Join us on 21st March for a programme spanning three centuries of choral music, when two of J S Bach’s great Motets will be paired with deeply spiritual music by two modern English composers, Jonathan Harvey and Kerry Andrew.
Bach’s Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied – Sing to the Lord a new song – is set for double choir. Largely based on two Psalms, 149 and 150, it is a joyous celebration at the pinnacle of choral writing, first performed in Leipzig around 1727.
His Komm, Jesu, komm seems likely to have been composed for a funeral or remembrance service. Towards the end of the first section there is a long passage on words from St. John’s Gospel “I am the way, the truth and the life”, and the final section begins “Therefore I enclose myself in your hands and say goodnight to you, world” in a very simple hymn-like style.
Jonathan Harvey’s I love the Lord sets words from Psalm 116, and has become a great favourite of Church and Cathedral choirs. His Forms of Emptiness is a wonderfully imaginative piece, taking texts from the Buddhist Heart Sutra, both chanted and spoken, and contrasted with words from poems by E. E. Cummings set for three choirs, who often sing independently and produce a great climax as every singer chooses the speed and numbers of repetitions of the written phrase, slowly quietening towards the closing passage.
Kerry Andrew’s Dusk Songs take texts from Compline, the contemplative evening service that in various forms has a place in the liturgy of Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran, and certain other Christian denominations, and she combines these words with Catholic and Orthodox hymns and a Celtic prayer. It is an imaginative and very atmospheric work, that promises to glow in the acoustic of St James’s Church.
For more details and ticketing, visit our Performances page.