The recording made by Leeds leisure Services of our recent lunchtime recital Songs of Serenity and Peace in Leeds Cathedral is now available.
11 May 2024 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
A concert of unaccompanied choral music.
Programme to be announced in due course, to include favourites suggested by St Peter’s Singers Members and Friends.
St Peter’s Singers
Alexander Woodrow conductor
29 June 2024 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
With Manchester Baroque
Saturday 29 June 7.30pm
This programme of glorious 18th-century Baroque music is sure to raise the spirits.
Bach, Handel, Corelli, Scarlatti and Buxtehude each get to strut their stuff, displaying all the beauty, grace and emotional depth for which this period’s music is known.
And we’re delighted to welcome Manchester Baroque who will bring their period instruments and historically-informed performance skills to make this concert truly a delight and one to remember.
|Concerto Grosso Op6 No4||Arcangelo Corelli|
|Jesu, meine Freude||Johann Sebastian Bach|
|Dixit Dominus||Georg Friedrich Handel|
St Peter’s Singers
Pauline Nobes artistic director
This programme brings together some of the best music from the Italian and German traditions in the Baroque era. The Magnificat, often attributed to Buxtehude but without good evidence, actually bears many of the hallmarks of Franco-Italian composers such as Carissimi and Lully, and has a pleasant lilting style.
The Miserere by Francesco Scarlatti (brother of Alessandro and Uncle of Domenico) is a fine and under-rated work, a suitably plangent setting of Psalm 51 strongly characterised by the affecting musical vocabulary of the time. St Peter’s Singers performed it in 2022 under post-Covid austerity measures and are pleased to revisit it with proper orchestral involvement.
Corelli’s 12 Concerti Grossi Op 6, which feature a concerted group of soloists within a small instrumental ensemble, became hugely popular after their eventual publication in 1714, some thirty years after their composition. Handel was among many composers to copy and adopt the form, publishing in 1739 his own ”Opus 6′ set of 12 in honour of Corelli.
Jesu meine Freude is the most complex of Bach’s motets, being an elaboration of a well-known Lutheran hymn and demonstrating a wide range of compositional techniques, possibly with an educational purpose in mind. Yet for all the density of the musical thought and the serious engagement with the text, this is a joyful and uplifting work.
Composed in 1707 when the precocious and highly ambitious 22-year old Handel had just arrived in Rome, Dixit Dominus is a formidable tour-de-force from a composer who now found himself with access to some of the best musicians in Europe. Exhilarating for both performers and listeners alike, this work will provide a fine ending to this concert.
Since their launch in 2019, Manchester Baroque has built a reputation for engaging and vibrant performances of historical music on period instruments. Through concerts of chamber music, larger scale orchestral works and oratorios, Manchester Baroque is committed to the continued development of historically informed performances. They are normally to be heard in Manchester, so we welcome them to Leeds and are thrilled to make their work available to Yorkshire audiences.
29 March 2024 @ 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm
JS Bach’s matchless music retelling the story of the death of Jesus Christ.
St John Passion
Toby Ward Evangelist
Phil Wilcox Christus
St Peter’s Singers
National Festival Orchestra leader Sally Robinson
Alex Woodrow Conductor
First performed 300 years ago on Good Friday 1723, Bach’s setting of St John’s account of the events leading up to Christ’s death remains a masterpiece, performed thousands of times each year all over the world.
It is at times highly dramatic, turbulent and emotional, while soothing, reflective, grief-stricken at others. The choir switches roles between the mob calling for Jesus’ death and the Christian community throughout the ages observing and reliving the horror of those events. The soloists too act out the parts of the main characters while giving voice to the thoughts and feelings of bystanders such as ourselves.
As ever, Bach’s music touches knowingly on our deepest and most complex emotions: love, betrayal, guilt, grief. Despite coming from what seems like another world, this work can still speak to us – moving, fulfilling and uplifting. Step into that world – and find yourself in this one.
December 9 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
A feast of Carols and Christmas Music
Join St Peter’s Singers in the beautiful church of St John’s Baildon for an evening of festive choral music for Christmas, with Carols for all to sing!
The programme will include traditional carols and carol arrangements by the likes of Holst and Willcocks, together with one or two stunningly beautiful works by living composers.
