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Composer's requiem launched at seminar

By West Briton  |  Posted: January 17, 2013

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A GROUND-BREAKING choral work is to be given its premiere performance by Three Spires Singers in Truro Cathedral in March, taking a fresh look at the subject of death and our reactions to the loss of those we love.

Russell Pascoe, pictured, known to hundreds of pupils past and present as the inspirational and uniquely maverick head of music at Richard Lander School, is also a prolific composer and is deeply interested in choral music.

His Pader an Arleth, a setting of the Lord's Prayer sung in Cornish, is regularly heard and much loved.

The Church has a traditional form of Latin words for a Requiem Mass, dating back 500 years, which forms the basis of some of the greatest choral works ever written, including the famous requiems of Mozart, Fauré and Verdi.

Russell Pascoe's Requiem, while not using any biblical texts, is an honest and searching attempt to deal with contemporary responses to loss, through a mix of poems that do not require specific faith, though they do not exclude it either.

The libretto has been assembled by Anthony Pinching, former Professor of Clinical Immunology at the Peninsula College of Medicine, and includes texts by several poets including John Donne, Wilfred Owen, Thomas Hardy and Walt Whitman.

Next week, in advance of the concert Russell and Tony present a seminar on the work in Truro School Chapel, where they will describe how their inspired creative partnership developed over the months they spent teasing out exactly what they wanted to express and how the work was to be shaped.

Their journey was fascinating and led to a conclusion the audience will find moving, surprising and ultimately uplifting.

This informal seminar will also include a question-and-answer session, together with some of the contralto and baritone solos performed by Adele Berntzen and Nick Beever, and you will be invited to sing an extract or two from the choral sections of the work.

Paul Comeau will provide piano accompaniment (the Requiem is actually scored for an orchestra of over 60 musicians).

The seminar takes place on Saturday, January 26, between 9am and 1pm, and costs £12. Coffee and the choir's legendary cakes are included in the price. For more information telephone or e-mail Jenny Byatt on 07817 468807 or jennybyatt@hotmail.co.uk

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