Collegium Laureatum at West Road Concert Hall

Collegium Laureatum at West Road Concert Hall
Collegium Laureatum - Dvorak Mass in D and Faure Requiem
collegium laureatum

Cambridge vocal ensemble Collegium Laureatum return this weekend with a performance of Dvorak's Mass in D, Fauré's Cantique de Jean Racine, and the same composer's great Requiem. Conducted by their musical director Ian Cobb with Richard Sands at the organ, the performance also features Augusta Hebbert and Edward de Mickwitz as soloists.

Dvorak wrote his Mass in D major in 1886, but his publisher refused the work because the original scoring was for choir and organ. However, the London firm Novello accepted it on condition that he provide an orchestrated version as well, which he did in 1892. Collegium Laureatum will perform the orginal version, with organ accompaniment. Following Fauré's Cantique de Jean Racine (dedicated to to Cesar Franck, who conducted the first performance at the Societe Nationale on 15 May 1875) will be Fauré's Requiem. Collegium Laureatum hope not to have to be as careful inviting you to this performance as Fauré was when he invited his friends to the first (unfinished) version, sung at a funeral. In his invitation for this somewhat unofficial premiere, Fauré wrote: 'I shall be performing my Requiem at 4.30 tomorrow, if you are passing the door, just drop in. Ask my friends not to sit together in case it begins to look like a performance! You must look as if you are there by chance...'

Collegium Laureatum was formed in 1974 by Don Neville as a group of graduate students and fellows of Corpus Christi College, who, with their wives and others, gathered around a piano once a week to sing madrigals (hence the origin of the choir's name, which may be translated as 'Society of Graduates' – despite the fact that the choir has largely become 'town' rather than 'gown', the name has stuck).

The choir grew rapidly in the mid-1970s putting on regular public concerts, and outgrowing its college basis, both in terms of membership and venues. It was fortunate to secure the services of Ian Cobb as Musical Director in 1980. The choir gives at least three concerts each year, mainly in Cambridge, and gave the World Premiere of Fiat Lux, a specially commissioned work by Ian Kellam, in St Edmundsbury Cathedral. This premiere was followed by further performances in St Alban's Abbey and St Martin's-in-the-fields, London.

Membership of the choir currently stands at about 110 people and is open to singers of all abilities, performing a wide range of classical choral music.