Season 2019-20 – Remainder of season cancelled

We are sorry not to be able to complete our series of concerts for this 2019-20 season. Plans are underway for next season but we will have to wait to see what develops. The health of members and their families, and that of audience members is paramount.

In the meantime we are keeping our spirits up and our voices in trim with Zoom meetings in place of our usual rehearsals.

We thank you for your understanding and for your past and future support.

CONCERT CANCELLED: Dixit Dominus: Saturday 25 April 2020

SACC Dixit Dominus flyer image
Click the image above to download the complete flyer

Join us to experience musical genius from the Baroque and Romantic eras

Saturday 25 April at 7:30pm, St Saviour’s Church, St Albans

George Frideric Handel: Dixit Dominus
Alessandro Scarlatti: Dixit Dominus
Felix Mendelssohn: Warum toben die Heiden (Psalm 2) Op 78 No 1
Johannes Brahms: Warum ist das Licht gegeben Op 74 No 1

Emma Huggett: soprano
Charlotte Bateman: alto

Ealing Symphony Orchestra (strings)

Conducted by: John Gibbons

George Frideric Handel was only 21 when he travelled from Hamburg to Italy to further his musical education. Moving in the best musical circles in Rome, he encountered many notable Italian musicians including the renowned Sicilian composer Alessandro Scarlatti whose four-part setting of Psalm 110, Dixit Dominus (The Lord said unto my lord) may have been the source of inspiration – or perhaps of competition – for Handel’s large-scale virtuosic setting commissioned by the eminent Cardinal Colonna in 1707.

Felix Mendelssohn was, like Handel, a musical prodigy and prolific composer. Not only did he single-handedly rescue the work of JS Bach from obscurity in the early nineteenth century, but he also preserved the memory of Handel by editing and performing his music in concerts. Mendelssohn’s setting of Psalm 2 Warum toben die Heiden (Why do the heathen rage?) composed for Berlin Cathedral Choir for Christmas 1843 shows the influence of both composers.

As musical director of the Vienna Musikverein in the 1870s, Johannes Brahms also championed Baroque music, programming works by Handel in his concert series and serving on the editorial board of the Complete Bach Edition. The influence of JS Bach is evident in his 1877 motet Warum ist das Licht gegeben dem Mühseligen? (Why has light been given to the miserable?).

Please join us afterwards for drinks and party nibbles in the church hall

Tickets £15 (£5 child/student)

Call 07570 454744 or e-mail tickets@stalbanschamberchoir.org.uk

or buy online at TicketSource

Book now

Spanish Mystics: Saturday 1 February 2020

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Spanish Mystics

Join us to experience the mystical music, literature and art of Spain’s Golden Age

Saturday 1 February at 7:30pm, St Saviour’s Church, St Albans.

Tomás Luis de Victoria: Vespers

Geoffrey Burgon: Dos Coros

Geoffrey Burgon: Nunc Dimittis

with readings from the writings of St Teresa of Ávila
and St John of the Cross

Louisa Kataria: saxophone

Conducted by John Gibbons

The Spanish mystics were influential reformers of the Roman Catholic Church in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spain. They were also the authors of spiritual masterpieces, attempting to express in words the soul’s deep longing to be united with God.

Dos Coros (1975) by Geoffrey Burgon is a choral setting of two poems by St John of the Cross (1542-1591), widely considered to be the greatest of the Spanish mystic poets. St John and his spiritual mentor St Teresa of Ávila (1515-1582) – herself a significant writer – founded new convents and monasteries throughout Spain dedicated to a simple, austere and meditative life.

Spanish mysticism also finds expression in the music of the greatest Spanish composer of the Golden Age of Polyphony, Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611). The Second Vespers of the Feast of the Annunciation is a collection of ten significant pieces of sacred music devoted to the Virgin Mary, published in Rome between 1581 and 1583. They might have been used at the Vesper (evening) service on the Feast of the Annunciation (25 March).

We are delighted to welcome saxophonist Louisa Kataria to perform Geoffrey Burgon’s Nunc Dimittis with us. This piece was written in 1979 for the BBC’s acclaimed dramatization of John le Carré’s novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

The music will be interspersed with readings from the mystic poets while images by the great religious painter Domenikos Theotokopoulos (El Greco) (1541-1614) – another Roman Catholic reformer and mystic – will be displayed.

