Concerts

Next Concert

 

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Sunday 25 February 2018

Please note change of date & time

St Peter’s Church 8.00pm

– Songs of Farewell – 

Alfred Desenclos – Messe de Requiem

Hubert Parry – Songs of Farewell

Michael Tippett – Spirituals from A Child of Our Time

Max Reger – O Tod, wie bitter bist du 

A concert reflecting the response by composers to tragic events that changed the course of world history

Hubert Parry (1848-1918), like many composers, was in despair when the First World War broke out and experienced great grief and anger at the human cost. His set of six Songs of Farewell was written towards the end of his life and can be seen as his farewell to the rapidly vanishing world of his youth. They are: My soul, there is a country; I know my soul hath power to know all things; Never weather-beaten sail; There is an old belief; At the round earth’s imagined corners; and Lord, let me know mine end. Common to all the texts are the contrasting themes of the transitory nature of life and the redeeming power of faith.

Max Reger (1873-1916) described his motet O Tod, wie bitter bist du (Oh death, how bitter you are) as “a shockingly sad work with a transfiguring conclusion”. The piece encompasses a wide range of emotions from grief to hope.

Michael Tippett (1905-1998) wrote the Spirituals from the oratorio A Child of our time (1941) to evoke not only the torments of Jews in Europe during the Second World War but also those of anyone “rejected, cast out from the centre of our society onto the fringes: into slums, into concentration camps, into ghettos.” The five Spirituals are: Steal away; Nobody knows; Go down, Moses; By and by; and Deep river.

In the aftermath of the Second World War, composers such as Alfred Desenclos (1912-1971) were inspired to write music on the theme of remembrance and loss. His Messe de Requiem (1963) follows in the distinguished French Requiem tradition of Saint-Saëns, Faurė and Duruflė. It incorporates influences from Gregorian chant with rich, more modern harmonies to create an atmosphere of contemplative serenity, and counts among the most significant pieces of religious choral music of the 20th century. 

Christopher Cromar was born in Scotland and educated at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Chetham’s School of Music and the Conservatoire Supėrieur de Paris. He now works extensively as a conductor, pianist and organist on the concert platform and as a repetiteur and vocal coach for leading opera companies, choirs (including the BBC Singers and Halle Choir) and distinguished soloists.

Christopher has also pursued a career as a concert organist giving many recitals in Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Cathedral, King’s College, Cambridge and Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris and also in Germany, the Netherlands, Greece and the USA.

TICKETS        £15 (£5 child/student)

BOOKING       tel 07570 454744; email tickets@stalbanschamberchoir.org.uk;

Or online directly at TicketSource

Book now



Season 2017-18

John Gibbons conductor


Our 2017-18 concert season begins in October with a joint concert of Russian music with Radlett Choral Society, Hardynge Choir and St Albans Symphony Orchestra, including Rachmaninov’s famous work The Bells.

Music was present in every aspect of life in the Tudor period, particularly at the royal court where the monarch maintained a Chapel Royal of the highly skilled musicians to perform at public and private events and religious worship. In December, we present religious music written in the reigns of Henry VIII, Mary 1, Elizabeth 1 and James 1 by eminent composers such as Thomas Tallis, William Byrd and Orlando Gibbons for church services on Christmas Day.

Our February concert on the theme of farewell and loss contains nineteenth and twentieth century masterpieces by British, French and German composers, including Parry’s Songs of Farewell, a set of six motets written during the First World War as the composer sensed his life was drawing to a close.

In April we present dramatic motets and cantatas written by JS Bach for performance at Easter and Ascension in Leipzig’s principal churches. The programme includes Christ lag in Todes Banden, Bach’s earliest cantata, written when he was just 22.

The season ends with a midsummer celebration of light and love, featuring settings by English composers of religious texts, proverbs and poetry spanning the ages. The centrepiece is Vaughan William’s Epithalamion which uses words written in 1594 by the poet Edmund Spenser.



Concerts

Saturday 14 October 2017

St Albans Cathedral 7.30pm

– St Albans St Cecilia Festival Society Concert –

Sergei Rachmaninov – The Bells (in English)

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky – 1812 Overture (choral version)

Alexander Borodin – Polovtsian Dances

Dmitri  Shostakovich – October

 

TICKETS are available from St Albans Cathedral:
• Online at www.stalbanscathedral.org/whatson
• From the Cathedral Box Office located in the Gift Shop
(Opening hours 10 am–4.45 pm Monday to Friday,
10 am–3.45 pm on Saturday and 1 pm–5 pm on Sunday;
or telephone 01727 890290 ).


Saturday 9 December 2017

St Peter’s Church 7.30pm

A Tudor Christmas

A concert of sacred choral music composed for Christmastide with seasonal readings

conducted by John Gibbons

Thomas Tallis – Missa Puer natus est nobis

Orlando Gibbons – See, see the Word is incarnate

William Byrd – O magnum mysterium

John Sheppard – Verbum caro factum est

Richard Pygott – Quid petis, O fili?

Robert Ramsey – Sleep, fleshly birth

with other works by Byrd and Tallis

 


Sunday 25 February 2018

– Please note change of date & time –

St Peter’s Church 8.00pm

– Songs of Farewell – 

Alfred Desenclos – Messe de Requiem

Hubert Parry – Songs of Farewell

Michael Tippett – Spirituals from A Child of Our Time

Max Reger – Ach, Herr, strafe mich nicht 


Saturday 28 April 2018

St Saviour’s Church 7.30pm 

Festive Bach  – from Passiontide to Ascension 

J S Bach – Christ lag in Todesbanden (BWV 4) 

J S Bach – Gott fähret auf mit Jauchzen (BWV 43)

J S Bach – Ein Herz, das seinen Jesum lebend weiß (BWV 134)


Saturday 30 June 2018

St Saviour’s Church 7.30pm

Light and Love – 

Ralph Vaughan Williams – Epithalamion

William Alwyn – Pastoral fantasia for viola and strings

Cecilia McDowall – Ad lucem – a canticle of light



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