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Durham Singers: Spem in alium

Saturday April 6, 2019 at 19:30
Durham Cathedral, Durham
£15, students and under 25 £10, children 13 and under free
Phone for tickets: 0333 666 3366
Phone lines open: Monday to Friday 9am–7pm and Saturday 9am–5pm
Other Sources: Durham Music Shop, High Street, Langley Moor, or from choir members
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Tickets "at the door" - until sold out
  1. Salvator mundi, salva nos 1 - Thomas Tallis
  2. Requiem - Herbert Howells
  3. Silence and Music - Ralph Vaughan Williams
  4. Sancte Deus, sancte fortis - Thomas Tallis
  5. Rest - Ralph Vaughan Williams
  6. Loquebantur variis linguis - Thomas Tallis
  7. Valiant-for-truth - Ralph Vaughan Williams
  8. Spem in alium (40-part motet) - Thomas Tallis

What do you programme alongside one of the greatest pieces of choral music ever written? Our concert builds up to the forty-part motet Spem in alium with other pieces by Tallis that illustrate his mastery of harmony and counterpoint: the mysterious Sancte Deus is a microcosm of the dark and fearful world of early Tudor politics, and in the Pentecost motet Loquebantur variis linguis, the miracle of the Apostles speaking in tongues tumbles out through seven elaborate vocal lines.

We’ve also chosen music by Howells and Vaughan Williams. Both composers wrote famous pieces that works were explicitly in homage to Tallis, and in their unaccompanied vocal music, we hear how they found the modal harmonies of the Tudor era liberating and inspiring, Our Assistant Musical Director Francesca Massey directs us in Howells’s Requiem, an intensely personal work in which Howells interleaves traditional Latin Requiem texts with psalm settings in English that express a hope in the eternal rest and comfort of heaven, a theme that threads its way through much of the music for this programme and which returns in Vaughan Williams’s partsong 'Rest' and 'Valiant-for-truth'.

This is music by composers whose lives took them into different musical and spiritual moods but who speak clearly across the centuries, shedding colour and light on one another, and culminating in a musical tapestry as extraordinary as any Renaissance stained-glass window.

Durham Cathedral
Palace Green
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