Thursday, 1 November 2007

Brontë Mass by Philip Wilby

On Saturday 24 November 2007 at 7:30pm in Leeds Town Hall, the World Premiere of Brontë Mass by Philip Wilby, will be performed along with works by Vaughan Williams.The performers are the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Leeds Philharmonic Chorus, with soloist Leigh Melrose (baritone), conducted by David Hill.

Commissioned by the Leeds Philharmonic Society, Brontë Mass is divided into two halves; the first is a Memorial, comprising three sections. Charlotte Brontë’s poem The Autumn Day sets a reflective tone at the outset, which is quickly dispelled by a stormy and bell-laden setting of the Sanctus

Anne Brontë’s A Prayer, with its linked themes of faith and doubt ends this part of the composition, here set for a cappella choir and solo trumpet. The second half is celebratory in tone, opening with Emily Brontë's No Coward Soul and concluding with the Gloria.

Professor Philip Wilby is the Director of Composition Studies in the School of Music at the University of Leeds. He has worked as a professional violinist, and joined the staff at Leeds in 1972. He has received commissions from California State University-Fresno, St Paul's, Norwich and Liverpool Anglican Cathedrals, the BBC and English Northern Philharmonia.

He is well-known for his connection with brass band and church music, and has described Baroque and Classical composers as very influential - he has played in Christopher Hogwood's Academy of Ancient Music on a large number of recordings on authentic instruments.

As part of his work in the School of Music, he has reconstructed performing editions of a number of unfinished scores by Mozart, including a new edition of his Mass in C Minor K427.

Much of his work is informed by his Anglican faith: his wife is a priest and he has lived in vicarages for many years.

See what's on in Leeds International Concert Season.

Below, Philip Wilby


gsk said...

It's hard to wrap the mind around this effort, given the Bronte's firm dislike of anything "popish" or smacking of ceremony. From a letter of Charlotte Bronte:

"My advice to all Protestants who are tempted to do anything so besotted as turn Catholics, is, to walk over the sea on to the Continent; to attend mass seditiously for a time; to note well the mummeries thereof; also the idiotic, mercenary aspect of all the priests; and then, if they are still disposed to consider Papstry in any other light than a most feeble, childish piece of humbug, let them turn Papist at once -- that's all. I consider Methodism, Quakerism, and the extremes of High and Low Churchism foolish, but Roman Catholicism beats them all."

(Full disclosure, I'm a convert to Catholicism.)

Anonymous said...

I went to this event and have just found this blog article. I was appalled by the low numbers in the audience. Dis the Leeds Philharmonic Society publicise it at all? For the record, I enjoyed it.