a return to st. john's, smith square

The choir return to St. John's Smith Square for a concert as part of Tenebrae's Holy Week Festival. 

The choir were delighted to perform at St John’s, Smith Square on the opening evening of Tenebrae’s Holy Week Festival. The event marked the 100th anniversary of the Baltic States becoming independent counties after the First World War, and the series featured works by Baltic and Nordic composers, including the music of Arvo Pärt, Paweł Łukaszewski and Ēriks Ešenvalds. Our programme was entitled ‘Into the Night’ and featured a mix of sacred and secular music by composers from the USA, Lithuania and Latvia. Appropriately for Holy Week, the programme united the images of death and the night. We began with Evening by Ešenvalds followed by A Clear Midnight by René Clausen, two works which set American poetry by Walt Whitman and Sara Teasdale. We moved on and performed Morten Lauridsen’s Nocturnes which contain songs in English, Spanish and French. For this we were joined by fellow student of Royal Holloway Flynn Sturgeon who accompanied us brilliantly on the piano. This was followed by a choir favourite Dum Medium Silentium by Miškinis and then his setting of the Tenebrae responsory. For the penultimate number, we performed a setting of contemporary Latvian poetry with the song Lugums Naktij (Prayer to the Night). To conclude the programme, we performed Long Road by Ēriks Ešenvalds, which included sections for two recorders and chimes. It was a real joy to return to St. John's for a completely different style of concert, and to a very appreciative audience. Although much of the music was downcast, there was a real buzz and energy in the performance, and it rounded off yet another busy term for the choir.