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St Botolph-without-Bishopsgate

Bishopsgate

London

EC2M 3TL

United Kingdom

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Two powerful British works for unaccompanied choir from the 20th and 21st centuries, Howells' Requiem & James MacMillan's Miserere

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For their Easter concert, Jessica Norton and London Concord Singers pair a major work of 20th unaccompanied British choral music, Herbert Howells' Requiem, with a major contemporary work, James MacMillan's Miserere, in a programme which includes music by William Byrd, Cecilia McDowall and William Harris.

Herbert Howells wrote his Requiem for unaccompanied choir in the 1930s, it was a first working through of ideas which he was to develop in Hymnus Paradisi for choir and orchestra. Unfortunately Howells' son Michael died of meningitis in 1935 and, troubled deeply, Howells did not release the music for publication though the Requiem had been written before Michael's death. Thanks to the good offices of Vaughan Williams, Hymnus Paradisi was first performed in 1950 but the Requiem did receive a performance until 1980. It is not a requiem at all, but a profoundly moving setting of a series of texts taken from the Psalms, the Requiem Mass and Revelation. The lush harmonies reflect the terrible sadness of loss, and the ending of on the words "They will rest from their labours", is one of poignant consolation.

James MacMillan's Miserere, a setting of Psalm 51 (50), was written for Harry Christophers and The Sixteen, and premiered by them in 2009 at the Laus Polyphoniae festival in Antwerp. It is a powerful piece which uses the complete text of the psalm to take the listener on a spiritual journey.

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St Botolph-without-Bishopsgate

Bishopsgate

London

EC2M 3TL

United Kingdom

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