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Symphonic Psalms & Prayers

Symphonic Psalms & Prayers

With trumpets and well-tuned cymbals, the musical and prayerful richness of The Book of Psalms inspires vastly differing offerings from composers with a myriad of approaches to combining the two worlds of the symphonic and the choral. The results are works which defy categorisation and stand the test of time with audiences and performers alike. Tenebrae and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Nigel Short, perform iconic works by American and American émigré composers: Bernstein, Schoenberg, Stravinsky and Zemlinsky. This release also marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Leonard Bernstein in 2018 and highlights the richness of American twentieth-century music.

BBC Symphony Orchestra
David Allsopp countertenor
Nigel Short conductor

Produced in association with BBC Radio 3.

Leonard Bernstein at 100

Bringing together Bernstein, Stravinsky, Schoenberg and Zemlinsky has turned out to be a master stroke of programming by Nigel Short and his expert, small professional choir, Tenebrae.

–  Financial Times
  • Release Date: 02 February 2018
  • Record Label: Signum
  • Catalogue Number: SIGCD492
  • Location of Recording: BBC Maida Vale Studios and St Augustine’s Church, Kilburn, London
  • Total Running Time: 01:00:28
  • View/Download Liner Notes

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Individual Tracks

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Buy # Title Composer Duration Price Listen
1Symphony of Psalms: I. Exaudi orationem meam, DomineIgor Stravinsky03:20£ Listen
2Symphony of Psalms: II. Expectans expectavi, DominumIgor Stravinsky06:23£ Listen
3Symphony of Psalms: III. Alleluia. Laudate DominumIgor Stravinsky11:44£ Listen
4Friede auf Erden, Op. 13Arnold Schoenberg10:30£ Listen
5Chichester Psalms: Psalm 108: 2; Psalm 100Leonard Bernstein03:42£ Listen
6Chichester Psalms: Psalm 23; Psalm 2: 1–4Leonard Bernstein05:31£ Listen
7Chichester Psalms: Psalm 131; Psalm 133: 1Leonard Bernstein09:23£ Listen
8Psalm 23, Op. 14Alexander Zemlinsky10:53£ Listen

Bringing together Bernstein, Stravinsky, Schoenberg and Zemlinsky has turned out to be a master stroke of programming by Nigel Short and his expert, small professional choir, Tenebrae.

–  Financial Times

“There is an arresting immediacy to both performance and recording… What a sound!”

–  Gramophone Magazine

Countertenor David Allsopp displays beguiling poise and tonal purity in ‘The Lord is my shepherd’, while the Tenebrae singers contribute a precision-tooled ‘raging nations’ section to that movement. Short’s flowing tempo in the finale dilutes the danger of sentimentality, and the hushed coda is particularly captivating… these Tenebrae performances will reward repeated listening.

–  BBC Music Magazine

Upcoming London Concert Schedule

14 June 2018

We are proud to announce that we will be returning to London’s top venues the latter half of this year, including St John’s Smith Square, Kings Place and Wigmore Hall, with a range of choral repertoire from Bernstein, Copland and Elgar to  Schoenberg, Howells, and Whitacre. The schedule is as follows: 7:30pm, Friday 6th July… continued

Nigel's Blog

Summer 2018

3 October 2018

Crumbs, it’s been ages since I wrote one of these so here goes, I just hope my memory serves me well for some of the performances that were a few months ago… We had a steaming return to SJSS on July 6th to join David Wordsworth as part of the Americana ’18 Festival. For a… continued


Guest Blog: Beth Partridge – Associate Artist

31 May 2018

The post-Easter season has been somewhat quieter for Tenebrae, following our USA tour and Holy Week residency at St John’s, Smith Square. The Associate Artists have, however, been kept busy with various educational workshops and concerts. We travelled down to Millfield School in Somerset to repeat our World War I programme featuring music by Gurney… continued


Guest Blog: David Allsopp

2 July 2018

My very first appearance with Tenebrae was back in 2006 for some of the sessions for the Allegri Miserere recording. I’d been at Westminster Cathedral for just under a term and had had my Tenebrae ‘audition’ when Nigel had stepped in for my colleague for some men-only services! During that year I started to get… continued