Welcome to the 51st season of St Albans Chamber Choir.


Saturday 17 October 2009 at 7.30pm – St Albans Abbey


St Cecilia Festival Society
Verdi Requiem
Verdi’s dramatic and powerful setting of the Requiem text ensures an evening of high emotional intensity and vivid drama in the magnificent setting of St Albans Abbey.
Tickets are available from 0845 058 3912 (local call rate) or by e-mail - click here (this concert only)

Saturday 12 December 2009 at 7.30pm – All Saints Pastoral Centre, London Colney


This Worldes Joie
An evening of richly atmospheric music foretelling and then celebrating the birth of Christ in the sumptuous acoustic of All Saints Pastoral Centre chapel. Guest saxophonist David Wigram adds a distinctively rich sound palette to the sounds of unaccompanied choral singing.

Peace

Saturday 26 June 2010 - All Saints Pastoral Centre

John Gibbons Conductor
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For the St Albans Chamber Choir’s summer concert, Musical Director John Gibbons once again draws together an inspiring programme of varied music from the Renaissance to the present day, much of it rarely performed. Randall Thompson was one of the great American composers of the twentieth century. The Peaceable Kingdom was inspired by the painting of the same name by the nineteenth-century American artist Edward Hicks. Pro Pace, a cycle of three unaccompanied Latin Motets, by John Joubert is a beautiful work of great emotional power. These pieces were performed between the movements of Josquin des Prez's Missa Da Pacem.
The Missa da Pacem, although often attributed to Josquin des Prez (c. 1440–1521), has been the centre of much scholarly debate as to whether it really is the work of the great Franco-Flemish Renaissance composer. However, this wonderful work, based on the chant melody “Da pacem” (“give peace”), certainly ranks among the polyphonic masterpieces of the early 16th century.
John Joubert (born 1927) is one of the most respected and distinguished of senior British composers. His three Pro Pace Motets, though written at different times, form a triptych on the subject of peace. The first, composed in 1955, is a setting of a 9th century Latin prayer for deliverance from the Black Death which for Joubert stood for the threat of atomic annihilation. The second is a 10th century Latin lament for the day on which man first invented weapons for use against his own kind, and a protest against such use, and the final one seeks to equate Christ’s victory over death in the Passion story with the eventual victory of non-violence.
The works of the American composer Randall Thompson (1899–1984) are rarely heard outside the States so this is a welcome opportunity to hear one of his greatest works, The Peaceable Kingdom. Written in 1936, its inspiration was the painting of the same name by the 19th century American primitive artist Edward Hicks, with texts drawn from the Old Testament Book of Isaiah. The work was written at a time when American composers were trying to build a distinctly American style and is considered a masterpiece of American choral music.
An atmospheric setting of the Lord’s Prayer Pater Noster by the young contemporary Latvian composer Rihards Dubra, and Drop, drop slow tears, a piece by the young British composer Brian Moles, until recently a Lay Clerk at St Albans Cathedral, together with works for solo violin, completes the programme.
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Magna Carta Celebration

Mahler Symphony No 2 'Resurrection'

Saturday 12 June 2010, St Albans Abbey

A celebration of the anniversary of Magna Carta, for which the Chamber Choir joined forces with St Albans Symphony Orchestra and Watford Philharmonic Society to present Mahler's Second Symphony. This was preceded by a performance of Howard Hanson's Song of Human Rights and Aaron Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man.
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Rossini - Petite Messe Solennelle

Saturday 24 April, St Peter's Church, St Albans

John Gibbons Conductor
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St Albans Chamber Choir welcomed the Spring with Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle, a piece that never fails to lift the spirits of all who hear it. Written in 1863 when Rossini was 71, the Petite Messe is neither small, solemn nor particularly liturgical in spirit, coming as it does from the pen of a composer whose considerable reputation was built upon his many grand comic operas. In his own comment on the work, Rossini acknowledged that it was one of his ‘sins of old age’, and said ‘Delight must be the basis and aim of this art’.
The Petite Messe, with its beautiful melodies, rhythmic vitality and joyous choruses, is a delight throughout. Written initially for private salon performance, the work is scored for small chorus, a solo quartet and the unusual accompaniment of piano and harmonium. Four young award-winning soloists joined the Chamber Choir for this performance: Anna Gorbachyova - soprano; Amanda O’Brien - contralto;external image Anna-Gorbachova.jpg
Philip O’Brien - tenor
James Oldfield – bass-baritone
Whilst Rossini was composing what was to be his last major work, the young Fauré was still a student. The much-loved Cantique de Jean Racine of 1865, a setting of words by the famous 17th century dramatist and poet, was his first significant composition and, with its lush harmonies, it has become one of his most popular works.
The Chamber Choir also performed two very beautiful and uplifting unaccompanied part-songs, Delius’s To be sung of a summer night on the water, and Finzi’s My Spirit Sang all Day, and the programme wascompleted with pieces by two award-winning contemporary American composers whose works have featured in the Chamber Choir’s recent concerts, Nocturnes by Morten Lauridsen and Sleep by Eric Whitacre.

Gloria –music for choir and brass

Saturday 27 February 2010, St Albans Abbey

John Gibbons Conductor
With Onyx Brass
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Singing with brass instruments has a long and distinguished history, with the Venetian composers of the sixteenth century placing choirs of singers and brass players in all four corners of St Mark’s Basilica to dramatic effect. The principal works in this programme were The World is charged with the Glory of God (1969) by Sir Arthur Bliss, a former Master of the Queen's Musick, a setting of John Skelton's meditation on the Passion, Woefully arrayed, by our conductor John Gibbons, and one of John Rutter's most popular pieces, his Gloria. There were also two superb polychoral pieces by the great Renaissance composer Gabrieli, and works by Bach, Schutz and Bruckner.