Tenebrae is thrilled to introduce its inaugural Holy Week Festival, a partnership between the choir and St John’s Smith Square.
It has long been an aim of the choir to curate a series of concerts for Holy Week based around some of the most atmospheric and poignant liturgical sequences in the Christian calendar, the Tenebrae services. As both a consecrated church and leading performance venue, St John’s Smith Square is the perfect setting for this series and Tenebrae is delighted to welcome a host of distinguished performers for the inaugural Festival. Most of the concert music will have been composed specifically for Holy Week, but in addition to this we will include some of the most beautiful Penitential music that will further enhance and sustain the spiritual experience through all of Holy Week.
The week begins with the BBC Singers (directed by Nigel Short) who will explore a selection of choral music for Palm Sunday, followed by The Hanover Band and Chorus who will be performing Rossini’s dramatic Stabat Mater. VOCES8 will take to the stage alongside Jonathan Dove and Les Inventions with a programme which will culminate in Dove’s song cycle for double chorus, The Passing of the Year. Alamire treat us to a programme centred around the ever-evolving church music of Thomas Tallis, who famously led England’s musical reformation in the mid-16th century. On Good Friday Polyphony and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment will return for their popular annual performance of the St John Passion under the direction of Stephen Layton.
A highlight for Tenebrae will be the chance to perform one of the choir’s favourite programmes. On Wednesday 12 April Tenebrae and the Aurora Orchestra will perform Fauré’s Requiem, preceded by Bach’s Violin Partita No. 2 in D minor BWV1004 and a selection of Bach chorales. In trademark Tenebrae fashion, the performance will be set by candlelight and the choir, alongside violin soloist Max Baillie, will make use of the whole building in order to create an immersive audience experience.
To see everything the week has to offer, make sure to take a look at the Festival brochure, hard copies of which are available at St John’s Smith Square.