Good Friday treat for choral music lovers

Good Friday treat for choral music lovers

The Palestrina…was sung so well it had an other-worldly feel. One felt transported to 16th century Rome.

– Rosemary Collier, review of ‘Dona nobis pacem’, Saturday 16 September 2017

Wellington Cathedral of St Paul’s Music Director, Michael Stewart, will once again perform with his chamber choir, The Tudor Consort, on Good Friday.  In this the centennial year of the end of World War I, The Tudor Consort puts a twist on its annual Good Friday presentation of Holy Week music to commemorate the fallen with a programme of works written during the Great War.

Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry may be best known for his stirring hymn Jerusalem and the coronation anthem I was glad, but undoubtedly his choral masterpiece was his Songs of Farewell. These profound settings of poems and scripture give voice to Parry’s suffering at the carnage going on over the Channel, as well as his own feelings as he neared the end of his life. Dedicated to ‘the undying memory of those who have fallen’, Harold Darke’s cantata As the Leaves Fall is a poignant setting of soldier-poet Lieutenant Joseph Courtney RAMC.

“Following on from last year’s ‘The Desolate City’, we are looking forward to broadening our Good Friday presentation by acknowledging the final year of the Great War” says Music Director Michael Stewart. “Parry’s Songs of Farewell are works of genius, building from the simple four part My soul, there is a country through to rich eight-part polyphony in the concluding Lord, let me know mine end. This promises to be a real treat for lovers of the best of British choral music.”

Poems from the Front by Wilfrid Owen and Siegfried Sassoon will be interspersed between these major works, as well as Lenten music from the rich treasury of English music including Henry Purcell’s Hear my Prayer, Orlando Gibbons’ Drop, drop, slow tears and Thomas Weelkes’ heartrending When David heard.

Music for Holy Week: Eternal Sacrifice
The Tudor Consort dir. Michael Stewart
Richard Apperley, organ
Wellington Cathedral of St Paul
Friday 30 March (Good Friday), 7.30pm (pre-concert talk at 7pm)

Door sales and online bookings at

For those who can’t attend, you might like to know that last year’s Music for Holy Week, The Desolate City, will be replayed on RNZ Concert’s Upbeat programme from 1pm on Good Friday.