Viva Italia : Rossini
Petite Messe Solennelle
Saturday 9 July 2016 at 7.30pm
  Date:  Saturday 9 July 2016
  Time: 7.30pm
  Venue:  St Matthew’s Church, Kettering Road, Northampton, NN1 4RY
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In an inscription to God on the last page of the score of his Petite Messe Solennelle, Rossini described it as “the last mortal sin of my old age. Have I written music that is blessed, or just blessed music? Little knowledge and a little heart is all here. Be blest and grant me Paradise.”

Rossini always thought on the grandest scale and this Mass is neither “petite” (being some 80 minutes in length), nor “solemn” – as throughout it bubbles with wit and good humour. Its only “petite” feature lies in the forces which he demands for the accompaniment – piano and harmonium, that instrument so peculiar to France. “Solemn” to our taste it may not be, but serious it certainly is in its way. Indeed it may well be that it was Rossini who was first to pose the question “Why should the devil have all the best tunes?”

Rossini arranged a first performance on the 24th April 1865 in a private house with just twelve singers, the four soloists also singing in the choruses, and the composer “turned over” for the keyboard players. In our performance the piano will be played by Northampton born David Owen Norris, virtuoso pianist, broadcaster and composer and one of the most iconic personalities in present day English music. He will be playing on his own Pleyel Grand Piano made in 1887, almost exactly contemporaneous with Rossini’s composition.


Northampton Bach Choir
Lee Dunleavy

Adrian Moore

Adrian Moore studied music at Bristol University, where he was Organ Scholar, and at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. He is based in Leamington Spa, where he teaches piano and organ privately and at Princethorpe College. He is organist of Holy Trinity church in Leamington Spa and is very active as a solo performer, continuo player and accompanist on organ, piano and harpsichord and he is President of the Coventry and Warwickshire Organists’ Association.

Adrian is the rehearsal pianist for Collegium, the parish choir of St. Mary’s Collegiate Church, Warwick and for the Daventry Choral Society and plays regularly for the St. James’s Singers. He accompanies choirs in concerts and services in churches and cathedrals in this country and abroad and recent engagements have included playing organ for a choir in St Vitus cathedral and St Nicholas church Prague, for the Daventry Choral Society in Jersey and for the services at Truro cathedral when Sine Nomine Rugby – a choir in which he also sings – sang the services there for a week last summer and at Birmingham and Worcester cathedrals.

David Owen Norris

David Owen Norris, was born in Northampton and grew up in the village of Long Buckby. He was the first winner of the Gilmore Artist Award and as a result he has played concertos all over North America and Australia and in the BBC Proms. He broadcasts regularly and a programme entirely devoted to his work on the Elgar Piano Concerto, ending with a spectacular live performance of the whole work, has been shown several times on BBC2. Norris began his career by accompanying such artists as Dame Janet Baker, Sir Peter Pears & Jean-Pierre Rampal, and has enjoyed long-standing partnerships with Ernst Kovacic, Sir John Tomlinson, and the late Philip Langridge.

Besides this work on the modern piano, David Owen Norris is an acknowledged expert on early pianos. His discovery that the World’s First Piano Concertos were written around 1770 in London for the tiny square piano led to a complete reconsideration of that instrument, with an epoch-making recording, and concerto tours of Britain, Europe and America. His current early-piano recording projects range from Mozart to Mendelssohn, Sterndale Bennett and Brahms.

David Owen Norris’s rise as a composer is more recent. Audiences have been discovering his music through a series of major works: the oratorio Prayerbook, the Piano Concerto in C, both recorded commercially, and the Symphony; as well as smaller works, already much loved, like the song-cycles Think only this and Tomorrow nor Yesterday, the cantata STERNE, was THE MAN and the much-toured and frequently broadcast radio-opera The Jolly Roger, or Pugwash Walks the Plank, the last-named a BBC commission. Two large-scale works appeared in the autumn of 2015: Turning Points, a celebration of democracy supported financially by the Agincourt600 Committee, and HengeMusic, a multi-media piece for organ and saxophone quartet with film and poetry, supported by Arts Council England.

David Owen Norris is Professor of Musical Performance at the University of Southampton, Visiting Professor at the Royal College of Music and at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. His regular monthly columns in the BBC Music Magazine give rise to a steady flow of thoughtful correspondence.

Una Barry

Una Barry has enjoyed a busy career whereby her extensive repertoire from the baroque to the present day and her outstanding musical ability have enabled her to accept solo engagements and broadcasts not only in Britain but in many parts of the world.

