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Way of the Cross


Sun 16 Mar 2014, 3:00pm–4:15pm

Where: St Mary's Pro Cathedral, 373 Manchester St, Christchurch

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free


Listed by: Don Whelan

A performance of Liszt’s Via Crucis to mark the Lenten season will be the centrepiece of a concert at 3 pm on Sunday March 16, 2014, in St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral.

Composed in 1878 9, Via Crucis is one of the many religious choral works, which Liszt wrote towards the end of his life. It has a direct and austere style, and the text incorporates Biblical quotations, medieval Latin hymns and German chorales. Accompaniment is by piano and organ, played by Michael Lawrence and Don Whelan. Each of its movements depicts in music the traditional fourteen stations, which mark Christ’s last journey. Their realisation in painting or sculpture has become an expected part of Catholic church architecture, usually as an aid to Lenten devotions. A striking set of contemporary sculptures was commissioned from Christchurch artist Llew Summers to mark the Centenary of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in 2005. Although the originals are trapped within the desolate nave of our damaged basilica, their images will be projected onto a screen during the musical performance.

Pianist Michael Lawrence will also play two Brahms Chorale Preludes, and the CBS Choir will contribute motets by Bruckner and King John of Portugal. CBS choral and organ scholars will contribute solo vocal items, piano music by Chopin, and an organ transcription of Finlandia, by Sibelius. This seasonal concert proved very popular last year, and will feature the greatly expanded Pro-Cathedral organ, which has been transformed into a hybrid pipe and electronic instrument. Admission will be free, with a retiring collection, and all are warmly welcome.

Another interesting year of varied activity is planned for the CBS Choir and Orchestra, with preparations now underway for the regular Good Friday Bach St John Passion, more concerts, and the usual Christmas Messiah. Following their 2012 Asia tour, and a tour last year to Melbourne, they will travel this October to Napier and Hastings. Preparations are underway for travel during June / July 2015 to Ireland, England and Scotland, those interested in travel as performers or supporters are invited to make contact.

The cathedral musicians maintain an extensive repertoire of masses and motets, sung each Sunday at the 10.30 a.m. Solemn Choral Mass. New members are welcome to the 7.30 pm Wednesday evening rehearsal at Christchurch Boys’ High School. Sight reading ability is expected. A number of vacancies exist for choral leaders within the group, who enjoy unique opportunities to perform solo roles in significant Mass and motet settings with the orchestra and choir. Leadership awards, and other scholarships, worth up to $2000 per year, are available to suitable applicants. Those interested are invited to contact the CBS Musical Director, Don Whelan, phone 358-5873.

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