Rutter: Magnificat & Requiem and Bernstein: Chichester Psalms

Sat, 6 April 2019

Tickets go on general sale 14 January. Priority booking starts 7 January. 

St. Albans Bach Choir  



Andrew Lucas - Rutter Magnificat and Bernstein Chichester Psalms

John Rutter - Rutter Requiem


Elizabeth Atherton (soprano)

William Towers (counter Tenor soloist) 


Sinfonia Verdi


Tom Winpenny



For its Spring 2019 Concert the St. Albans Bach Choir presents three works first performed in the USA; John Rutter’s Magnificat and Requiem, and Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms.


Rutter intersperses the text of the Magnificat, the song of Mary, with the medieval poem “Of a Rose, a Lovely Rose”, part of the Sanctus and a poem to the Virgin Mary. It is set in seven movements for soprano and mixed choir, and parts of the work are in a Latin American style: Rutter was inspired by "jubilant celebrations of Mary in Hispanic cultures" and conceived the work as a "bright Latin-flavoured fiesta". This contrasts with the Esurientes movement, where the music weaves a magical spell of balm and peace.


This is followed by Rutter’s setting of the Requiem, with added psalms and biblical verses in English. The first movement combines the Introit and Kyrie, the third is Pie Jesu, with soprano solo. The central movement is a lively Sanctus, followed by Agnus Dei and finally Lux aeterna. Four movements (1, 2, 4 and 7) were performed in Sacramento, California in 1985, and the full work later that year in Dallas, Texas. The 6th movement is the 23rd Psalm, “The Lord is My Shepherd”, which was written as a separate anthem in 1976.


The concert ends with Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, commissioned by the Southern Cathedrals Festival at Chichester in 1965, but first perfomed earlier that year in New York. Sung in the original Hebrew, it uses challenging rhythms and intervals: the interval of a seventh figures prominently throughout the piece due to its numerological importance in the Judeo-Christian tradition; the first movement is written in the unusual meter of 7/4. Yet it is an affirmative work and at times serene. The harp features prominently, a reference to David, the Psalmist.


St Albans Bach Choir gave its first concert in 1924, a performance of Bach’s St Matthew Passion. The Choir presents a wide variety of music, staging three major concerts and two charity carol concerts each year in St Albans Cathedral. Andrew Lucas, the Cathedral’s Master of the Music, has been the Choir’s Music Director since 1998.


Recent programmes have included Verdi’s Requiem (at Cadogan Hall), Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast, and Duruflé’s Requiem. In 2013, as part of the St Albans International Organ Festival’s fiftieth anniversary celebrations, the Choir performed Britten’s War Requiem with the Britten Sinfonia, conducted by Sir Richard Armstrong. In 2013, and again in 2015, the Choir performed with John Rutter and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for their popular carol concerts at the Royal Albert Hall. As part of the formal Armistice 100th Anniversary Remembrances the Choir joined with the Parliament Choir and the Bundestag Choir in a joint performance of Mozart’s Mass in C in Westminster Hall in November 2018.



Premium            £30 - Centre front with full view

Classic               £26 - Centre middle with full view or slightly restricted view

Standard Plus    £20 - Centre back with full view or restricted view

Standard            £15 - Centre back with full view or restricted view    

No View             £13 - Centre or side aisles
No view seats will only be released when seats with views have sold out and on the day.
Children (under 16)   £13
Students (full time)    £13  (not available for Premium)
Wheelchair spaces    Carer goes 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 via the Cedar Tree Door, Sumpter Yard. Doors open 7pm. Performance starts 7.30pm and ends approximately 9.30pm. There will be an interval of 20 minutes during this performance.

Booking Instructions

If you are entitled to a discount on tickets, this will have been automatically applied. 
Honorary Friends receive one free ticket per customer.
Friends receive 10% discount on a maximum of 2 tickets per customer.    

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