A QuaranTune recorded for our Golden Phoenix album

In this QuaranTune, soprano Jenny introduces a piece from Howells’ Requiem that became a feature of the choir’s repertoire thanks to Musical Director Christopher Hann’s keen interest in Howell’s music – Requiem Aeternam (1).

Herbert Howells was an English composer, organist, and teacher, most famous for his large output of Anglican church music. Despite writing this Requiem in 1932/3 it was not published until the 1980s. It is written for an unaccompanied double choir and is said to be inspired by the light shining through the East window of Gloucester Cathedral which is particularly relevant to the Requiem Aeternam.

The words are as follows:

Requiem aeternam dona eis. Et lux perpetua luceat eis. Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine.

Rest eternal grant unto them. And may light perpetual shine upon them. Rest eternal grant unto them, O Lord.

This recording was made for our Golden Phoenix album as part of our 50th season celebrations. It can purchased via Amazon or iTunes, and streamed on Spotify, iTunes, Deezer, Pandora, Shazam and many others.


A QuaranTune that keeps returning to choir’s repertoire

This week’s QuarantTune has been chosen by long-standing soprano Rosie. She has picked Sergei Rachmaninov’s Bororoditse Devo, which has made many appearances in concerts over the years.

This glorious piece forms part of Rachmaninov’s All-Night Vigil. It premiered on 23 March 1915 in Moscow and consists of settings of texts taken from the Russian Orthodox all-night vigil ceremony. It has been praised as Rachmaninov’s finest achievement. It was one of Rachmaninov’s two favorite compositions along with The Bells, and the composer requested that its fifth movement (Nunc Dimittis) be sung at his funeral.

The text can be translated as follows:

Bogoróditse Dyévo, ráduisya, Blagodátnaya Maríye, Gospód s tobóyu.
Blagoslovyéna ty v zhenákh, i blagoslovyén plod chryéva tvoyevó, yáko Spása rodilá yesí dush náshikh.

Rejoice, virgin mother of God, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, for you have borne the Savior of our souls.

This performance was recorded at the Iglesia de la Asunción de Nuestra Señora, Melgar de Fernamental, Spain in April 2018.

Another QuaranTune with a romantic connection

This week, 2nd soprano Heidi introduces Nunc Dimittis by Gustav Holst.

This is one of her favourite pieces in our current repertoire and she has fond memories of singing it with current and former members at a very special occasion.

Nunc Dimittis was written for Westminster Cathedral Choir and was first performed by them in 1915.

The words can be translated as follows:

Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine, secundum verbum tuum in pace.
Quia viderunt oculi mei salutare tuum. Quod parasti ante faciem omnium populorum.
Lumen ad revelationem gentium, et gloriam plebis tuae Israel.
Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto.
Sicut erat, nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorem.

Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace according to thy word.
For mine eyes have seen: thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people.
To be a light to lighten the Gentiles, and to be the glory of thy people Israel.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.


A virtual concert to round off our 51st season

On Saturday 11 July, we should have been celebrating the end of our 51st season by performing a joint concert in Swindon with Aldbourne Band.

Instead, we have pulled together a selection of pieces, recorded by ourselves and others. These include some choir favourites, along with new items that you can look forward to hearing next season.

Following this you can hear a taste of what Aldbourne Band had in store for you with a set of six of their favourite pieces. We finish with the joint finale that we had hoped to perform alongside Aldbourne Band.

You can view this virtual concert below, or on YouTube.

The programme is as follows:

Reading Phoenix Choir

  • Loquebantur Variis, Thomas Tallis
  • Requiem Aeternam, Herbert Howells
  • Behold O God our Defender, John Scott
  • Hymn to the Creator of Light, John Rutter
  • Lux Aurumque, Eric Whitacre
  • Flame, Ben Parry
  • Three Shakespeare Songs: No. 2, The Cloud-Capp’d Towers, Vaughan Williams
  • Danny Boy, trad arr. Rathbone
  • The Battle of Jericho, trad arr. Hogan
  • Chili Con Carne, Anders Endenroth

Aldbourne Band

  • Pavane (Ravel)
  • Montagues and Capulets (Prokofiev)
  • Lark in the Clear Air
  • West Country Fantasy
  • The Lost Chord
  • The Dirty Duck

Joint Finale

  • Gloria: I. Allegro vivace, John Rutter

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A QuaranTune that evokes memories of York Minster

Our fifth QuaranTune has been selected by former member Dan. He has chosen Os Justi by Anton Bruckner, a favourite of many members of the choir.

For Dan, it brings back special memories of both his wedding and of singing in York Minster.

Os Justi is a sacred motet that was composed in 1879. The words and translation are as follows:

Os justi meditabitur sapientiam: et lingua ejus loquetur judicium.
Lex Dei ejus in corde ipsius: et non supplantabuntur gressus ejus. Alleluia.
Inveni David servum meum, oleo sancto meo unxi eum. Alleluia.

The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks what is just.
The law of his God is in his heart: and his feet do not falter. Alleluia.
I have found David, my servant; I have anointed him with my holy oil. Alleluia.