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Mass in Blue & Jazz Missa Brevis, January 27th, 2018

On the 27th of January, 2018 Durham Choral Society performed two choral works by the Durham-born composer Will Todd. The concert also featured performances from Voices of Hope and Durham County Youth Choir.

Our concert was the first in the Durham Vocal Festival series. The evening commenced with a superb short performance from Voices of Hope, a group based in Newcastle and 2016 winners of Radio 3's Choir of the Year

Singing at Durham Cathedral, we then performed the first of the two Will Todd pieces, the Jazz Missa Brevis. Commissioned by Portsmouth Cathedral, the Latin Mass text was arranged for choral performance with an accompaniment in the jazz style which was expertly supplied by the Will Todd Ensemble.

The second work in the concert, and in my opinion the star of the show, was Mass in Blue. This work, commissioned by Hertfordshire Chorus in 2003, uses the Latin Mass with Will weaves his magic through a jazz accompaniment that gives an affectionate nod to the cool jazz movement of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. Todd's love of liturgical tradition and jazz are brought to the fore in a piece that has now become part of the choral repertoire and deservedly so. A great night of music making.

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