Category Archives: Previous concerts

Christmas Oratorio

Saturday 14th December 2020 at 7.30pm
at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Tonbridge.

Cantate was once again joined by their sister ensemble Vivace! to perform the first half of Bach’s great setting of the Christmas story. The first three Cantatas took us from the announcement and birth of the Christ-child to the shepherds going to Bethlehem to visit the stable. Masterful story-

telling and joyous choral music always make this piece a wonderful way to start the Christmas season.

For this special concert, Cantate was delighted to welcome back Gwen Martin (soprano) and Nick Pritchard (tenor) and to work with Natalie Davies (mezzo-soprano) and Cheyney Kent (baritone) for the first time. The period-instrument ensemble Vivace! was led by Hazel Brooks.

We enjoyed a glittering retelling of the Christmas story in the beautiful surroundings of St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Tonbridge.

Sounds Ancient Sounds Modern June 2019

Saturday June 22nd, 7.30pm, St Mary’s Church, Platt.

For our summer concert this year we explored styles of music which challenged us to get out of our comfort zone. We sang music which bridges over 900 years, opening our concert with music by one of the most important and influential composers in history, Hildegard von Bingen, followed by a work by Stevie Wishart written only a few years ago based around that ancient music. Stevie explores the Medieval sound-world through texture and vocal effects to create a rich and elaborate soundscape, reminiscent of monastic chant and ancient buildings.
A ‘first’ for Cantate was a programme which features exclusively female composers, and we performed music from the Renaissance and the 19th century, with pieces by perhaps the most well-known female composer of the last century, Amy Beach. We concluded our programme with two works by Lauren Redhead, performing one work which is a cappella and a second in which we had an element of improvisation and which we performed with electronics Lauren created especially for this performance.
This was a particularly exciting concert for the choir, working with two contemporary composers exploring the real cutting edge of vocal performance; it challenged us to try a whole new approach as a choir and led to an exciting and enjoyable evening.

Dixit Dominus


St Nicholas Church, Sevenoaks

Saturday March 9th


We will be performing Handel’s Dixit Dominus, a wonderfully energetic and challenging piece, together with three stately but joyful baroque choral pieces by Pachelbel. We will be joined by Vivace! who will also perform Pachelbel’s Canon in D. Our guest soloists will perform a Magnificat also by Pachelbel.

Handel understands effect better than any of us—when he chooses, he strikes like a thunderbolt.’

—Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart*

We are delighted to be joined by Vivace! led by Diane Terry as well as guest soloists.

The centrepiece of the evening is Handel’s Dixit Dominus, a setting of the Latin text of Psalm 110. Handel composed the piece while he was in Italy and it was first performed, it is believed, in 1707 when he was just 22. It is an exciting and energetic piece, not without challenges. In the King James version this psalm begins: ‘The Lord said unto my Lord: sit thou on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy foot-stool’.  It is a dramatic, robust and declaratory psalm and this is reflected in the intensity of Handel’s music: there are vigorous arpeggios and majestic fugues, highly layered cascading chorus parts and beautiful solo melodies, leading to a final triumphant Gloria. If you have not heard it before it is a stirring piece, full of drama and contrast, and for those who have, hearing it performed live is always a fantastic and spirited occasion.

The concert will also present four choral pieces and one orchestral piece by Pachelbel. Pachelbel represents the flowering of the south German organ schools and is one of the most important composers of the middle baroque. The Canon in D is well known by many and it is always a delight to hear its elegant and measured chord progression. The choral works are less well known but the choir will be singing three lovely pieces: Jauchzet dem Herrn, a joyful setting of Psalm 100, the buoyant Singet dem Herrn and the stately Lutheran hymn, Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan. The final piece, a Magnificat, will be performed by the soloists.

War & Peace, commemorating the end of the Great War.

Saturday 10th November 2018 at St. Mary’s Church, Kippington, Sevenoaks

Poster for Cantate Choir's War & Peace concert in November 2018

A programme of music and readings, with organ.

