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Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament Music Concerts

Haydn Miracle Symphony 2018

Haydn Theresienmesse 2018

Mozart Blessed Sacrament Litany 2018

Haydn Nelson Mass Concert 2017

Haydn Paukenmesse Concert 2016

Haydn Heiligmesse Concert 2015

Mozart Requiem 25.8.2013

Internationally renowned opera stars generously contributed to this benefit concert for the new CBS Music Centre. Soprano soloist was Madeline Bender, from New York. Since graduating from the Manhattan School of Music, she has taken leading roles for many opera companies, and appears on DVD under John Eliot Gardiner alongside Magdalena Kozena in the title role of Gluck’s Orpheus and Eurydice. In demand as a concert soloist, she has sung the Bach B Minor Mass with the Handel & Haydn Society; the Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and Handel’s Messiah with the Toronto Symphony under Sir Andrew Davis. Simon O’Neill came fresh from Wagner performances at La Scala and the BBC Proms, and left for Tokyo, Berlin and Covent Garden. Paul Whelan, who has sung the title roles of Don Giovanni and Eugene Onegin at the Sydney Opera House, was in NZ for a Stravinsky Soldier’s Tale, and The Flying Dutchman. They were joined by alto soloist Margot Button, a vocal graduate of the Boston Conservatory of Music. A newly refurbished Steinway concert grand piano has replaced the instrument crushed during the earthquake. Played by Michael Lawrence, it was heard for the first time in settings of Ave Maria and the Lord’s Prayer sung by Simon and Paul, and a Rachmaninov Prelude.

Bach B Minor Mass 7.9.2014

Graduate Choir, CBS Choir, Haydn Paukenmesse, 2008

John Ritchie Missa Corpus Christi, 2008


Schubert First, 2007

Two newly published major works by Schubert were given a first NZ performance by the CBS Choir and Orchestra in the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament at 3 pm on Sunday, September 9, 2007. The popular 5th Symphony was framed by premieres of his Magnificat and First Mass in F Major. Schubert’s First Mass was written in 1814, when the composer was 17, for his parish church. It is a remarkable achievement, reflecting the classical traditions maintained by his composition tutor, Kapellmeister Antonio Salieri, but filled with astonishing emotional depth, ushering in the new age of romantic expression. For the original performance, Schubert chose to conduct, assembled the singers and large orchestra from his friends, and included some delectable and difficult arias for his soprano sweetheart. The Magnificat, dating from two years later, also includes an uncommonly high soprano part for the same reason, but gives equal scope (as does the Mass) to the usual other three soloists. Again, a full symphonic grandeur and some very individual and striking harmonic touches make this a significant example of Schubert’s genius. Soloists were soprano Sue Densem, alto Ruth Close, tenor Wally Enright and bass Howard Harvey. Leader of the orchestra was David Williams, with Ellen Doyle as principal cello, and musical director was Don Whelan.

Among Schubert’s acclaimed other orchestral works, the 5th Symphony is the most charming, indebted to the formal structures of Haydn and particularly Mozart, but brimming with lovely melodies and showing some daring willingness to break the classical mould. A reduced instrumentation, dispensing with trumpets and drums, reminds the listener of Schubert’s genius as a writer of songs. This work was conducted by Grant Bartley, assistant musical director at the cathedral.