Classical Music - St Cecilia’s Mass

French composer Charles Gounod is best known to modern TV-bred audiences for his impudent Funeral March of a Marionette, which was adapted for the theme music to the Alfred Hitchcock Presents show. (Listen).
To opera lovers he is also revered for his adaptations of Goethe’s Faust and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. However his first critical success came before any of these works were penned, and the praise came not from French, but from English critics, after the debut of his first serious work, the Messe Solonelle in G, nowadays known as the St Cecilia Mass, in St Martin’s Hall, London. “Within our experience,” gushed The Atheneum, “we do not remember any first appearance under parallel circumstances… It is the poetry of a new poet." Four years later the Mass was met with similar critical acclaim in Paris, and a star of classical music was born.

Tonight’s rendition of the Mass in St Leonard’s Church in Seaford is a rather unconventional affair. All-comers are invited to join the church’s well-practiced choir in this Easter rendition of Gounod’s much-loved work. There was a practice run-through of the work on April 10th; there will be a further rehearsal two hours before the performance. Those who do not wish to participate in the singing can turn up simply to listen to the main event, though it would be a pity not to join in, particularly in the crescendo and fortissimo after the second part of the Sanctus solo. Classical karaoke? Should be a scream. AL

St Cecilia, you’re breaking my heart: Charles Gounod’s Easter Mass
St. Leonard’s Church, Seaford
When? 5pm for practice, 7pm for performance.
How Much? £2 for singers and listeners alike