St Bride's: News - Rare Rheinberger orchestral mass on Inspire! Sunday

Updated 21/04/21: We are delighted that St Bride’s doors are now open six days a week for those wishing to worship, pray and visit (closed on Saturdays). Our two Sunday choral serices have also resumed.
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St Bride's: News

Rare Rheinberger orchestral mass on Inspire! Sunday

Rare Rheinberger orchestral mass on Inspire! Sunday

Josef Rheinberger (1839-1901) was born in Liechtenstein but spent the majority of his working life in Munich, Germany. His musical gifts were recognised early on, and he was organist of his local church in Vaduz by the age of seven.

Despite parental resistance, he took up a place to study at the Munich conservatoire, and was latterly appointed Royal Professor of organ and composition, a post he held for the rest of his career. He became an influential teacher; Engelbert Humperdinck, Richard Strauss, the conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler, some important American composers, and even physicist Max Plank all sought his tutelage.

Rheinberger was a highly successful and prolific composer with works written for multiple genre; he is now chiefly remembered for his organ and sacred music - 20 organ sonatas (he originally planned to write 24 - one for each key!) and a number of choral masses. The Mass in C, which is our setting for Inspire! Sunday on 22nd September, dates from 1891 and is the only one he wrote with orchestral accompaniment.

Rheinberger's stylistic influences ranged from contemporaries such as Brahms to composers from earlier periods such as Mendelssohn, Schumann, Schubert and, above all, Bach. He was also influenced by the Céline movement - a group advocating less complicated music and more focus on clear setting of text.

This means Rheinberger's choral music can sometimes be described as conservative or even simplistic - the vocal writing in this mass is indeed homophonic and dignified - no post-Romantic fireworks or excess here - just beautifully crafted vocal lines and delicate orchestral accompaniment.

So please join us for our Inspire! Sunday - a chance to sing your favourite hymns and an opportunity to hear St Bride's Choir and Orchestra perform this rarely heard mass as part of our liturgy.

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