Una studied initially with Eileen Poulter and then won a post-graduate scholarship to the Royal Northern College of Music to study with, amongst others, Pamela Cook and Alexander Young. With a recent move to live in West Yorkshire she continues to be coached by the retired international baritone Neil Howlett. She is an active recitalist and has sung a large range of oratorio with many of the leading choral societies and conductors in the UK and overseas.

Of her Manchester Midday Concert, the Daily Telegraph wrote...
Una Barry possesses a strong true soprano voice which is the expression of a marked intelligence and a vivid response

Eleanor Minney

Eleanor was born and educated in Kettering and studied at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music, London. On graduating she was awarded the Wilfred Greenhouse Allt Prize for Cantata and Oratorio for her performance in J S Bach’s St John Passion. She sang with the English Baroque Soloists for Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s documentary for BBCtv Bach: A Passionate Life. Other highlights include Bach’s Mass in B Minor with Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Kodaly Missa Brevis at the Royal Festival Hall, and Tavener The Beautiful Names in Istanbul’s Hagia Sofia with the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

Eleanor is a busy consort singer, with regular performances on radio and in major concert venues worldwide. She is a permanent member of the BBC Singers and performs regularly with the Monteverdi Choir, I Fagiolini, The Sixteen and Tenebrae.

She currently studies with Alison Wells.

Joseph Cornwell

Joseph Cornwell studied music at the University of York and singing at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He began his career with The Consort of Musicke, the Tallis Scholars and the Taverner Consort and has sung under such conductors as William Christie, Harry Christophers, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Trevor Pinnock and Sir Roger Norrington.

He is well known for his portrayal of roles in baroque operas, and his recordings include J S Bach St Matthew Passion, Mozart Mass in C Minor with Les Arts Florissants, Montiverdi Vespers of 1610 with the Gabrieli Consort, Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle with Jos van Immerseel (BBC Radio 3 Building a Library Choice).

Recent engagements include Monteverdi Vespers in the Bath Mozart Festival with the Gabrieli Consort and Paul McCreesh. Joseph Cornwell’s previous appearances alongside the Northampton Bach Choir included performances of Handel Dixit Dominus and Charpentier Te Deum in 1989, and Bach Mass in B Minor in March 2015.

Andrew Mayor

Andrew Mayor was born in Manchester and educated at Magdalen College School, Oxford where he sang as a chorister in the College choir. He subsequently made the small move across Magdalen Bridge to continue his studies and singing as a choral scholar at Magdalen College, singing once again in the College choir, this time as a bass.

Whilst still a treble, Andrew was asked to sing the “Angel” In Handel Jeptha with several well known singers, including John Noble and Kenneth Bowen in the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford. It was that formative experience that kindled his love of music and oratorio in particular. After Oxford and time spent in London qualifying as a solicitor, Andrew went on to study singing at the Royal Academy of Music where he received various prizes.

Andrew has performed oratorio and concerts with choral societies and groups around the UK and abroad. An early and formative experience was as the bass soloist in a performance of “Messiah from Scratch”, a popular annual event sung by numerous visiting choirs from around the UK at the Royal Albert Hall and conducted by Sir David Willcocks. Another milestone, later in his career, were performances in the Festspielhaus in Salzburg as bass soloist in Beethoven Choral Fantasia played by Maurizio Pollini with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Claudio Abbado.

Andrew enjoys singing a wide range of oratorio repertoire, a particular favourite is the title role in Elijah which he has sung in several venues, including the “Dukes Hall” at his alma mater: the Royal Academy of Music.

Andrew also has a busy operatic career. Internationally, he has taken part in a nationwide tour of the USA performing Danilo in Lehar Die lustige Witwe for Columbia Artists and toured throughout Europe singing Sharpless in Puccini Madama Butterfly and the title role in Verdi Rigoletto for Compagnia d’Opera Italiana di Milano. At the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden he sang Starveling in Britten A Midsummer Night’s Dream conducted by Richard Hickox.

Andrew has a number of other interests in addition to his singing activities. He has a CELTA qualification to teach English as a foreign language, and is a member of the British Association of Ski Instructors.

The Northampton Bach Choir are most grateful to Andrew for returning to Northampton – after his superb performance in Verdi’s Requiem earlier in the year – at short-notice as our advertised soloist, Ian Caddy, has had to withdraw on health grounds. We wish Ian a speedy recovery, and hope to see and hear him again in the future.