Mulled wine and mince pies will be served
The perfect way to start your Christmas celebrations!
|Sussex Carol||trad. arranged Philip Ledger|
|I saw three ships||trad. arranged Simon Lindley|
|O Come all ye faithful||arranged David Willcocks|
|The Angel Gabriel||trad. Basque, arranged Edgar Pettman|
|A Babe is born||William Mathias|
|Calypso Carol||John Bertalot|
|Away in a Manger||arranged David Willcocks|
|There is no rose||Cecilia McDowall|
|Bethlehem Down||Peter Warlock|
|O magnum mysterium||Morten Lauridsen|
|God rest ye merry, gentlemen||trad. arranged David Willcocks|
|Sing Lullaby||trad. Basque, arranged Edgar Pettman|
|The Shepherds Farewell||Hector Belioz|
|Hark, the herald angels sing||Felix Mendelssohn arranged David Willcocks|
|Christmas Day||Gustav Holst|
St Peter’s Singers
Shaun Turnbull organ
Alexander Woodrow conductor
October 30 @ 1:15 pm – 2:15 pm
Spiritual music for choir and organ from around the British Isles
St. Anne’s Cathedral, Cookridge St, LS2 8BE
1.15pm, free admission
This programme of music for Choir and Organ starts in joyful and upbeat mood. It then transitions through expressions of both inward and outward turbulence to that sense of serenity and peace which maybe only music can invoke. A spiritual oasis during the working day!
The concert will last about 50 minutes.
|O Sing unto the Lord||James MacMillan|
|Let the people praise thee O God||William Mathias|
|For lo, I raise up||Charles Villiers Stanford|
|Nunc Dimittis||Gustav Holst|
|Like as the hart desireth the waterbrooks||Herbert Howells|
|Lo, the full final sacrifice||Gerald Finzi|
St Peter’s Singers
This programme draws on music from all four corners of the British Isles (Stanford’s anthem being composed in Dublin in 1914, although not published until 1939). MacMillan and Mathias, Scottish and Welsh respectively, set Psalm texts in upbeat and joyful mood. Stanford’s extraordinary setting of the prophet Habbakuk invokes the turbulence and upheaval brought by men of war before finding his way – via every choirboy’s favourite solo line ‘I will stand upon my watch’ – to a vision of serene hope. Howells’ and Holst’s works express that longing of the soul for inner peace, a theme developed and expressed in more florid language by Richard Crashaw, a poet in the Metaphysical tradition of John Donne and Thomas Traherne. As with so many English poets, Finzi demonstrates his extraordinary feel for this text, while the final ‘Amen’ won a recent light-hearted vote on Twitter for the best musical setting of the word…
This concert if promoted and provided free of charge by Leeds Leisure Services as part of the International Concert Season. St Peter’s Singers are grateful for the invitation to take part.
Leeds International Concert Season
November 18 @ 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Come and Sing Mozart’s Requiem and Handel’s Zadok the Priest with St Peter’s Singers!
Have you ever wanted to sing Zadok the Priest (remember it at the Coronation?) or the Mozart Requiem ?
Here’s your perfect chance to do so in a friendly environment and in the company of lots of other singers of all ages and ability!
St Peter’s Singers will host the event and lead the singing in the glorious setting of Leeds Minster. It will be directed by the brilliant Alex Woodrow, with Shaun Turnbull on the keys of the Minster’s famous Harrison & Harrison organ.
Copies of both works will be provided – if you have your own copy of the Barenreiter edition of the Mozart, or of Zadok the Priest, you are welcome to bring them. If you want to get ahead and do some prep in advance, you could try the ChoraLine App.
Registration will start at 1.00pm, and the rehearsal at 1.30pm. There will be plenty of time and space for refreshments and socialising, and we will conclude the afternoon with a performance starting at 5pm. Dress is smart casual. So it’s all set for an afternoon of fun singing some exhilarating music!
In order for us to prepare well to welcome you, you are asked to book ahead, letting us know one or two important bits of information. Only a very small number of un-notified admissions will be allowed for special cases on the day. On-line booking will close at 9pm on 17 November.
Under 18s are welcome but must be accompanied by a responsible adult at all times.
Audience are welcome to come for the performance at 5pm (doors open 4.30pm) – admission will cost £10 at the door.
