TOP-NOTCH BRITISH CHOIR TO VISIT ST. MATTHEW’S
An English choir with musical roots stretching back centuries will perform at St. Matthew’s Anglican Church in the Glebe on Tuesday, Oct. 27, at 7:00 pm. The Gloucester Cathedral Choir and St. Matthew’s Men and Boys’ Choir will present a joint concert of 20th and 21st century sacred music that includes the Collegium Regale Evening Service by Herbert Howells (1892-1983) and Lo, the full, final sacrifice by Gerald Finzi (1901-1956). Both pieces were first performed in the 1940s.
“We are honoured to have the Gloucester Cathedral Choir visit us,” says St. Matthew’s musical director Kirkland Adsett. “They are one of the top choirs in the world and it is an extraordinary opportunity for us to sing with them.”
St. Matthew’s choir will sing works by contemporary composers Ola Gjielo (1978 - ) and Canadian Rupert Lang (1948 - ). Norwegian-born Gjiello, who now lives in New York, studied at Juilliard and London’s Royal Academy of Music. His CD with the Phoenix Chorale was named the best classical vocal album of the year by I-Tunes in 2012.
Lang is the musical director of Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver and founder of the city’s children’s choir. He studied at The Royal School of Church Music in Salisbury, England, and the University of Cambridge. His haunting Kontakion, sometimes sung at memorial services, is bound to be a concert highlight.
Directed by Adrian Partington, the Gloucester Cathedral Choir will sing “Five Negro Spirituals” from A Child of Our Time by Sir Michael Kemp Tippett (1905-1998), an experimental composer who was influenced by the jazz and blues he heard when he visited he U.S. One of the leading composers of 20th century church music, the one-time communist also wrote several operas.
The medieval Benedictine Abbey of St. Peter, Gloucester, became Gloucester Cathedral in the 16th century following King Henry VIII’s split with the Pope and the establishment of the Church of England. The cathedral’s choir consists of 20 boy choristers, nine lay clerks (professional adult singers) and three choral scholars. The choristers receive scholarships to attend The King’s School, also founded by the mercurial Tudor king.
The Gloucester Cathedral Choir tours about every three years and past tours have included South Africa, Sweden and the U.S. This year’s tour includes churches in Toronto, Mississauga and Port Hope. Last year the choir released a CD commemorating the “War to End All Wars”. The choir also participates in the annual “Three Choirs Festival” that dates back to 1715. The festival alternates between Gloucester, Worcester and Hereford.
St. Matthew’s concert will be performed on a freewill offering basis.