Polyphony for Lent and Easter
18 Apr 2019, 7:15 PM - 7:45 PM
Soloists from The Choir of St James’ take you on a 16th-century musical journey of Lent and Easter.
The Catholic Church underwent great development in the 16th century. It was then that Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican City, the Council of Trent took place, and the St. Peter’s Basilica was constructed. In the Christian calendar, Lent is a six-week period leading up to Easter where Christians prepare themselves with fasting, prayer and contemplation to remember Jesus’ life, death and body resurrection. The emotion and activity culminates in the final week of Lent, also known as Holy Week.
On the eve of Good Friday, Jesus takes the last supper with his disciples; is betrayed and disappointed by his closest followers, and then crucified the next day. A key reading for this period was from the Book of Lamentations, a collection of poetic laments by the prophet Jeremiah. Numerous composers from the 16th century had set these texts to music for the services of Holy Week, among them Robert White (c. 1538–1574) and William Byrd (c. 1539–1623), whose works feature in this programme. In celebration of Easter Sunday, the joyful proclamation “Christ is risen!” is made with Jean Richafort’s (c. 1480–1550) Christus Resurgens.
Soloists from The Choir of St James’
The Choir of St James’, directed by Warren Trevelyan-Jones, enjoys the reputation of being one of the finest choirs in Australia. It is one of the oldest musical establishments in Australia and is linked to the earliest days of the colony of New South Wales; some of its early members were convicts. The Choir maintains a schedule of regular weekly choral services, Sunday Cantata Services, Orchestral Masses, and its own Subscription Concert Series. It has a large and varied repertoire encompassing music from the Middle Ages to the contemporary, and it is committed to supporting new Australian works, including compositions written by past and present members of the Choir. Past collaborations include working with Paul McCreesh and the Gabrieli Consort & Players, The Tallis Scholars, The King’s Singers, Opera Australia, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Australian Baroque Brass, The Australian Haydn Ensemble, and soloists Yvonne Kenny, Greta Bradman and Teddy Tahu Rhodes.
The Choir also undertakes a comprehensive programme of recording, broadcasting and touring, interstate and overseas. In 2018, it returned to Gallipoli and sang at the ANZAC Day Dawn Service, as well as performing to critical acclaim at the Coriole Music Festival in Adelaide, and in Hobart at Festival of Voices.
The Choir has performed at Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay’s A Tapestry of Sacred Music twice before, and this time it welcomes guest conductor, Michael Leighton Jones (former Director of Music at Trinity College, University of Melbourne), as the Head of Music, Warren Trevelyan-Jones, has Holy Week commitments at St James’ Church.
1 Esplanade Drive