Keeping you updated with the latest news


13 June 2024
2023/24 season finishes at Christ Church


28 June 2023
A Rousing end to the 2022/23 Season with Viva Italia!
9 June 2023
Cathedral Visits - Summer 2023
12 May 2023
Simon Toyne appointed as our new Musical Director
20 March 2023
Dame Ethel Smyth Mass in D - A resounding success!
13 February 2023
The Ethel Smyth full score has arrived











Rossini Rave Reviews

10 July 2016

108 choir members combined with four soloists and two keyboard players to lift the roof of St Matthew’s Church last night in a performance of Rossini’s Petite messe solennelle, receiving rave reviews from all who were there for the performance.


The choir were delighted to welcome Northamptonians in the form of Eleanor Minney, our Mezzo Soprano soloist, and a regular soloist with Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s Monteverdi Choir, and the pianist, composer, lecturer, and broadcaster, David Owen Norris. Both of our keyboard instruments – an 1881 Mustel Harmonium and an 1887 Pleyel Piano (owned by David Owen Norris himself) – were constructed around the time of the composition of Rossini’s Mass (1863), and the sonorities ranged from the intimacy of a song recital, up to full blown, all-guns-blazing choruses.

Mustel Harmonium
Pleyel Piano

For what we think is the first time in the choir’s history, the singers performed in a mixed-up arrangement on stage; in other words, no-one in the choir was sat next to anyone else singing the same vocal part as them. This had been tested in rehearsal, and the whole choir committed to the brave step with great panache, and it paid off. A number of audience members commented on the quality of the tuning and the blend, and it was noticeable from the conductor’s podium how much more powerful and alive the sound was.

Adrian on the Harmonium
Quartet in Action

Rossini’s Mass is, of course, neither small – running to around 80 minutes in length, nor solemn – texts which you might expect to be the subject of awe-stricken reverence are treated with a spring in the step which often veers towards the jauntiness of operetta. And while it follows the form and Latin text of a mass (once our Musical Director had ironed out Rossini’s mistake in the Credo!), it is only occasionally that you discern any linkage to standard liturgical music: this is unquestionably the output of an opera composer sticking to what he does best.

Soprano Solo
Soloists in Full Flow

The soloists, keyboard players and choir, brought the work to life in a vivid way, and our Musical Director was congratulated by innumerable audience members after the concert for bringing the standards of the choir up to their highest level in years. We cannot wait until our next concert with him on 10 December, after our recording sessions of Fauré’s Requiem on 21/22 October, and Poulenc Gloria with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Jean-Luc Tingaud on 27 November.

Soloists Applause