ASMF & the Royal Choral Society – Basingstoke

10 February 2024, 19:30
The Anvil, Basingstoke

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10 February
The Anvil, Basingstoke

The Royal Choral Society, accompanied by Academy of St Martin in the Fields, presents a double bill of Mozart’s distinguished pieces. Mozart composed two of his greatest works during the last months of his short life. His hauntingly beautiful Requiem was commissioned by a stranger and unfinished at the composer’s death. His pupil Franz Süßmayr’s first ‘completion’ has been challenged by scholars, and in this concert, the Royal Choral Society will perform the version by Mozart scholar Franz Beyer.

Whichever edition performers use, the entirety of the work in all cases reveals the full scope of Mozart’s genius and depth of expression up to his very last days. Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto – his final orchestral work, and perhaps the greatest concerto written for any wind instrument – is full of rapturous melody and intense harmony. Composed for his friend Anton Stadler, the work showcases the profoundly expressive range of this instrument, especially in the sublime second movement. Mozart himself said of Stadler’s playing “nobody with a heart could resist it”. Clarinettist James Burke will be emulating his predecessor in this glorious work.

The concert opens with Haydn’s stirring motet Insanae et vanae curae. This is the first visit to The Anvil by the Royal Choral Society, one of Britain’s largest symphonic choirs, which recently celebrated its 150th anniversary. The choir has been performing choral masterpieces ever since its formation for the opening of the Royal Albert Hall in 1871, including the UK première of Verdi’s Requiem in 1875, conducted by Verdi himself.

Haydn Insanae et Vanae Curae
Mozart Clarinet Concerto in A major, K.622
Mozart Requiem in D minor, K. 626

Royal Choral Society
Academy of St Martin in the Fields
Richard Cooke Conductor
James Burke Clarinet
Ana Beard Fernández Soprano
Rebecca Afonwy-Jones Mezzo-Soprano
Robin Bailey Tenor
William Gaunt Bass