Keeping you updated with the latest news


13 June 2024
2023/24 season finishes at Christ Church


28 June 2023
A Rousing end to the 2022/23 Season with Viva Italia!
9 June 2023
Cathedral Visits - Summer 2023
12 May 2023
Simon Toyne appointed as our new Musical Director
20 March 2023
Dame Ethel Smyth Mass in D - A resounding success!
13 February 2023
The Ethel Smyth full score has arrived











2019/2020 Season Launched

1 September 2018

We are delighted to announce dates and programmes for our 2019/2020 season. All four concerts will be given at St Matthew’s Church in Northampton, and the works date from a relatively short period of time: 1819 to 1882. Also, by chance, the composers begin with B … Beethoven, Berlioz, Brahms, and Bruckner … four of the great composers of the Romantic period. We are delighted to welcome back two guest orchestras and five vocal soloists to accompany the performances of the Beethoven and Berlioz, to a wonderful wind ensemble for the Bruckner, and to a super pair of pianists and a pair of vocal soloists for the Brahms.

Berlioz Brahms Beethoven Bruckner

Saturday 22 June 2019 : Berlioz Grande Messe des Morts

The Grande Messe des morts (or Requiem) by Hector Berlioz was composed in 1837. Lasting just under ninety minutes, the work was designed for performance in massive concert halls with Berlioz scaling up the performers to fit - he suggested that alongside 80 sopranos and altos there ought to be 60 tenors and 70 basses! Our performance is given in a new edition by our Musical Director, designed specifically for the spaces of St Matthew’s Church. Alongside the choir (of our own proportions!), tenor soloist, and orchestra, you will hear all sixteen timpani and four brass ensembles - one in each corner of the building. In the words of Guy Dammann: "If your sense of awe lacks an existential dimension, Berlioz's great Requiem will restore it. Being enveloped by the omnidirectional swell of sound at the onset of the Tuba Mirum, or dangled on the yo-yo of hope and despair that the Lacrimosa spins with such masterful theatricality, are not experiences one forgets."

The Grande Messe des morts, Op.5
Berlioz Grande Messe des Morts

Saturday 23 November 2019 : Brahms Ein deutsches Requiem

Brahms’s masterpiece is called a ‘German' Requiem because Brahms set texts from the Lutheran Bible, rather than the more commonly used liturgical Latin text of the Mass for the Dead. This was his first major success, the soprano solo adding remarkable tenderness and sorrow, feelings prompted by the death of his mother in 1865. This performance of Ein Deutsches Requiem (1865-68) will be sung in the original German, and will be our first opportunity to utilise the new grand piano in St Matthew’s Church, the purchase of which we helped to fund. Brahms himself arranged the work for soprano and baritone soloists, choir, and piano duet. To put Brahms’s masterpiece in context, we will hear music which inspired him - Bach’s Passacaglia in C minor, originally for organ solo, but arranged by Max Reger for piano duet - and music which was inspired by him - Reger’s Requiem (again, not a setting of the Latin text, but of a short poem by Friedrich Hebbel.

Ein deutsches Requiem (A German Requiem)
Brahms Ein deutsches Requiem

Saturday 28 March 2020 : Beethoven Missa solemnis

To mark the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven, the choir and joined by four virtuoso soloists and orchestra to perform his undisputed masterpiece - the Missa solemnis (1819-23). Beethoven composed the Missa Solemnis for the enthronement of his great friend and pupil Archduke Rudolph as Archbishop of Olmütz – completing it three years after the enthronement ceremony. There is nevertheless a theatricality to the work that has led many commentators to suggest that it is more appropriate to the concert hall than the church. With four soloists and a choir, some have even suggested it should be regarded more as a short opera than anything else. A modern critic wrote: To those for whom Beethoven’s music is an important reason for living, the Missa Solemnis belongs at the centre of their experience – a work to respect, certainly, but still more to love. Indeed, Beethoven wrote these words on the manuscript: From the heart - may it return to the heart.

Beethoven: Missa solemnis
Beethoven Missa Solemnis

Saturday 27 June 2020 : Bruckner Mass in E minor & Motets

One of Bruckner’s most remarkable works, the Mass in E minor (1866-82) was composed for the dedication of the votive chapel in the (then) new Linz Cathedral. It is composed for the unusual combination of eight-part chorus and fifteen wind instruments; indeed the choice of wind instruments is itself unusual - oboes, clarinets and bassoons (but not flutes), with horns, trumpets, and trombones. It is based strongly on old-church music tradition, and particularly old Gregorian style singing. The Kyrie is almost entirely made up of a cappella singing for eight voices, the Gloria ends with a fugue, as in Bruckner's other masses, and in the Sanctus, Bruckner uses a theme from Palestrina’s Missa Brevis. In the climactic moments all voice parts reach the very highest points in their voices, in remarkable sequences of suspensions and resolutions. Alongside the Mass, which lasts around 45 minutes, the choir sing a selection of Bruckner’s unaccompanied motets, and our Musical Director performs a selection of his organ works.

Anton Bruckner - Mass No. 2 in E minor
Bruckner Mass in E minor