Please join us afterwards for drinks and party nibbles in the church hall

Tickets £15 (£5 child/student)

Call 07570 454744 or e-mail tickets@stalbanschamberchoir.org.uk

or buy online at TicketSource

Book now

Hail! Bright Cecilia: Saturday 23 November 2019

Hail! Bright Cecilia

Saturday 23 November at 7:30pm, St Peter’s Church, St Albans.

Twentieth and twenty-first-century British composers celebrate the patron saint of music.

Benjamin Britten: Hymn to St Cecilia

James MacMillan: Cecilia Virgo

Ralph Vaughan Williams: Silence and Music

and music by Bliss, Dyson, Gardner, Howells, Jackson and Walton

Samantha Cobb – soprano
Martin Stacey – organ

Conducted by John Gibbons

The legendary Christian saint, Cecilia, suffered martyrdom in Rome around 230 AD. It was said that she sang to God as she was dying, leading the Catholic Church to adopt her as the patron saint of music and musicians.

Her feast day has been celebrated on 22 November since the fourth century and for many centuries has been the occasion for concerts and music festivals, resulting in a large number of pieces dedicated to her.

Benjamin Britten, himself born on St Cecilia’s Day, composed his own Hymn to St Cecilia in 1942, setting WH Auden’s poem Anthem for St Cecilia’s Day. The broadcast of this work in 1946 prompted the Musicians Benevolent Fund (now Help Musicians UK) to revive the tradition of an annual service of celebration for St Cecilia in London. Our concert includes three works commissioned for this festival over the years: Sir George Dyson’s Live for ever, glorious Lord (1952), John Gardner’s A song for St Cecilia’s Day (1973) and Sing, mortals! (1974) by Sir Arthur Bliss.

The Choir of Royal Holloway College, London also holds an annual St Cecilia concert and we feature two of their commissions. James MacMillan uses a Latin text dating from the 1500s in his Cecilia Virgo (2012), while Gabriel Jackson’s La Musique uses French and English texts and was jointly commissioned by the choir and Dame Felicity Lott in 2013.

Where does the uttered music go? by Sir William Walton sets words by Poet Laureate John Masefield. It was written for the unveiling of a memorial window to Sir Henry Wood, founder of the Proms, in the church of St Sepulchre-without-Newgate in London on 26 April 1946.

Ralph Vaughan Williams’ setting of his new wife Ursula’s poem Silence and Music is part of A Garland for the Queen, a cycle of part-songs commissioned from leading British composers by the Arts Council of Great Britain to honour Queen Elizabeth II in her Coronation Year (1953).

Herbert Howells also uses words by Ursula Vaughan Williams in his A Hymn for St Cecilia (1961), commissioned by the Worshipful Company of Musicians to mark his Mastership of the Company in 1959–60.

Please join us afterwards for drinks and party nibbles in the Octagon.

Tickets £15 (£5 child/student)

Call 07570 454744 or e-mail tickets@stalbanschamberchoir.org.uk

or buy online at TicketSource

Book now

A Sea Symphony: Saturday 12 October 2019

Click the image to download the flyer

A Sea Symphony

Saturday 12 October at 7:30pm, St Albans Cathedral

St Albans Chamber Choir joins its fellow members of the St Albans St Cecilia Festival Society – The Hardynge Choir, Radlett Choral Society and St Albans Symphony Orchestra – and Vivamus in St Albans Abbey to perform music with a nautical theme:

Ralph Vaughan WilliamsA Sea Symphony – which sets text from Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass

Benjamin BrittenDawn and Sunday Morning from Peter Grimes

Benjamin BrittenFanfare for St Edmundsbury

Jonathan DoveSeaside Postcards – sung by a Massed Children’s Choir from across Hertfordshire

The post of conductor for this biennial concert is rotated among the member organisations. This year it is the turn of Rufus Frowde, Musical Director of The Hardynge Choir. Rufus read music at Oxford University and is currently Organist and Assistant Director of Music at the Chapel Royal, Hampton Court Palace.

TICKETS (£28 – £10) are available from St Albans Cathedral either online at stalbanscathedral.org/Event/a-sea-symphony or from the Cathedral Box Office (tel 01727 890290) located in the Gift Shop and open 10 am–4.45 pm Monday – Friday, 10 am–3.45 pm Saturday and 1 pm–5 pm Sunday