counted on to be exciting to listen to, with the choir coming together with professional soloists and orchestra.

Puccini's Messa di Gloria was composed when he was only eighteen and was his one and only major religious work. The score was created to serve as his graduation thesis and was first performed in 1878.

It was a resounding success, combining the excitement of youth with the fabulous melodic writing to be found later in his operas, such as Tosca and Madame Butterfly.

There's barely space for listeners to pause for breath in between one glorious tune and the next.

To balance this delectable Italian work will be Edward Elgar's Give unto the Lord, a setting of psalm 29.

It was composed some 30 years later than Puccini's Mass and is equally full of vitality.

Elgar brings the psalm to life with rich melodies and frequent changes of tempo and mood. He himself described the work as 'thunderstorms and drums'!

The choir will be joined by a professional orchestra and soloists.

Magnus Walker (tenor) and Charles Cunliffe (bass) are both students at the Royal Academy of Music. Charles showed off his luxurious bass voice in our Spring Concert of Haydn's 'The Seasons'.

Marcus made a big impact when he stood in at short notice at the prestigious Three Choirs Festival to sing the tenor part in Elgar's The Kingdom.

Since then he has had numerous engagements including performing Britten's War Requiem with the combined Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Sofia Philarmonic.

The conductor will be Judy Martin, formerly director of music at Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin and well known to music lovers here in the South West and beyond.

The orchestral players are all professional musicians, drawn from across the South West. Many have played with the society before.

The concert will take place on Saturday, November 16, at the Minster, Axminster, at 7.30pm.

Tickets cost £15 and £12 from Archway Books, Church Street, Axminster. Tel. 01297 33595, or from members of the choir.

For further information phone 01404 881 838 or see website: Registered charity no.900458

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