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Handel's Messiah - St Albans Choral Society

  • St Albans Cathedral Sumpter Yard St Albans AL1 1BY UK (map)

St Albans Choral Society

George Vass

Helen-Jane Howells 

Counter Tenor
William Purefoy  

Christopher Bowen

Alexander Ashworth

Accompanying Orchestra
Orchestra Nova

Concert Sponsors
Calderwood Wealth Management

 Programme: Handel Messiah

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.

Handel composed his famous oratorio in 1741, and continued to revise it until, in 1754, he finally arrived at the version we know and love today. Moving solo arias are interspersed with inspiring choruses, telling the story of Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection – and his final victory over sin and death.

The somewhat forgotten genius behind the success of Messiah is librettist Charles Jennens, who freely adapted the words of the King James Bible. Handel's ability to capture the mood – from passionate rage to serene pastoral moments – is what makes this one of the most enduring choral works of all time.

St Albans Choral Society

St Albans Choral Society is one of Hertfordshire’s leading amateur choirs; it gave its first concert in December 1944 and since then has performed a huge part of the choral repertoire with music ranging from the Baroque to the present day. The Society has an enviable reputation for the commissioning and performance of new choral work and enjoys a great relationship with Orchestra Nova, its regular performance partner.

Recent repertoire has included the Requiems of Fauré and Duruflé, Handel Dettingen Te Deum, Mozart Mass in C minor, Beethoven Mass in C and works by contemporary composers including Sally Beamish, James Francis Brown, Gabriel Jackson, Cecilia McDowall and Tarik O’Regan.

Firmly rooted in the local community, St Albans Choral Society was recently involved in a major education outreach programme with local primary schools and the choir’s singing group regularly performs to people in senior living accommodation who are unable to attend concerts.

Celebrated British conductor and festival director, George Vass, was appointed music director of the choir in 1994; in October 2017, he was presented with a BASCA Gold Badge Award for his support of the British song-writing and composing community.


Please visit St Albans Cathedrals' website for ticket availability and prices here.