Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire HX7
Songs of Remembrance and Reconciliation
Songs of war and commemoration, of consolation, remembrance and reconciliation
The Hepton Singers presents a highly charged sequence of emotive choral music incorporating African chant, sacred music of the Renaissance, and the colourful, dramatic and reflective music of Judith Weir, James Macmillan, Graham Coatman & Einojuhani Rautavaara.
In a programme that reflects themes of our time, and the season of remembrance, the Hepton Singers, under guest conductor Graham Coatman, presents a programme of choral music of timeless beauty and rich variety. Ranging from a Yoruba chant , through classic Renaissance motets by Philippe de Monte and William Byrd setting the text By the Waters of Babylon, we sat down and wept, the programme also includes a dramatic and colourful rendition of the Anglo-Saxon poem The Battle of Finnsburh, in The Raven by Graham Coatman. These are offset by the subtle tones of music by newly appointed master of the Queen’s Music, Judith Weir, and her fellow Scottish compatriot, James Macmillan.
In more vibrant mood, there are South African songs, and settings of the poet Lorca by the Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara, evoking the sultry passion of Spain. In contrast, Clement Janequin’s depiction of the battle of Merino, fought in 1515, in which the French led by the 21 year old King Francis I were victorious over the old Swiss Guard, in his extended programmatic madrigal La Guerre, provides an element of comic relief. Finally the evergreen madrigalian gem, Lay a Garland, by the nineteenth century composer Robert Pearsall, brings a full close.
The programme offers wide appeal, with a balance between styles and periods demonstrating the Hepton Singers versatility in favourite and time honoured choral works, set amongst fresh and sparkling gems drawn from an eclectic mix of vocal traditions.