If you have difficulties with booking online, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
June 24 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Choral Masterpieces from the Renaissance and the Modern Day
Leeds Minster June 24 7.30 pm
Please note this programme will be repeated on July 1 at St John’s Church, Sharow nr Ripon. For tickets and details of that event, please click here.
This beautiful programme of choral masterpieces mixes and matches exquisite music from the times of the two Queens Elizabeth, two golden eras of British choral music.
You will be able to hear works by the great William Byrd – who died 400 years ago this July – his friend Thomas Tallis, and their Spanish counterparts Victoria, Guerrero and Lobo.
And you can compare and contrast them with some of the most recent and stunning additions to our amazing British choral tradition – works by living composers Judith Weir, Cecilia McDowall and James MacMillan.
Or you can just sit, soak it up and revel in its sheer beauty!
The concert will last about 1.5 hours including an interval, during which refreshments will be served.
Set in the stunning surroundings of Leeds Minster, this concert is not to be missed!
|Sing joyfully||William Byrd|
|Gloria from Mass for 5 voices||William Byrd|
|Laudate Dominum||Francisco Guerrero|
|O Lord, make thy servant Elizabeth||William Byrd|
|I love all beauteous things||Judith Weir|
|Who shall separate us||James MacMillan|
|Sanctus and Benedictus|
from Mass for 5 voices
|O nata lux||Thomas Tallis|
|O Radiant Dawn||James MacMillan|
|Vidi speciosam||Tomas Luis de Victoria|
|There is no rose of such vertu||Cecilia McDowall|
|Versa est in luctum||Alonso Lobo|
|Agnus Dei from Mass for 5 voices||William Byrd|
|Emendemus in melius||William Byrd|
|Faire is the heaven||William Harris|
There will be an interval during which refreshments will be served
St Peter’s Singers
Please note this programme will be repeated on July 1 at St John’s Church, Sharow nr Ripon HG4 5BJ
April 7 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
A new Requiem
The second performance of this visionary new work
created and first performed in Leeds in 2018
Penthos is a work for Choir, Orchestra, Organ and Soloists that combines high-quality music and poetry, and lasts nearly an hour.
It takes the form of the traditional Requiem Mass, but with new words exploring themes of reconciliation and forgiveness, and music that reaches beyond the words to speak to – and affirm – our deepest human longings.
“Put quite simply, it is a work of depth, maturity, power, beauty and sheer brilliance, whose qualities are revealing themselves week by week in rehearsal.”Alex Woodrow, Conductor, St Peter’s Singers
“So it is locally written and locally performed, but trust me it will sound to you as if it has existed as a core of choral music for centuries. It is that good.”Richard Pascoe, Member of St Peter’s Singers
“A striking quality of the auspicious premiere … was the communicative power of the Penthos Requiem to connect with the listener”Geoffrey Mogridge on Penthos in The Wharfedale Observer
For those who were present, the first performance of Penthos in October 2018 was something they are unlikely to forget: Matthew Oglesby’s powerful music adding further imaginative and emotional depth to Hannah Stone’s visionary poetry.
The pandemic forced the postponement of the second performance, planned for April 2020, but we were determined that there should be another opportunity to hear this superb work.
If you couldn’t get to that first performance in 2018, or you would like to hear it again… this is your chance, not to be missed!
Hannah Stone and Matthew Oglesby live in or around Leeds. They are members of St Peter’s Singers and highly active in Leeds’ cultural life.
Hannah Stone and Matthew Oglesby
St Peter’s Singers
Lucy Appleyard contralto
Quentin Brown bass
William Campbell organ
National Festival Orchestra
Sally Robinson leader
Alexander Woodrow conductor
St Peter’s Singers gratefully acknowledge the generous support of
The Liz and Terry Bramall Foundation
The Friends of the Music of Leeds Minster
St Peter’s Singers’ presentation of Music for Good Friday is an annual event, given by kind permission of Leeds Minster. It provides an opportunity to hear one of the great works of the sacred oratorio repertoire in a context than a concert hall performance on a Saturday evening cannot provide, and at a price that more people can afford.
Past works receiving performance include:
- Bach’s St John Passion
- Bach’s B Minor Mass
- Handel’s Messiah
- Brahms’ German Requiem
- Dvorak’s Stabat Mater
- Haydn’s Stabat Mater
- Scarlatti’s Stabat Mater
Double Entendre! Yes, we’re teaming up with the Leeds Guild Of Singers so you can hear two choirs for the price of one!
