A Plantinum Celebration

Music Director: Tom Edney

Saturday 2 July 2022, 7.30 pm
St Brandon’s Church, Brancepeth


Handel: Zadok the Priest    

Purcell: Hear my Prayer, O Lord   

Howells: Behold, O God our Defender    

Britten: Choral Dances from Gloriana  

Parry: I Was Glad When They Said Unto Me 


 Programme Note

Hello and welcome to my first concert as music director of The Durham Singers.

When asked at interview what programme I would want to present with the choir in its summer concert, my mind was immediately taken to the Jubilee celebrations planned for June 2022. I’m hugely impressed by the vast variety of music which has been written for, or associated with, the monarchy. While I am certain you will know some of the works performed in our concert tonight, I hope there are one or two that are relatively new to you.

Our Handel, Howells and Parry pieces were all performed at Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953. Handel’s’ rousing Zadok the Priest was composed in 1727 for the coronation of King George II. Behold, O God our Defender, performed with organ accompaniment, was written by Howells in 1952 as a short, contemplative prelude to the Coronation Service of Queen Elizabeth II, and Parry’s setting of I was Glad has been used at every coronation service since its first performance in 1902 for King Edward VII. Tonight, we also hear Purcell’s eight-part, a capella anthem Hear My Prayer, O Lord and Britten’s ‘Choral Dances’, a collection of six songs from his opera Gloriana

Marking an anniversary does not stop with the Platinum Jubilee of the Queen’s reign; we ourselves celebrate our 50th anniversary in 2022. While I do not profess to be the expert on The Durham Singers just yet, it has been fascinating discussing the history of the choir with various members and hearing about how it has developed over time. During the year, we will be making nods to our first fifty years of excellent music-making through the performance of arrangements by Dick Addison, the choir’s founder.

I hope you enjoy tonight’s concert. My thanks go to the committee and the choir who have been incredibly supportive and welcoming in my first term. I am sure this will be an exciting celebratory experience for us all. 

Tom Edney, June 2022