Organist: Iestyn Evans

Readers: Sandy Walsh and Robin Lustig

Cantate’s next performance is a special concert to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War. The programme includes songs and readings from poems written during and after the War alongside settings of sacred texts that reflect the choral traditions of the last century.  The centrepiece of the concert will be Herbert Howells’ Requiem. Other works include pieces by English composers of the 20th Century, such as Ireland and Elgar, as well as music by Messiaen, Pärt and Whitacre, music to evoke both sadness and hope.

Tickets cost £15 (Friends £12 and under 18s £7.50) and include refreshments.

The programme is approximately 90 minutes without an interval.

Tickets available at Sevenoaks Bookshop, online at or by phone 0800 411 8881.

Sounds of Light – Summer Concert at Tudeley

Saturday 23rd June 2018 at All Saints Church, Tudeley at 7.30pm

An  performance of music ancient and modern, including the world premiere of a piece by local composer and supporter of the choir, Laurie Dunkin Wedd, inspired by the wonderful Chagall windows at Tudeley. We performed the Mass for 5 Voices by Byrd, the Chansons Francaises by Poulenc as well as If Ye Love Me by Tallis and Three Thomas Campion songs by Nunn.  It also included the world Premiere of a  piece by Frederick Frahm for clarinet and piano which encapsulated the different windows and was performed by Sarah Trigg on the clarinet accompanied by our Director of Music, Robin Walker on the piano.


We performed the E minor Mass and a selection of sacred motets, accompanied by organ and trombones at St. Martin’s Brasted on Sunday 22 April. It was a lovely sunny evening, quite a contrast from the original planned date of the concert which was postponed from March due to the snow.

Through their gorgeous harmonic language and polyphonic layering, their roving melodic lines and unexpected dissonances, these pieces represent compelling examples of Bruckner’s intense sound world. It was a stirring and rewarding evening.

Please note that the poster below has the old date on it.

Rutter’s Magnificat

Saturday 9 December 2017, 7.30pm, St Mary’s Church, Kippington, Sevenoaks

Poster for Cantate Choir's Christmas Concert in 2017, Rutter's MagnificatOur next concert is on Saturday 9 December at St. Mary’s Church, Kippington, Sevenoaks. This is a Christmas concert including John Rutter’s Magnificat, and music by Poulenc, Bach, Mendelssohn and more.  The Magnificat is an uplifting piece, combining many colourful styles, from sections full of lively energy to moments of peaceful reflection; and it includes the lovely setting of the old English poem ‘Of a Rose’.  Robin Walker will conduct and our organist for the evening will be Riccardo Bonci.

Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610

Saturday 14 October 2017
Pamoja Hall   7.30pm

With Vivace and The English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble

Director of Music: Robin Walker

Poster for Cantate Choir's October 2017 performance of Monteverdi Vespers with Vivaci! and The English Cornett & Sackbut EnsembleBorn in Cremona, Monteverdi was a composer and court musician particularly known for books of madrigals and operas. His work transitions from Renaissance polyphony to Baroque melody including pioneering techniques such as bass continuo. The Vesperis in Festis Beata Mariae Vergine, more casually known as the Vespers of 1610, was his first sacred work in nearly 30 years reflecting a blend of both styles. In scale it represents one of the most ambitious works of religious music written before Bach.  It is a large, complex and ground-breaking piece noted for its brilliance and power.

Special guest soloists will perform with The Cantate Choir and we will be joined by Vivace and The English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble for what promises to be a wonderful evening.

Tickets cost £15. (concessions £7.50 U18s)

For more information and a link to book tickets, go to


Solstice of Light – June 2017

St Mary’s Platt, Sunday 25th June 2017

With William Searle (tenor) and Ian Shaw (organ).

The centrepiece of our summer concert was the Solstice of Light, Peter Maxwell Davies’ Cantata for tenor, choir and organ. Its fourteen movements form a poetic history of Orkney with beautiful melodic moments and some wonderful harmony. This highly evocative piece was performed as the long light of June lasted into the evening making it a very special occasion.

We also be presented a wonderful setting of Shakespeare’s song from Cymbeline, Fear No More, by Jonas Magnussen, being performed for the first time in the UK, as well as two pieces by New Zealand composer Paul Newton-Jackson.

