Epiphany, Saturday 6th January 2024, 3pm

The programme for this performance will include:

Thomas Tallis – Mass Puer natus est nobis
Arnold Bax – I sing of a maiden
Praetorius/Sandstrom – Es ist ein Ros entspungen
George Lloyd – Invocation to the Virgin Mary
Morten Lauridsen – O Magnum Mysterium
Peter Cornelius – The 3 Kings
Clemns non Papa – Magi veniunt ab oriente
Marenzio/Palestrina – Tribus Maraculis
Peter Warlock – Bethlehem Down
Elizabeth Poston – Jesus Christ the apple tree
John Tavener – The Lamb
Howard Goodall – Romance of the Epiphany
arr. Ralph Allwood – Jingle Bells
arr. Andrew Carter – 12 days of Christmas

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St Albans Chamber Choir
St Saviour’s Church
Sandpit Lane, St Albans, AL1 4DF
Saturday 6 January 2024

Freedom and Remembrance, Saturday 11th November 2023, 7:30pm

The programme for this performance will include Poulenc Figure Humaine and Fauré Requiem.

A note taken in interview with our Musical Director:

Poulenc Figure Humaine is one of the great pieces of the 20th century, and it’s even more extraordinary that it was composed in 1943 in occupied France, and whether it’s capturing a sense of despair but the hope as well of what was going on, what life must have been like in France at that time, but it contains so many beautiful moments of music and then some of real terror. And then this incredible finale, which is Liberté, and it’s like a chance to express that desire to be free in the midst of occupation, which is quite extraordinary.

And coupled with that, the one of the great requiems of all time. Not a loud bombastic piece, but a piece much more about hope and light Fauré’s Requiem, which is just such a beautiful piece of music of such hope. And I know for so many people it’s one of the top requiems with that incredibly beautiful finale In Paradisum, where the sound just floats as if heavenward. And it’s amazing how it creates this effect at the very end of it, almost having left the Earth, with the bassist singing the fifth of the chord and not the root of the chord so the music is suspended in the air.” – John Gibbons

This concert falls on Remembrance weekend and pays homage to all those who have served their country in times of conflict.

Performed by the BBC Singers at this year’s Proms Poulenc’s Figure Humaine is described as ‘one of the most striking works of contemporary choral music’. Completed in 1943 during the Nazi Occupation of France, the work was based on anti-war poems written by Paul Éluard and completed in just 6 weeks.

Scored for 2 six-part choirs, the Cantata describes the misery and terror of conflict using breath-taking and often complex musical variety and expression, culminating in a climactic hymn to freedom.

In contrast to the dramatic and passionate anti-war masterpiece, we turn to the calmer but equally influential French choral work Fauré’s Requiem. Said to have composed it for pleasure and not as a tribute to his Father’s death, Fauré maintains a positive and comforting mood, focusing the work on redemption and the entrance to heaven, rather than the oppression of death. The piece was even played at his own funeral in 1924.

We are joined by members of Ealing Symphony Orchestra and Bass-Baritone Andrew Jarvis whose credits include singing at the Royal Opera House and duets with Katherine Jenkins at the Royal Albert Hall annual Festival of Remembrance.

Please join us at the back of the church for nibbles and drinks post concert.

A full programme booklet will be available on the door.

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St Albans Chamber Choir
St Saviour’s Church
Sandpit Lane, St Albans, AL1 4DF
Saturday 11 November 2023

Sounds of Summer, 2nd July 2023

Details of our summer concert 2023
Click image for full details

This concert takes us away from sacred choral works and delves into a world of folksongs, love songs, a unicorn, a robin and The Beatles!

Full of drama and character, Who killed Cock Robin?, by the English composer Jonathan Dove, takes the 18th century rhyme and inventively retells the witty story. The Beatles also gets a shake up with And I love her, Yesterday and Let it be set for choir by our own conductor John Gibbons.

An exception amongst the mainly English compositions in this concert is Unicornis Captivatur by Ola Gjeilo, a Norwegian composer. This piece, written in 2001, was inspired by a compilation of medieval chants found in a monastery. Ola explains, “I was greatly inspired by the colourful and powerful symbolism and just the sheer drama, joy and sense of triumph… with a wild medieval Latin text that includes a unicorn, lion, and a crocodile.”

Even the weather, the most quintessentially English of topics, is sung about in Bob Chilcott’s energetic and quirky piece, Weather Report.

Please join us after the concert for summer refreshments in the hall and garden.

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St Albans Chamber Choir
St Saviour’s Church
Sandpit Lane, St Albans, AL1 4DF
Sunday 2 July 2023

Singing in the Reign, 29th April 2023

Music for a Coronation

With the impending Coronation of King Charles III, this concert celebrates uplifting and joyous music.  We take a look at pieces from coronations dating back to James II in 1685, with music from Boyce, Purcell, Blow, Clarke and of course Handel. Handel’s setting of Zadok the Priest has been used at every coronation since George II in 1727, so will be in this line up but along with a few surprises. We look forward to seeing you there

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St Albans Chamber Choir
St Saviour’s Church
Sandpit Lane, St Albans, AL1 4DF
Saturday 29 April 2023

Rachmaninoff Vespers, 4th March 2023

Vespers in The Lady Chapel, St Albans Cathedral

Composed in early 1915, which was a time of great political upheaval in Russia and across the world, Rachmaninoff creates a reflective and deeply moving set of Vespers inviting a call for the resolution of conflict through prayer. An unaccompanied piece, he uses the choir as the orchestra, to divide and merge and create ethereal harmonies full of richness and colour with an impressive bass sound. Described as ‘the greatest achievement of the Russian Orthodox Church’, it is loved by singers and audiences alike. The call for resolution in conflict is still much needed and it’s an honour to be performing Rachmaninoff Vespers in the tranquil surroundings of the 14th century Lady Chapel of St Albans Cathedral. A huge work, full of tradition and emotion, yet aspiration for a resolution to conflict in a difficult time which still resonates today.

The programme stays in the Romantic period with Mendelssohn Der zweite Psalm and Mahler Ich bin der Welt and dips into Renaissance for Allegri Miserere, originally solely sung in the Sistine Chapel.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Tickets £26 / £16 / £6 students and companions of wheelchair users
Available now from Rachmaninoff Vespers | St Albans Cathedral

A Celebration of Christmas, 10th December 2022

Celebrating Christmas with music and festive nibbles

Click the above image to download details

Clocks have gone back, nights are drawing in and Christmas is coming. Our Christmas concert is a real celebration of glorious festive music this year telling the Christmas story with A Ceremony of Carols by Britten and O Magnum Mysterium by Morten Lauridsen and ending with Love Divine by Howard Goodall.

The concert is at St Peter’s on Saturday 10th December at a new time of 3pm so you can pop along after some Christmas shopping and join us for mulled wine and festive nibbles after the concert. There will be both traditional and modern carols so little ones will recognise some and are more than welcome.

Tickets are now available.

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