Since its foundation in 1896 (when it was called Northampton Musical Society), the Choir has been known for its performances of works from the standard choral tradition of the 18th and 19th centuries – Handel’s Messiah; Fauré’s Requiem; oratorios by Mendelssohn and Elgar; masses by, amongst others, Mozart, Haydn, Brahms and Verdi. However, in more recent years Northampton Philharmonic Choir has become known for performing a much wider repertoire.
In the last twenty years, we have performed works ranging in scale from intimate a cappella songs by Edward Elgar and Arthur Sullivan through to the huge orchestral-accompanied works like Verdi’s Requiem or Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast. We have performed music by composers who have been dead for hundreds of years (such as Dietrich Buxtehude and John Wilbye), and by those who are still alive and producing new works (such as John Rutter, John Tavener and William Godfree). As well as singing in the well-recognised languages of English and Latin, we have performed works in French (such as Berlioz’s L’enfance du Christ and Fauré’s Cantique de Jean Racine), German (Bach and Mendelssohn motets), Russian (in a series of Tchaikovsky sacred songs), and Hebrew (Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms).
We have performed choral music in a wide variety of formats and styles – funeral and coronation anthems; sacred and secular motets; oratorios, masses and requiems; Christmas and Easter carols; jazz and negro spirituals; and just plain songs, sonnets and madrigals.
And of course, we still include the old favourites in our repertoire. Recent programmes have included Fauré’s Requiem, Mozart’s Requiem and Haydn’s Nelson Mass.
Composers whose works we have performed in the last 20 years include the following :
16th Century : William Byrd, G.P da Palestrina, John Wilbye
17th Century : Dietrich Buxtehude, Henry Purcell
18th Century : J S Bach, George Handel, Franz Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Giovanni-Battista Pergolesi, Antonio Vivaldi
19th Century : Ludwig van Beethoven, Hector Berlioz, Johannes Brahms, Anton Bruckner, Antonin Dvořák, Edward Elgar, Gabriel Fauré, Felix Mendelssohn, Gioachino Rossini, Franz Schubert, Charles Stanford, Arthur Sullivan, Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Giuseppe Verdi
20th Century : Leonard Bernstein, Benjamin Britten, Maurice Duruflé, George Dyson, Gerald Finzi, William Godfree, Gustav Holst, Herbert Howells, Zoltán Kodály, Olivier Messiaen, Edward Naylor, Hubert Parry, Francis Poulenc, John Rutter, George Shearing, John Tavener, Michael Tippett, William Walton, Ralph Vaughan Williams