We were joined by special guests, tenor William Searle and organist Ian Shaw. William performed a beautiful selection of English solo songs as well as the tenor role in Solstice of Light.  Ian played an organ solo during the first part of the concert as well as performing the fantastic, virtuoso solo sections in Solstice of Light.

Strawberries and drinks were at 6.30pm  in the Churchyard and the concert followed at 7.00pm.

Lux Aeterna March 2017

Saturday March 4th 2017 – St. Martin’s Church, Brasted.

Poster for The Cantate Choir's Lux Aeterna concert in March 2017

The choir performed a capella music full of melody and luscious harmony by Mendelssohn, Elgar, Vaughan Williams and Britten, while our special guest soloist Philippa Mo played a range of pieces for the violin.

Two of Mendelssohn’s motets for eight-part choir opened the concert. Philippa then played two pieces for violin by German Romantic composer Rheinberger; she was accompanied on the organ by Robin Walker. Britten’s Five Flower Songs followed, fascinating settings of works by poets such as Herrick and Clare. Philippa then performed a new work by Frederick Frahm Grendel’s Soliloquy.  Closing the first half was Sir Edward Elgar’s famous Nimrod, arranged for choir and set to the text Lux Aeterna.

The second half was a feast of Vaughan Williams, opening with The Lark Ascending.  The choir then performed the composer’s Mass in G minor for double choir and soloists, a truly great work of the English 20th century choral tradition.



Christmas with Cantate

Poster for Cantate Choir's Christmas concert in December 2016 - Christmas with Cantate

St Nicholas’ Church, Sevenoaks.

Saturday 10th December 7.30pm.

With guest conductor Riccardo Bonci and organist Iestyn Evans.

Our Christmas programme will feature carols, old and new. From Wassail song to Wishart, with Bach, Vaughan Williams and Rutter, and, of course, we hope you will join with us to sing our favourite carols together!

This year we are delighted to be performing with our very special guest soloist – Matilda Lloyd on trumpet. Matilda won the brass section of the BBC Musician of the year in 2014 and made her Proms solo debut this year with the BBC Philharmonic; she has also played with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields for the Classic FM Live concert at the Royal Albert Hall and she has appeared on In Tune on Radio 3.  She works with a variety of orchestras and she currently reads music at Trinity College, Cambridge and studies the trumpet with Mark David, Head of Brass at the Royal Academy of Music, London. She will be joining us to perform many well-known carols and she will be playing solo pieces including Bach’s Concerto in D Major after Vivaldi.

For a glorious, sparkling start to the Christmas season do come and join us!

Tickets are £15 including refreshment and are available at Sevenoaks Bookshop or online and by phone from Brown Paper Tickets on and 0800 411 8881. They will also available from members of the choir.

You can register to receive e-mail updates from the home page of this website.

Vivaldi Gloria and works by living composers

Saturday 21 May 2016, 7.30pm, St Mary’s Kippington, Sevenoaks

Poster for Cantate Choir's Vivaldi Gloria concert in May 2016Vivaldi Gloria and works by living composers in association with Firehead Editions.

The Cantate Choir will be performing Vivaldi’s Gloria in May. Written in around 1715 it is a joyous, sparkling piece for choir and soloists, with distinctive, sunny harmonies and beautifully expressive moments. This lovely, uplifting music forms the centrepiece of our concert.

Following our tradition of presenting new music, we will also be performing a selection of pieces from Firehead Editions. This is a collective of three contemporary composers: Frederick Frahm, Huw Morgan and Nicholas Wibberley. They have written music for a wide variety of different contexts and are all distinguished composers, conductors and performers. Their music is intelligent, well-considered and attractive, and is performed the world over. We are delighted to be presenting a selection of their recent works, both sacred and secular, which we are sure you will enjoy.

We look forward to welcoming you to an inspiring evening of old and new music.

Tickets are £15 and will be available at Sevenoaks Bookshop or online and by phone from Brown Paper Tickets and 0800 411 8881. They will also available from members of the choir.

