Sax & the City: 20 October 2018, St Saviour’s Church @ 7:30pm

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Contemporary music for saxophone and voices.

In the 1840s, Belgian instrument maker Adolphe Sax set out to invent an instrument that could combine the agility of the woodwinds with the power of the brass instruments, to fill the vacant middle ground between the two sections. The result was the saxophone, nowadays said to be the instrument that most closely resembles the human voice in terms of richness of harmonics and expressivity.

Our concert showcases three pieces for alto saxophone and voices, along with two choral works by our president, Will Todd, and other lighter pieces with a city theme.

Timepieces – Three Auden Lyrics (2011) by Ian Stephens sets three poems by WH Auden (Domesday Song, Our bias and Funeral Blues) for alto saxophone and SATB choir.

Richard Sisson set Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem Pied Beauty for the choir of Merton College Oxford in celebration of their 750th anniversary in 2015. It uses alto saxophone and organ.

Vocalise (1915) by Sergei Rachmaninoff is a song without words, sung using any one vowel of the singer’s choosing, and has been has been arranged for many different instrument combinations. We will be performing it in an SATB arrangement with alto saxophone and piano.

Will Todd’s Angel Song II (2008) is part of a larger choral work inspired by the idea of voices from heaven. It is another wordless piece; the text is designed to create the echo of the word ‘hosanna’ but with no consonants, so that the music feels as if it comes from ‘on high’.

Songs of Love (2012) sets three works by the Greek neo-romantic poet Maria Polydouri:  I Love You, A Kiss and I Sing Because.

The lighter pieces in the programme include arrangements of Tony Hatch’s Downtown, New York, New York by John Kander and Fred Ebb and The House of the Rising Sun (trad.)

Conducted by John Gibbons

Isabel Kernthaler       saxophone

Nicholas Robinson       organ and piano

Rachmaninov Vespers – Sat 17 May – Cathedral

Don’t miss this chance to hear one of the great choral classics, Rachmaninov’s  All-Night Vigil, better known as his Vespers.

Based on traditional Russian Orthodox chants and plumbing the depths of vocal range, the Vespers are wonderfully evocative and full of musical invention.  The programme also contains works by Tavener, Pärt and Messiaen.


Pole Stars Sat 1 March 2014

Join us in exploring some of the best in Polish music – from the ‘Polish Handel’, the 17th century composer Gorczycki, to the acclaimed Górecki and Szymanowski of more recent years, this is a programme to surprise and delight.  St Saviour’s Church, St Albans, 7.30pm tickets

Don’t miss His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts! Sat 7 Dec

Our Christmas concert is a great chance to hear the internationally renowned His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts, a group of virtuoso wind players who specialise in playing Renaissance and Baroque music in historically appropriate styles on original instruments.  As well as accompanying the Chamber Choir in Schütz’s The Christmas Story and some other pieces, the group will also perform on their own.

 The noble sound of cornetts and sackbuts was among the most versatile instrumental colours available to composers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, heard in many musical contexts: in the extravagant liturgy of the great Italian and Spanish churches (above all the Basilica of St Mark’s in Venice), in aristocratic entertainments across Europe and in the devotional music of Lutheran Germany.

“HMSC is the pre-eminent early brass group … very impressive.”

Audience member, Berkeley, February 2012

Saturday 7 December 7.30pm     St Saviour’s Church, St Albans

Full details on Concerts page

Will Todd for President!

St Albans Chamber Choir is proud to announce that the young British composer and jazz pianist WILL TODD is the new Choir President.   Following the performance of Will’s thrilling Mass in Blue last season, the Choir hopes to preform more of Will’s music next season.