Russian Choral Masterworks: Joint Schools’ Choral Society

Wed, 7 March 2018

St Albans School and St Albans High School for Girls Joint Schools’ Choral Society 

Matthew Stiff

Tom Young



Stravinsky: Zvezdoliki
Musorgsky: Prologue from Boris Godunov
Debussy: Nocturnes
Stravinsky: Symphony of Psalms

Join the annual Joint Schools’ Choral Society of St Albans School and St Albans High School For Girls as they tackle a uniquely powerful programme of Russian and French works from the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries.
Stravinsky dedicated his brief Cantata Zvevdoliki (“The King of the Stars”, 1912) to Debussy who described it as “extraordinary”, but who rightly predicted the work would struggle to find performances on purely practical grounds. Scored for vast orchestra and lower voices, the piece is a visionary setting of a fantastical text by Russian poet Konstantin Balmont.

A composer who greatly influenced both Debussy and Stravinsky, Modest Musorgsky’s only completed opera Boris Godunov(1869-72) contains some of the great Russian choral writing of the mid-Nineteenth Century. The opera tells the epic, Nationalist tale of the titular Boris, one of Russia’s most famous and flawed Tsars who ruled at the turn of the Seventeenth Century. The rarely-performed complete Prologue depicts first the baying crowd, desperate for a new leader; then, in the most famous scene from the opera, Boris’ Coronation, complete with peals of bells and hymns of praise to the Russian motherland.

Positioned somewhere between Mussorgsky’s Romantic Nationalism and Stravinsky’s Modernism, Debussy’s Nocturnes (1899) explore three highly contrasting images with typical subtlety and wit. Beginning with a bleak study of passing clouds (Nuages), the work passes through a vivid, brilliant depiction of a day of festivities (Fêtes) before finishing with the ravishing Sirènes, in which the orchestra is joined by a wordless chorus of upper voices.

Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms (1930) remains one of the most popular works of his neo-classical period. A monumental yet reflective setting of three Psalms in Latin translation, the work is a typically pithy combination of driving ostinato, brilliant textures and powerful Chorales.



£15 - Centre front with full view                                                      
£12 - Centre middle with full view or slight restricted view
£10 - Centre back with full view or restricted view
£8 - No view
Children (under 18) -  Price bands reduced to £12, £9, £7 and £5 respectively.
Limited Wheelchair spaces with Carer going free.  

Wheelchair spaces and carer discounts can only be booked through the Box Office. Please call 01727 890290 or visit the Cathedral.

Entry by the Cedar Tree Door, Sumpter Yard. Doors open 7.00pm. Performance starts 7.30pm and ends approximately 10 pm. 

Tickets will go on sale Tuesday 19 December 

By booking your ticket online you are agreeing to the Cathedral Box Office Terms and Conditions

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