You can register to receive e-mail updates from the home page of this website.

Gala Concert – Handel’s ‘Messiah’

23rd January 2016
Pamoja Hall – Sevenoaks School

Poster for the Handel's Messiah concert in January 2016


Handel’s Messiah

The Cantate Choir with orchestra ‘Vivace!’ and internationally renowned soloists gave a gala charity performance of this most wonderful of Oratorios to raise money for The Hospice in the Weald.

Choir, orchestra and soloists performing the Hallelujah chorus in Handel's Messiah

The Cantate Choir raised over £10,000 for Hospice in the Weald through it’s Gala Charity Concert on 23rd January 2016. This organisation provides the most outstanding palliative care to the terminally ill, and is heavily reliant on the generosity of the public, local businesses and organisations. Our guest of honour, Lord Sackville, introduced the concert.

The choir performed Handel’s masterpiece under the baton of Robin Walker accompanied by orchestra ‘Vivace!’ who played on period instruments. Cantate also welcomed internationally renowned soloists: soprano Gillian Keith, counter tenor Francesco Ghelardini, tenor Tom Randle and bass Trevor Eliot Bowes.


Conductor – Robin Walker
Leader – Hazel Brooks

Soprano – Gillian Keith
Counter-tenor – Francesco Ghelardini
Tenor – Tom Randle
Bass – Trevor Eliot Bowes

Programme notes

Programme notes by Sarah Kelmsley


Review by Graeme Fife

Summer 2014: Norway tour and Concert, Pining for the Fjords.

Poster for Cantate's 'Pining for the Fjords' concert in June 2015In late May, The Cantate Choir went tour again, this time to Norway.  See the news pages for pictures of the trip. They  gave a concert in Bergen cathedral after which they travelled to the heart of Norway to rekindle their friendship with The Førde Kammerkor to perform there. This choir came to sing with Cantate in Sevenoaks in October 2012.

Once returned the choir reprised the repertoire from the tour to present to an Audience at St. Martin’s Brasted. The concert included performances of Grieg, Norwegian folk songs, Monteverdi’s Beatus Vir, Weelkes, Morley, Stanford and Vaughan Williams, performing madrigals outside on a lovely summer’s evening before moving into the church for the rest of the concert.

Fauré’s Requiem

7.30pm, Saturday 28th February 2015 – St. Mary’s Kippington, Sevenoaks

Poster for Faure Requiem concert in February 2015The choir performed this compelling Requiem together with a programme including mezzo soprano and baritone solos,  other choral works and an organ work by John Ellis as well as his choral piece, The Mass of the Grove.

Top Kent Choir, 2015

Top Choir Kent logo
Top Choir Kent logo

Saturday 28th March 2015, Canterbury

As winners of Top Kent Choir, 2014, we performed at a special celebration in March to mark five years of this competition which does so much to raise money for charity. We joined six other choirs, all past finalists or runners up, each performing a 15 minute repertoire in the Shirley Hall in Canterbury. The evening culminated in a special performance by all the choirs and audience together of a special arrangement of ‘Help’ – the song by the Beatles – to mark its fiftieth anniversary. The whole event celebrated live music and singing, and we were delighted to be able to take part. See photos of us performing by following this link.

A Gala Christmas

7.30pm, Saturday 13 December – St Nicholas Church, Sevenoaks

A Gala Christmas concert poster


Robin WalkerConductor
Mardi BrassBrass quintet
Riccardo BonciOrgan
Linsay MartinReader
Lawrence ThornburyReader


