The love affair that British classical music audiences have with Handel’s Messiah is something of a phenomenon. Since its Dublin premiere in 1742, the work has been regularly performed across the land by choirs of all shapes and sizes.
St Albans Bach Choir
Nicholas Mulroy (Evangelist)
Thomas Flint (Christus)
Rowan Pierce (soprano)
Helen Charlston (mezzo)
Peter Mitchell (tenor)
Benjamin Bevan (baritone)
The St John Passion was the first of the two great Passion settings by J S Bach, written and performed soon after he was appointed Kapellmeister to the churches in Leipzig. Originally he had intended it to be sung in the Thomaskirche, but the Council (with whom Bach was to have a difficult relationship) altered the venue to the Nikolaikirche at short notice. It was performed on Good Friday 1724, originally in two parts, with a sermon in between. For better or for worse, St Albans Bach Choir’s current performance will concentrate solely on the music!
The text is taken from chapters 18 and 19 of the Lutheran translation of St John’s Gospel. In the, by then, well established tradition of the German Passion, a tenor soloist sings the part of the Evangelist, telling the story, and is backed up by the choir and other soloists playing the various characters of the drama. Soloists reflect in their arias on the spiritual message told by the narrative. This is summed up in chorales, being Lutheran hymns in which the Leipzig congregation may well have joined (another tradition no longer to be repeated).
This was not Bach’s first Passion setting: he wrote one while at the court of Weimar, but this is now lost. It may be that he re-used some of that music in the St John Passion. He continued to revise the work, adding new numbers in 1725, 1732 and 1749. The work has been described as more extravagant than its successor, the St Matthew Passion, with an expressive immediacy, at times more unbridled and less 'finished'. However, Bach himself considered the earlier work to be supremely important. Perhaps the biggest joy of the St John Passion is that, for all the ferocity and sorrow of the Good Friday story, it is a truly optimistic work, anticipating the resurrection with music suffused with light and hope.
The Passion forms a staple part of St Albans Bach Choir’s repertoire, having last been performed in 2011. While no longer being intended for worship on Good Friday, it will form an important part of preparation for Holy Week and Easter.
St Albans Bach Choir has been performing since 1924: recent programmes have included Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, Verdi’s Requiem (also in London's Cadogan Hall), Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast, and in July 2016 the choir joined forces with the St Albans Cathedral Choirs to present Bach's Mass in B minor with The English Concert. In 2013, as part of the St Albans International Organ Festival’s fiftieth anniversary celebrations, the choir performed Britten’s War Requiem with the Britten Sinfonia under the baton of Sir Richard Armstrong. Last summer the choir returned to the Festival in July for a performance of Handel's Messiah with the London Handel Orchestra conducted by Laurence Cummings. In December 2013, and again in 2015, the choir joined John Rutter and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for their popular carol concerts at the Royal Albert Hall. For the past two years the choir has also been represented onstage at the Albert Hall for the Christmas and New Year editions of the BBC1 Big Sing programme.
Please visit St Albans Cathedrals' website for ticket pricing and availability here.
Mendelssohn’s Hymn of Praise proclaims the praise of God and celebrates mankind’s progress from darkness to enlightenment. Beethoven’s Mass in C is less well known than its famous brother, the Missa Solemnis, but it is no less beautiful or dramatic.
From Ayurvedic diets to therapeutic massage to yoga, traditional medical knowledge and practices from across South Asia are often labelled as ‘alternative medicine’ while stressing their ‘authentic’ nature, but what do ‘alternative’ and ‘authentic’ mean? And what happens when these practices are commercialised, patented or de-contextualised? Join us to discuss alternative medicine in the context of the global wellness marketplace.
Watford Colosseum are delighted to welcome the Czech National Symphony Orchestra, one of the leading Czech orchestras, under their distinguished Music Director Libor Pesek, with a performance of Dvorak’s much loved New World Symphony which is sure to be something very special.
The first international Orchestra to visit Watford Colosseum for many years is one of Russia’s finest, the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra.
Take part in a beautiful multi-terrain course through the Hertfordshire countryside, starting and finishing at Rothamsted Research, Harpenden. The event returns on Sunday 9 October 2016 to celebrate its eleventh year, and promises to be as popular as ever!
Free, drop-in, suitable for adults! Discover the startling stories behind the collections of the Natural History Museum at Tring, meet world-class scientists and experience the historic galleries by night. Part of European Researchers' Night, our annual festival of science is free and offers you the chance to uncover nature's hidden worlds.
Stressed, anxious or depressed? M-ASK is a new 12-week programme that uses theatre techniques to help those suffering from stress, anxiety, depression and other conditions affecting mental wellbeing. You don’t need any experience to take part, everyone is welcome, from absolute beginners to the more experienced.
To take part in this free programme - which is funded by Dacorum Borough Council and Hertfordshire Public Health - you must be aged 11 or over and live within Dacorum borough.
When and where
- The 12-week programme runs every Thursday between 15 September and 8 December 2016 (term time only)
- Time: 5.30pm – 7.30pm
- Location: The Old Town Hall, High Street, Hemel Hempstead, HP1 3AE
Each session will explore theatre techniques using masks and you will also have the opportunity to complete a Bronze Level Arts Award qualification.
Book a place
To express an interest in M-ASK, please fill out the online form here or telephone 01442 228181.
Join The Lord Chamberlain’s Men this summer for Shakespeare’s sparkling, battle-of-the‐sexes comedy, Much Ado About Nothing.
Bring a chair and a picnic, buy a glass of something chilled from our bar and spend a glorious summer’s evening watching this funny, moving and fast‐paced production of one of Shakespeare’s best‐loved comedies. Performed in the open air, an all male cast with Elizabethan costume, music and dance, this is undoubtedly one of the hottest tickets of the summer.
A great change to buy everything you need for your baby, toddler and child up to the age of 8.
The NCT Nearly New Sales for Hertford, Ware and District hold three Nearly New Sales a year, two main sales (toys, books, clothes and equipment) in Spring and Autumn and a Toy Sale at the end of November.
Their next sale is on 30th April 11:00 – 13:00 (10.30am for NCT Members) at Presdales School, Hoe Lane. For equipment, clothing, books, DVDs and toys from maternity up to age 8.
Sales are open to everyone, you don’t need to be an NCT Member.
Musical Director : Bob Porter
Stevenage Choral Society
Conductor : Robin Osterley
Location: St. Andrew and St. George's Church, Stevenage
Ticket Prices: £ 10 Adults (£ 12 bought at the door) and £ 5 for under 16s
For more information visit: www.stevenagechoral.org.uk or call 01438 365769
Come to the Ashridge Estate visitor centre to make some Easter crafts or enjoy their Easter trail.
Following the excitement of the Cadbury Easter Egg Trail why not carry on celebrating by taking a quieter stroll along the Easter Trail and/or making Easter crafts in the Ashridge Estate Community Hub?
£2 per child.
Please visit the National Trust website here for more information.
Celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Berkhamsted Common with a commemorative walk around the very area which was saved from enclosure in 1866.