Come and Sing with York Cantores!

Palestrina: Missa Papae Marcelli

When: Saturday, 21 October 2017 10.30am – 4.00pm

Where: St Peter’s School, Bootham, York YO30 6AB


Palestrina’s stunningly beautiful Missa Papae Marcelli is one of his most popular works.  In the mid sixteenth century the Roman Catholic Church was concerned with how best to combat the Protestant Reformation sweeping through Northern Europe. Written in around 1562 Missa Papae Marcelli can be interpreted as the response of a committed composer of church music to the threat posed by the Counter-Reformation to music in the Church. Music used in Reformed churches was more approachable for ordinary people than the complex mass settings written by some composers for ceremonies of the Roman Catholic Church.   Contemporary sources suggest that some senior churchmen became highly critical of the often florid music which obscured the liturgical meaning of the words it was meant to serve.

Palestrina’s response was this famous mass which manages to combine art and religion.  It speaks as directly today as it did in the fifteenth century. The Mass setting was dedicated in memory of Pope Marcellus II. His election to the papacy on 9 April 1555 raised hopes that the nepotism and lavish spending of the Catholic Church would be reformed, as he had long been a critic of papal excesses. But these hopes were dashed when Marcellus died just 22 days later on 1 May, probably of a stroke brought on by the demands of his new office.     

The People

The day will be led by Aljoša Škorja (Josh), a graduate of the University of Ljubljana,and the Royal Northern College of Music. Josh is rapidly establishing a reputation as an exciting choral and chamber orchestra director. Winner of the 2015 London Classical Soloists’ Conducting Competition he has a particular interest in historically informed performance. His conducting experience ranges from choral music of the Renaissance to contemporary commissions. He has been conducting York Cantores since January 2017. A veteran of ‘come and sings’ with his Church Choir at St Matthew, Chapel Allerton, this is his first one in York.

Supporting Josh will be the singers of York Cantores, one of York’s leading chamber choirs, numbering20-24 voices. 

Domestic arrangements

Venue: St Peter’s School, Bootham, York YO30 6AB

Parking: There is some car parking available at the school, and the Marygate pay and display car park is also nearby

Cost: £10 payable on the door

Provisional timetable:

Saturday 21 October:

10am                     Registration
10.30am                Rehearsal
1pm                       Lunch
2pm                      Rehearsal
3pm                      Informal Performance

Concert: there is no charge for the concert and you are warmly invited to encourage family and friends to come along.  

Refreshments: Tea and coffee will be available throughout the event. We suggest you bring a packed lunch.

Music: Vocal scores will be available to borrow against a £5 deposit. If you would prefer to bring your own score, we will be using the Chesters edition.

Application: To apply, please use the form below. Receipt of application will be acknowledged by e-mail. We will do our best to accommodate all applications. Please apply before 14 October. Late applications will be considered on a first come, first serve basis.

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