The idea, which has been on the table for quite a while due to the pandemic, is not to form an augmented chorus for some performance on a grand scale, but to offer a programme of music written for single choir, double choir and a number of variations in between. So you can experience the thrill of hearing all 70 voices singing together but also enjoy the contrasts of each choir singing on their own.
Double choir ? it’s not a new idea
The idea of two groups of singers singing to each other in dialogue is nearly as old as western music itself. It goes back to the practice of monastic communities, who would sit facing each other in a collegiate arrangement, and chant alternate verses of the Psalms to each other, thus originating what is known as antiphonal music. Even in plainsong it works like a conversation with a musical idea stated in the first half of the verse and the answer contained in the response.
Antiphonal writing is a feature of the early choral writing of the Venetian Giovanni Gabrieli (b c1554) and also of Heinrich Schütz (b 1585) and indeed continues to be used through to modern times – those who attended our concert in November (A Vision of Albion) may recall Stanford’s brilliant motet Coelos ascendit hodie especially for its antiphonal writing.
Some composers have of course taken advantage of having choirs capable of singing in eight or more parts (two each of soprano, alto, tenor and bass) to create richer, symphonic textures with more colourful and complex harmonies. Parry’s There is an old belief, and indeed Vaughan Williams’ Mass in G Minor from that same concert are fine examples, with Vaughan Williams mixing antiphonal writing into it as well, and there are many more.
The programme for this concert includes a broad range of choral music ranging from the early German music of Schütz and Buxtehude through Romantic works by Mendelssohn, Rheinberger and Rachmaninoff to more modern works by Schnittke and Arvo Pärt. It illustrates the amazing creativity of these composers as they continually sought and found news ways to vary and develop the use of double choir resources.
The motet Jauchzet dem Herrn by Heinrich Schütz (himself influenced by Gabrieli) shows antiphonal writing at its strongest with echo effects and great rhythmic drive as two four-part choirs of sopranos, altos, tenors and basses fling words and musical ideas back and forth between them, almost interrupting each other at times. By contrast, the Magnificat that was once attributed to Buxtehude finds a different way of varying the sounds and textures by switching from 5-part choral writing to solo voices or single-voice ensembles. And in his lyrical motet Denn er hat seinen Engeln befohlen, Mendelssohn provides a further variation, creating separate groups out of the upper and lower voices for antiphonal use.
Rachmaninoff’s Choral Concerto and Schnittke’s Three Sacred Hymns take us into Russian Orthodox tradition, where the desire to enrich the music of the liturgy while retaining the restriction to just a cappella choral resources led to the development of great dynamism and richness, exemplified in the Choral Concerto. Schnittke demonstrates both antiphonal writing and the concerted building of richer choral sound, with the two being combined in the third hymn. Arvo Pärt, by contrast, and possibly seeking to return to basics, achieves the opposite in his setting of the Magnificat: a spare, minimalist, almost glacial texture created through, not despite, a multiplicity of parts, and a reminder of the simple chant that lies deep in the heart of all liturgical music.
The concert reaches its climax with the opulent Mass in E flat (‘Cantus Missae’) by Joseph Rheinberger. This magnificent work boasts antiphonal writing reflecting all the glory of the Venetian tradition, while also displaying mastery of contrapuntal textures – the weaving together of many moving parts – bequeathed to him in the German tradition by Bach and Mendelssohn. With all 70 or so voices of the two choirs combined in the warm key of E flat major, this work will provide an uplifting end to the concert and a fine memory to take away.
|Three sacred hymns||Alfred Schnittke|
|Denn er hat seinen Engeln befohlen||Felix Mendelssohn|
|Jauchzet dem Herrn||Heinrich Schütz|
|Choral Concerto||Sergei Rachmaninoff|
|Mass in E flat ‘Cantus Missae’||Joseph Rheinberger|
The concert takes place in the beautiful setting of Leeds Minster at 4pm on Saturday 11 February, and will last about an hour. Refreshments will be served.
Leeds Minster is a large and well-ventilated building offering plenty of space, as well as impressive architecture and ambience. Car parking is available on streets nearby, in the car park by the Palace Hotel, and in the NCP Markets Car Park.