St Bride's: News

May 7th: St Bride's joins the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music

May 7th: St Bride's joins the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music

2017-brochure-cover.jpgThis year St Bride's is taking part in the week long London Festival of Contemporary Church Music with an evensong of contemporary music on Sunday 7th May at 5:30pm.

Founded in 2002 by its Artistic Director, Christopher Batchelor, the festival aims to promote the living tradition of liturgical music for choir and organ. Since then, it has grown from a handful of events at St Pancras Parish Church to a week-long, annual celebration at St Pancrastide, featuring collaborations with some of today's best-known composers, a regular Choral Evensong broadcast on BBC Radio 3, and encompassing services, concerts and education work all over London.

Now in its 12th year, the Festival has resulted in the commission of over 30 new works, and played host to at least 40 UK premieres and over 80 world premieres. Many of these are submitted through our Call for Scores, which gives composers at the start of their careers a chance to have their works performed by a professional choir in a liturgical context. In addition, the Festival enjoys close links with today's more established composers, resulting in commissions by such well-known artists as Michael Berkeley, Michael Finnissey, Gabriel Jackon and Cecilia McDowall, to name but a few.

The composers featured in St Bride's contribution to the festival have many links with St Bride's and its choir. Matthew Martin has had a number of pieces performed here, including the Christmas anthem, "Novo profusi gaudio" and "The Fragile Eye," a setting of a poem by Ben Kaye which was commissioned by the John Armitage Memorial (JAM) for Fleet Street Carols in 2012. His Responses, written for the choir of Merton College, Oxford, are in regular use here.

Philip Cooke is a Lecturer in composition at the University of Aberdeen, and his work has featured in this festival in previous years. Sacred music forms an important part of his output, and his compositions have won prizes in Europe and the USA. This Magnificat and Nunc dimittis were written for the choir of Selwyn College, Cambridge, who have recorded a disc devoted to his music.

Bob Chilcott began his career as a singer, both as a treble on Sir David Willcocks's recording of Faure's Requiem and later as a tenor with the Kings Singers, but was always interested in composition and arrangement and has become one of our most prolific and well-loved choral composers. His "Shepherd's Carol" and his arrangement of "Gaudete" are frequently performed at carol services in St. Bride's and tonight's anthem, "Beauty for Ashes," was commissioned for a service attended by Her Majesty the Queen in 2007, marking the 50th anniversary of the church's post-war re-dedication. The text is taken from Isaiah 61, verses 3 and 4, and the piece makes full use of the 12 voices of the choir, particularly in the opening and closing passages, where each of the 4 sopranos sings an independent part.

The service concludes with an organ piece by John Hosking, assistant organist of St. Asaph Cathedral, whose music has also been recorded by Selwyn College choir. The psalm chant is by Martin How, who is still active as a composer at the age of over 80 - he worked for the Royal School of Church Music for most of his career and directed their Southern Cathedral Singers for many years. His former choristers include Robert Jones, Matthew Morley and Dan Ludford-Thomas!

We look forward to welcoming you to St Bride's for Choral Evensong on May 7th at 5:30pm.

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