Carol arr. Robin Walker – Once in Royal David’s city
Reading John Milton – The Invocation from Paradise Lost
Choir Boris Ord – Adam lay ybounden
Carol arr. David Willcocks – Of the Father’s heart begotten
Reading Rainer Mari Rilke – Annunciation to Mary translated by Mary Dows Herter Norton
Choir Villette – Hymne à la Vierge
Carol John Goss, arr. David Willcocks – See amid the winter’s snow
Reading Henry Vaughan – Christ’s Nativity
Choir Praetorius – In dulci jubilo
Choir A. Pärt – Bogoroditse dyevo
Carol, adapted by Arthur Sullivan – It came upon the midnight clear
Reading Sidney Godolphin – Hymn
Brass solo G.F. Handel – Symphony from Messiah
Choir Anon (ed. Stevens) – There is no rose - 15th C.
Carol arr. Mardi Brass – O little town of Bethlehem
Choir F. Mendelssohn – Rejoice and be glad all ye nations
Choir arr. Poston – The Boar’s head carol
Carol arr. Mardi Brass – Ding dong merrily on high
Reading John Betjeman – Christmas
Choir arr. Mardi Brass – God rest ye merry gentlemen
Choir arr. J. Magnussen – My heart will always wander trad. Norwegian
Carol arr. Mardi Brass – Silent night
Reading Ted Hughes – Minstral’s Song
Choir arr. Mardi Brass – The First nowell
Reading T.S. Elliot – The Cultivation of Christmas Trees
Brass soloLet it Blow
Carol arr. Mardi Brass – Hark the Herald

Programme notes

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Cantate at the Spiegeltent – Canterbury Festival

Read report on concert

11.00am, Saturday 25 October – Spiegletent, Canterbury


We are delighted to be performing at the Spiegletent at the Canterbury Festival as winner of the Top Choir Kent competition. The concert takes place at 11am  on the 25th October. The venue is unique – part baroque ballroom part exotic marquee – and fantastic for an intimate and exciting concert.  Do come and join us as we present a morning of madrigals, classical pieces, folk song and jazz. There is something for everyone from Gabrieli to Tea for Two.Choir practising in the Spiegeltent

With other grcanterbury_festival140x210-140x210eat events continuing throughout the day why not take in a guided walk, or a comedy performance, rounded off with an evening concerSpiegeltentt by acclaimed choral group ‘Voces 8’ in Canterbury cathedral – make a day of it!


The Spitfire ground is a 2 minute drive or 10 minute walk from the centre of town, postcode CT1 3NZ . Parking is easy in that area.

Tickets are only £5 from the festival box office and will be available on the door.

For full details on the festival and booking go to and for our concert go to

Music for a summer evening

7.00pm, Saturday 14 June – St Martin’s Church, Brasted

Front cover


Robin WalkerConductor
Iestyn EvansOrgan


T. Campion 1557—1620 – Never weather-beaten sail
J. Bartlet fl. 1606—10 – Of all the birds that I do know
R. Jones fl. 1597—1615 – Farewell, dear love
G. Finzi 1901—56 – My spirit sang all day
E. Elgar 1857—1934 – As torrents in summer
C.H.H. Parry 1848—1918 – Music, when soft voices die
C.V. Stanford 1852—1924 – The blue bird
F. Delius 1862—1934 – To be sung of a summer night on the water (two unaccompanied part-songs)
G.B. Pergolesi 1710—1736 – Magnificat
A. Hollins 1865—1942 – A Trumpet Minuet
J. Jongen 1873—1953 – Petite Prélude
M. Lanquetuit 1894—1985 – Toccata
Eric Whitaker b. 1970 – Sleep
G.F. Handel 1685—1759 – My heart is inditing

Programme notes

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Thomas Tallis – Spem in alium

7.30pm, Saturday 22 March 2014 – St Nicholas Church, Sevenoaks

Poster for Spem in Alium concert, March 2014

In March 2014, Cantate were joined for the first time by one of the world’s leading period ensembles, His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts, who have for many years been a highlight of the early music scene through their many recordings, radio performances and concerts. They delivered a wonderful programme of Renaissance music from Italy, Germany and Britain.

Cantate and HMSC performed alone and together in music by great composers of the period and the concert will build to a climax with Thomas Tallis’ extraordinary Spem in alium, a motet written in 40 parts, and a landmark piece in musical history.

