“Bring us, O Lord God, at our last awakening, into the house and gate of heaven, to enter into that gate and dwell in that house, where there shall be no darkness nor dazzling, but one equal light; no noise nor silence but one equal music; no fears nor hopes but one equal possession; no ends nor beginnings but one equal eternity; in the habitations of thy Glory and Dominion, world without end. Amen.”John Donne (1572-1631)
One Equal Music
What was it all about?
William Harris’s peerless setting of John Donne’s poem was the inspiration behind an exciting and innovative project that took place in Leeds in the summer of 2014. We performed and recorded a programme of modern sacred music in the fabulous space and acoustic of Leeds’ Victoria Quarter. Following two flashmob-type appearances during shopping hours on the weekend of the Tour de France’s Grand Depart from Leeds, the concert attracted an audience of some 170 on a glorious summer evening, with the sunlight catching the stained glass in the roof and casting all sorts of mystical light as we sang.
‘It is absolutely, stunningly beautiful. All I could do was sit back with a huge smile as I listened to these fabulous recordings‘ – Jeff, Vermont
The programme includes works by the modern composers such as Whitacre, Lauridsen, Part, Beamish and MacMillan. They are complemented by works of Harris and Parry and three Yorkshire greats – Edward Bairstow, Francis Jackson and Philip Moore. All this performed in a shopping centre …
‘Just a brilliant brilliant disc … the choice of repertoire is just glorious – best choral CD I’ve bought in YEARS‘- Elizabeth, Arundel
A cathedral of commerce
Not quite any old shopping centre, however – the Victoria Quarter is the premium retail centre in the North of England. It was created twenty years ago by enclosing a network of marbled Victorian arcades beneath the largest stained-glass window in Europe. The result was a magnificent cathedral-like space and acoustic that also houses some seriously high-end retail therapy centres. We think of it more a cathedral of commerce.
“Cathedral music has an eloquent simplicity awakens our spirituality with feelings of life, love, mystery, timelessness and awe . We thought how exciting it would be to bring this to a totally accessible public space, where, thanks to the architecture and the acoustics, it can still work. Normally such sonorities don’t escape our great churches. Although people are being drawn to cathedrals in growing numbers to hear choral music, most will still never hear it. This is why we called our project ‘One Equal Music’.”Quentin Brown
‘Inspired by their conductor, Dr Simon Lindley, the Singers sound completely inside the music and sing with a real depth of understanding.’ – Philip Moore