The Souls of the Righteous
Saturday 9 November 2019, 7.30 pm
St Cuthbert’s Chapel, Ushaw College
Purcell: Funeral music for Queen Mary
Schütz: Selig sind die Toten SWV 391
Schütz: Fili mi, Absalom
Howells: Take him, earth, for cherishing
Schütz: Die mit Tränen säen SWV 378
Schütz: Wohl dem, der den Herren fürchtet, SWV 44
Francis Pott: The Souls of the righteous are in the hands of God.
Bach: O Jesu Christ, mein’s Lebens Licht, BWV 118
with the English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble
Music of remembrance and consolationIn the darkness of autumn, our thoughts turn to the memory of those who we have loved and lost, firstly with personal commemorations for the feasts of All Saints and All Souls at the beginning of November, and then in public acts of remembrance on Armistice Day. Sitting between these two dates, our concert on 9 November draws on themes of both collective and private mourning, and uses music to follow the emotional journey from grief to consolation.
Two significant works written to mourn national leaders frame the first half. Purcell’s ‘Funeral Music for Queen Mary’ combines the solemnity of a state occasion with profound emotion, intensified by the sound of baroque brass played for us by the English Sackbut and Cornett Ensemble. Herbert Howells’ ‘Take him, earth, for cherishing’ was written for John F. Kennedy’s memorial service, and sets a text in which Howells himself had found solace after the terrible death of his young son Michael.
Short settings by Heinrich Schütz of verses from the German Lutheran Bible offer quiet comfort to those who mourn, and look ahead to Brahms’s German Requiem, which we sing next year. In the beautifully crafted polyphonic lines of ‘The Souls of the righteous’, an anthem for double choir and tenor soloist by the British composer Francis Pott move from lamentation to peace, before the baroque brass shine their soft light onto Bach’s funeral motet ‘O Jesu Christ, mein Leben’s Licht’ which gently reminds us that we are all ‘only guests on this Earth’.
Full price £16
Students and under-25s: £10. Children 13 and under, free, no ticket required
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