Benjamin Britten is the composer of the main work featured in the Durban Chamber Choir's forthcoming programme. Composed in 1943 for four-part choir and soloists with organ accompaniment, 'Rejoice in the Lamb' is a setting of passages from a remarkable text by the 18th-century English poet Christopher Smart. It is a mystical vision of all things giving glory to their creator by being what they are, from nations and languages to musical instruments and flowers and the poet's cat Jeoffrey.
Britten's setting matches the kaleidoscopic text with richly inventive musical ideas, by turns chant-like, lyrical, rhythmically complex, poignant and dramatic. Britten will also be represented on the programme by some of his arrangements of British folk songs, in which the familiar tunes sung by the solo voice are given an unexpected twist by Britten's individual style appearing in the piano accompaniments.
The rest of the programme consists of a varied selection of French music for unaccompanied choir. One group of pieces consists of music from the early and late Renaissance Franco-Flemish school of composers, represented by Josquin dez Prez and Orlandus Lassus, including the latter's famous representation of an 'Echo', where one section of the choir mimics (at a distance) everything sung by the other section. The second group features composers who were close contemporaries in the late 19th and early 20th century: Saint-Saens, Severac and Debussy.
The programme should last approximately one hour. The conductor is Christopher Cockburn and the organ accompanist is Jacques Heyns.
The Durban Chamber Choir will perform this programme at 3pm at St Thomas Church, Musgrave Road, on Sunday 18 October, and then at the Lutheran Church, Hayfields, at 3pm on Sunday 25 October. Tickets are available at the door and are R50/R30 concessions.