Saturday, April 13, 2013

Schola Tour of Poland: Part 3

The closing days of the Poland Tour were especially memorable, involving the Schola singing several services, one live on Polish National TV,  and a concert in Krakow.

On the Friday morning we traveled to Corpus Christi Church in Krakow, to sing for Mass and gave a short recital afterwards. Corpus Christi is a 15th Century church attached to a monastery and the snow made for a dramatic setting as the Schola walked from the cloisters to the church to sing the Mass.

It was colder inside the church than outside but the Schola sang very beautifully nonetheless, including a mass setting by Palestrina, some chant, a Regina Coeli (conducted by a member of the choir) and O Sacrum Convivium by Tallis. At the end of Mass we gave a short recital, including Handel's Zadok the Priest.

That evening we sang a concert in St Katherine's Church, Krakow. We were fortunate to have a large and appreciative audience, including a local School Choir, who opened the concert with a Polish National Song. The audience were especially charmed that no fewer that three members of the choir were able to speak to them in Polish!

The programme of the concert was as follows:

Zadok The Priest HWV 258
Zadok the Priest
And all the people rejoic’d
God save the king

George Frederick Handel (1685-1759)

Civitas sancti tui
William Byrd (1540-1623)

Crucifixus a 8
Antonio Lotti (1667-1740)

O Vos Omnes
Pablo Casals (1876-1973)

Exultate Deo
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1525-1594)

Ye Choirs of New Jerusalem
Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924)

ORGAN SOLO - Prelude in C, JS Bach (1685-1750)

Ave Maria
Edward Elgar (1857-1934)

Hymn to the Virgin
Benjamin Britten (1913-1975)

Ave Maris Stella
Edvard Grieg (1843-1907)

Ave Maria
Anton Bruckner (1824-1896)

The King Shall Rejoice HWV 259
The King shall rejoice
Exceeding glad shall he be
Glory and worship
Thou hast prevented him

Here are two videos from the concert:

O Vos Omnes, Pablo Casals

A Hymn to the Virgin, Britten

The following morning, Saturday, we rested in the hotel prior to traveling to the Divine Mercy Sanctuary. This modern Basilica, opened in 2002 by John Paul II, is the resting place of Sister Faustina, who received the revelation of Divine Mercy. The Schola sang for mass on the Saturday evening, which served as useful experience for the following morning's live TV broadcast.

Sunday morning we were up early to travel to the Sanctuary where they were expecting thousands of pilgrims. By the time we arrived there were already many thousands of people there and as Mass approached we had difficultly even getting into the Cathedral through the extraordinary throng of people.

The Mass was celebrated by Cardinal Dziwisz, former personal aide of Pope John Paul II and now Archbishop of Krakow. With 5000 people crammed into the Cathedral and live on Polish TV, the Mass began with the Schola singing Misericordia Domine by Durante, a piece prepared for the occasion, before the choir returned to its more familiar repertoire for the remainder of the service.

The entire service (lasting over an hour and a half!) can be seen on this Youtube video.

Here are some screen shots from the broadcast:

The remainder of the final day was spent exploring more of Krakow and doing last-minute shopping before we went to a restaurant for our final evening dinner. There we were entertained by traditional Polish dancers and musicians - this video captures something of the atmosphere that evening!

The boys made presentations to the staff and gave some very gracious speeches, thanking everyone involved in the trip.

The following morning we traveled back to London. Very many thanks to all involved in what was a wonderful and very memorable week in Poland. Poland itself proved to be a magical location and it was especially wonderful to be singing the Latin music the Schola learns in such a pious, Catholic country. Particular thanks to the staff, Mr Jackson, Miss Wilby, Mr Evans (who accompanied wonderfully as always) and Fr Dominic who added a very welcome spiritual presence.  And huge thanks to the Schola which was focused, hard working, remarkably cooperative and incredibly positive the entire week, always giving of their best and singing very beautifully in often difficult (and certainly cold!) circumstances!

There will be more photographs of the trip available very shortly on the Schola's website


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