Something of an annual, and much anticipated, event for Stondon Massey is the concert given by the Stondon Singers in memory of William Byrd, the great early music composer who died on 4 July 1623 in the Essex village. This year it will be held on Tuesday 5 July beginning at 8.00pm.
The Singers secretary writes: “We have decided to move away from the term Memorial concert to the more 'upbeat' Anniversary concert, but the underlying principle, celebrating the music of Byrd, remains the same”.
This year the concert will feature music from Tomas Luis de Victoria, who died in Madrid in 1611. The Spanish composer has a striking similarity with Byrd in that Vittoria (as his name is sometimes spelt) wrote only church music including a complete cycle of hymns for the Roman Catholic liturgical year.
The Stondon Singers return to the lovely little church of St Peter & St Paul, Stondon Massey, following their successful performance at the William Byrd Festival, for their annual celebration of the work of William Byrd and his contemporaries, and his lasting legacy into the present day.
Featured alongside works by William Byrd himself, the highlight of this year’s concert is one of the finest masses by Byrd’s contemporary, Victoria, whose ‘Missa Vidi Speciosam’ forms the central work of the first half.
Also in the concert are madrigals from the same period and contrasting works from later centuries, including an ‘Ave Maria’ by Stravinsky, works by Gabriel Jackson and Imogen Holst, plus a new anthem written specially for the Singers by Michael Aves, celebrating the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible.
Tickets for the concert cost £12 (£10 for concessions and £5 for children aged 15 and under) and are available from James Dace & Son (Chelmsford), Blackmore Post Office or any choir member. Also on the door on the night, although advance purchase is recommended