View Programme Notes

Christmas with Cantate

7.30pm, Saturday 14 December 2013 – St Mary’s Platt Parish Church

Poster for The Cantate Choir's Christmas concert in December 2013


Jemima Stephensonorgan


Audience carol – O come, o come, Emmanuel
16th French tune Arr. Willcocks – Ding Dong! Merrily on high
14th century carol Arr. Willcocks – Resonemus laudibus
H. Berlioz 1803 – 69 – The Sepherd’s Farewell
Organ solo J.S. Bach 1685 – 1750 – Nun komm der heiden heiland BWV 659
J.G. Ebeling 1637? – 76 – All my heart this night rejoices
Audience carol – Good King Wenceslas
J.S. Bach 1685 – 1750 – Singet dem Herrn
Audience carol – Once in royal David’s city
W.J. Kirkpatrick 1838 – 1921 – Away in a manger
J. Rutter b. 1945 – Nativity Carol
J. Rutter – What sweeter music
Audience carol – O little town of Bethlehem
Organ solo O. Messiaen 1908 – 1992 – La Nativité du Seigneur – Les Bergers (the shepherds)
M. Lauridsen b. 1943 – O Magnum mysterium
W. Mathias 1934 – 92 – Sir Christèmas
Audience Carol – Hark the Herald angels sing

Programme notes

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Birthdays, Bubbly and Berries

7.30pm, Saturday 22 June 2013 – Kippington Church, Sevenoaks

Poster from Cantate Choir's June 2013 concert - Birthdays, bubbly and berries


Iestyn EvansOrgan


John Dowland – Come again! Sweet love doth now invite
John Dowland – O sweet woods, the delight of solitariness
John Dowland – Flow not so fast ye fountains
John Dowland – Fine knacks for ladies
Benjamin Britten – Rejoice in the Lamb
Giuseppe Verdi – Ave Maria
Giuseppe Verdi – Stabat Mater
Giuseppe Verdi – Laudi Alla Vergine Madre
Giuseppe Verdi – Te Deum

Programme notes

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The First Nowell

7.30pm, Saturday 15 December 2012 – St Mary’s Platt, Borough Green


Riccardo BonciOrgan


Vaughan Williams – The First Nowell – an Oratorio
Audience carol – O come, all ye faithful
H. Darke – In the bleak mid-winter
W. Byrd – O magnum mysterium
F. Poulenc – Quatre motets pour le temps de Noël
E. Elgar – The Snow
B. Britten – A New Year carol
Audience carol – O little town of Bethlehem 
A. Adam – Oh holy night

Programme notes

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Royal Celebrations

7.30pm, Saturday 16 June 2012 – St Martin’s Church, Brasted

Poster for The Cantate Choir's Royal Celebrations concert in June 2012

A golden treasury of English music – Music for Royal occasions from Queen Elizabeth I to Queen Elizabeth II


Ian Shaworgan


O. Gibbons – Preludium organ solo
O. Gibbons – O clap your hands together
Anon C16th – Rejoice in the Lord
H. Purcell – Funeral sentences
T. Bateson – Hark, hear you not?
W. Boyce – The King shall rejoice
C.H.H. Parry – I was glad when they said unto me
S.S. Wesley – Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace
R. Vaughan Williams – Rhosymedre organ solo
R. Vaughan Williams – O taste and see
Paul Mealor – Ubi caritas
G.F. Handel – Zadok the Priest

Programme notes

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Durufle Requiem and Gareth Wilson’s Decalogue

7.30pm, Saturday 26 November, 2011 – St Mary’s Platt Church, Nr Borough Green

Poster for Cantate Choir's Durufle Requiem concert in November 2011


Gareth Wilsoncomposer & conductor
Nicholas O’Neillorgan


Gareth Wilson – Decalogue
Duruflé – Requiem

This concert included Gareth Wilson’s first performance outside London of Decalogue.

Performing new music, and working with composers is a real thrill for musicians: getting the music ‘hot off the press’. The Cantate Chamber Choir worked with Gareth Wilson, conductor, composer, theologian and educator, preparing his new work ‘Decalogue’ for their concert on Saturday 26th November in the Parish Church of St Mary Platt.

