Purcell: Funeral music for Queen Mary
Schütz: Selig sind die Toten SWV 391
Schütz: Fili mi, Absalom
Howells: Take him, earth for cherishing
Schütz: Die mit tränen säen, SWV 378
Schütz: Wohl dem, der den Herren, SWV 44
Francis Pott: The Souls of the Righteous
Bach: O Jesu Christ, mein’s Lebens Licht, BWV 118
The Durham SIngers are joined by the English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble, whose period instruments add their impressive sonorites to in this programme that draws together collective and private mourning, using music to follow the emotional journey from grief to consolation.
Purcell’s funeral music for the much-loved Queen Mary was soon heard again at his own funeral later in 1695. Nearly three hundred years later the outstanding English composer Herbert Howells was commissioned to write an anthem for the memorial service for President John F. Kennedy. ‘Take him, earth for cherishing’, is one of his most dramatic and haunting works, opening out from a simple dirge at the beginning to a work of enormous power and range. Balancing Howells is a quiet and gentle anthem by Francis Pott, ‘The souls of the righteous are in the hands of God’ , composed for Winchester Cathedral and somehow enfolding singers and audience in a harmonic evocation of the ‘hands of God’. This beautiful, slow rhapsody draws the programme towards a hopeful, light-infused close with Bach’s ‘Jesu Christ, mein’s Lebens Licht’.