Codebreaker and Ode to a Nightingale

Sat, 7 October 2017

The Hertfordshire Chorus plus members of Nashville in Harmony and One Voice Chorus

David Temple 
 Zoë Brookshaw - Soprano
London Orchestra da Camera

This special concert features two glorious and memorable pieces of music, both commissioned by Hertfordshire Chorus and now recorded with the BBC Concert Orchestra for Signum Records,one of theleading classical recording companies in the UK.  The concert coincides with the release of the resulting CD and both composers are expected to be present.

Codebreaker, by James McCarthy, is about the life of Alan Turing, one of the most influential scientists of the 20th century, whose eventful and ultimately tragic existence had vast repercussions, the reverberations of which are still being felt today.  He would have been a national hero for his efforts during the 1939-45 war, had that work not been subject to decades of national secrecy. Many people consider him to be the inventor of the computer, whose ideas set in chain the technological developments that have given us the digital world in which we live today. And yet his was a life shrouded in mystery. Codebreaker focuses on three key moments in Turing’s life; his relationship with his schoolboy friend Christopher Morcom, the war, and his final hours.  The libretto for Codebreaker includes some of Turing’s own words as well as some beautifully pointed and moving extracts from the works of Wilfred Owen, Sara Teasdale, Edward Thomas, Robert Burns and, most poignantly, from Oscar Wilde’s ‘De profundis’.  

The soprano soloist takes the role of Turing’s mother and will be sung by Zoë Brookshaw.  Codebreaker has recently been given four performances in the USA and Hertfordshire Chorus is very pleased to welcome members of the two choirs involved in those concerts, Nashville in Harmony and One Voice Chorus from Charlotte, who are coming to take part in this performance.

Ode to a Nightingale, by Will Todd, is a wonderful setting of John Keats’ famous poem, which pulsates with romantic imagery and emotion – death, fantasy, love, hope and despair all embraced in rich and beautiful language. Like the poem the music has different moods. There are soft harmonies and more urgent ones, quiet reflective moments and massive climactic gestures. Keats’ short but emotion-filled life pours off the page in the eight stanzas of the poem and the effect of reading them leaves you with a sense of being on an amazing and emotive journey through fantastical places and ideas, coming finally to rest on the realisation of mortality. 

Hertfordshire Chorus directed by David Temple, is one of finest large choirs in the country, renowned both for the quality of their classical choral music and for commissioning and performing new works by contemporary composers. To find out more about the chorus visit their website at
Premium          - £25 - Centre front with full view
Classic             - £20 - Centre middle with full view or slight restricted view
Standard Plus  - £15 - Centre back with full view or restricted view
Standard          - £12 - Centre back with full view  or restricted view
No View           - £12 - mainly located in the aisles or behind pillars (these seats have no view of the stage)     

No view seats will only be released when seats with views have sold out.

Children (under 18) £5
Wheelchair spaces £25 (Classic), with a carer going free. 

Wheelchair spaces and carer discounts can only be booked through the Box Office. Please call 01727 890290 or visit the Cathedral.  If you require a seat with ease of access, not necessarily using a wheelchair, please consult the Box Office for advice as the seating plan is only illustrative. 

Entry by the Cedar Tree Door, Sumpter Yard. Doors open 7.00pm.  Performance starts 7.30pm and ends approximately 9.30pm.  There will be an interval of 20 minutes during this performance at approximately 8.05pm. 


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