Ruby Anniversary Concert November 19th 2022
The 40th year began with a special Anniversary Concert in The Crossing Church and Centre. The Chorale enjoys the privilege of having two active Presidents – Benjamin Frith, the international concert pianist and Martin Ellerby who composed a celebratory work, Mass of the Winged Lion, specially for the occasion.
Martin said “The intention of the work was to create a choral piece performable by good amateur choirs over an enhanced standard Latin Mass text, all broken down into a total of ten movements played at times with and without breaks.
The title, Mass of the Winged Lion, derives from the symbol of Mark the Evangelist whose remains were returned from Alexandria and interred in the Basilica of St Mark in Venice. A fifteen foot bonze statue of a winged lion stands at the top of a granite column in St Mark’s Square, Venice.
The St Mark angle also allows for a few poetic licences to be included at times, reflections or comments in the form of choral hymns, instrumental interludes, the Lord’s Prayer sung, and a recited poem, written by Lord Byron. These, hopefully, enhance the traditional structure and personalise it for performers and audience alike.”
Conducted by Simon Lumby, the choir gave an exhilarating performance of the new music, which had been much enjoyed in rehearsal. The complex instrumental interludes were wonderfully executed by Benjamin Frith and Heidi Rolfe on the piano and by the English Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra. Tom Corfield accompanied on the organ. This first performance was enthusiastically received by the audience.
The other items on the programme were Parry’s I was Glad and The Music Makers by Elgar with mezzo-soprano Catherine Griffiths.
The premiere of the Ellerby work was a fitting start to Ryton Chorale’s 40th year.