On Wings of Hope, Saturday 9th March 2024, 7:30pm

A concert of hope and optimism with uplifting pieces of music from European composers spanning the 19th and 20th centuries, including Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending, composed in 1914 and most commonly heard in the orchestral version with beautiful solo violin. Paul Drayton’s arrangement transcribes the orchestral accompaniment into an intricate vocal web using the words of the poem by George Meredith that were the inspiration for the original work. Regularly in the top three of the Classic FM ‘Hall of Fame’, the work is also used heavily in film and TV, even as accompaniment to a poignant moment in Coronation Street.  

Swiss composer Frank Martin’s Mass for Double Choir, written in 1922, is one of the great masterpieces of unaccompanied choral music. Fervently religious, Martin initially considered it as a work just for himself and God and kept it in a drawer. Only in the 1960s was it premiered. 

In the 1930s George Lloyd was hailed, alongside Britten, as one of the great talents of the age. He nearly died during WWII as a Royal Marine on HMS Trinidad doing Arctic Convoys to Murmansk. His late setting of Psalm 130 ‘Out of the deep have I cried unto thee’ is a poignant and deeply beautiful reminiscence of his experiences of surviving the sinking of his ship, the loss of comrades and the fragility of life.  

The final piece is Stanford’s wonderful setting of the Magnificat, in Latin, for double choir. Known in Cathedrals for many arrangements of the Evening Canticles, this version is notable for its luxurious sound world, soaring melodies and rich harmonic textures. A glorious statement of hope and light in a world full of darkness. 

Vaughan Williams/Paul Drayton – The Lark Ascending
Frank Martin – Mass for double choir
George Lloyd – Psalm 130
Stanford – Magnificat for double choir

Tickets £25/20/10/6 – as this concert will be in St Albans Abbey tickets are available at https://www.stalbanscathedral.org/Event/st-albans-chamber-choir-on-wings-of-hope

St Albans Chamber Choir
Lady Chapel, St Albans Cathedral
Sumpter Yard, St Albans, AL1 1BY
Saturday 9 March 2024