World premiere for Saint Cecilia Singers
By David Wood
After a wait of three years, the Saint Cecilia Singers will perform the world premiere of Neil Cox's Requiem Canticles, commissioned for their 70th anniversary, at Gloucester Cathedral on Saturday, March 18.
The first half of the 'Timeless Reflections' concert will see the choir sing two famous masterpieces of devotional music: Allegri's Miserere and Lotti's Crucifixus along with John Sanders' Reproaches.
Musical director Jonathan Hope said: "Postponing our 70th anniversary concert in 2020 because of the pandemic was a big blow but we couldn't have predicted then how fittingly poignant this programme would be three years later.
"These are some of choral music's most stunningly beautiful and heart-rending works. We dedicate this concert to the memory of all those who have been lost."
Joining the Singers to perform the premiere of Requiem Canticles are countertenor Tom Lilburn; soprano Jennifer Walker; as well as instrumentalists on piano, organ, trumpet, horn, harp and percussion. The piece also incorporates a recording of the Bells of Speyer Cathedral.
Composer Neil Cox said: "I was absolutely delighted to be commissioned to write a piece for the 70th anniversary of the Saint Cecilia Singers, for some of my happiest memories of music-making have been associated with this premier-league choir.
"I have written the piece with the famous Gloucester acoustic in mind. I wanted to have moments of immense sonority sitting beside passages of real intimacy, and I hope I might be able to give full rein to the choir's technical assurance."
Tickets are £20 (£22 on the door) with children and students welcomed free of charge available from www.saintceciliasingers.org
The Saint Cecilia Singers is Gloucester Cathedral's chamber choir - an auditioned choir of around 25 enthusiastic and gifted amateur and semi-professional singers. It performs up to six concerts per year including an annual Christmas concert at Gloucester Cathedral as well as taking part in the Cathedral Choirs Days and occasional Evensongs.
Increasingly in demand as a recitalist, Jonathan Hope has performed solo recitals at Canterbury Cathedral, Westminster Cathedral, St. Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and Saint-Sulpice, Paris.
In March 2014, Jonathan took up the post of assistant director of music at Gloucester Cathedral, where he is the principal organist for the cathedral services, accompanist to the Gloucester Choral Society, and director of the Saint Cecilia Singers. He has released two CDs and a DVD of organ music played on Gloucester Cathedral's organ.
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