The work, sets biblical texts from both the old and new testaments, to music as a set of eleven motets for choir and organ. Each text is chosen to highlight one of the Ten Commandments, with the eleventh movement being the words of Jesus; “I give you a new commandment”.

The composer, Gareth Wilson, conducted the work and the choir’s musical director, Robin Walker, played the substantial organ accompaniment.

For the second half of the concert Robin conducted the choir as they performed one of the choral repertoire’s most loved works: Maurice Duruflé’s ‘Requiem’, with its haunting ‘Pie Jesu’ and heavenly ‘In Paradisum’.

Programme notes

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Auguri Italia!

Tuesday 31 May 2011 – Methodist Church, Florence, Italy
Wednesday 1 June 2011 – 13th century church of Saint Augustine, San Gimignano, Italy
Thursday 2 June 2011 – La Badia Fiorentina (Florence Abbey), Florence, Italy
7.30pm, Thursday 16 June – St Margaret Patten’s Church, City of London
7.30pm, Saturday 18 June – St Martin’s Church, Brasted

Poster from the choir's Auguri Italia! tour to Italy

On 30th May, ‘Cantate’ set off for Florence, for a week of performances in Tuscany. They take with them a delightful summer programme celebrating 150 years of Italian Unity and will return to England for their UK concerts in London and finally Brasted. These ‘a capella’ concerts will feature music from the 15th to the 20th century, with a particular focus on Italian and English composers, including Giovanni Gabrieli, Antonio Lotti, Charles Wood, William Harris, John Dowland and Edward Bairstow. The concert will finish with Joseph Rheinberger’s wonderful Mass in E flat major.

In Florence, all three concert venues are ancient churches with rich histories. The first is the Methodist Church in Florence, built in the 12th Century as a monastery, and the place where the clavichord was perhaps invented. It is also only a few doors away from the palazzo in which dramatic recitative was first heard, the birthplace of modern operatic style. The church is only a few hundred yards from the church of Santa Croce, where Rossini is buried, whose Messe Solennelle the choir performed in March this year.

Photo of San Gimignano Chiesa di Sant'Agostino, one of the venues for the Choir's tour to Italy
San Gimignano Chiesa di Sant’Agostino

The 13th century church of Saint Augustine in the UNESCO World Heritage town of San Gimignano, south of Florence, is the choir’s second port of call. San Gimignano is famous for its many tall towers, used to dry long lengths of cloth dyed with local saffron, and visible for many miles around. The town was used in the film Tea with Mussolini, and is the setting for the video game Assassin’s Creed II !

For their final concert the choir perform in one of Florence’s most ancient churches, La Badia Fiorentina (Florence Abbey), which dates back to the year 978, and where Robin is currently organist. The monastic community there have given the choir special permission to give a rare concert, which will be the final highlight of the trip.

The choir also performed this summer programme on two occasions in England. First on Thursday 16th June when the choir sang in the City of London at St Margaret Patten’s Church and then on the opening night of the Sevenoaks Festival at St Martin’s Church Brasted on the 18th June.


Hugo Kelly – Magnificat
J. Arcadelt – Ave maria
G. Gabrieli – Jubilate Deo a 8
T. Weelkes – When David heard
A. Lotti – Crucifixus a 8
A. Bruckner – Ave Maria, Locus iste, Os justi
C. Wood – Great Lord of Lords
S. Rachmaninov – Blessed is the man
A. Bax – Lord, thou hast told us
E. Bairstow – I sat down under his shadow
J. Rheinberger – Double mass in E flat
W. Harris – Bring us, O Lord God

Programme notes

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Ceremony of Carols

7.30pm, Saturday 11 December 2010 – St Marys Platt, Nr Borough Green

Poster for the Cantate Choir's December 2010 Concert - Ceremony of Carols


Camilla Payharp


G. Palestrina – Matin Responsory
H J Gauntlett – Once in Royal David’s City
arr. Willcocks – Tomorrow shall be my dancing day
H. Darke – In the bleak mid-winter
M. Grandjany 1891-1775 – Aria in a classic style - Harp solo
R.R. Bennett – Susanni
arr. Willcocks – Il est né le divin enfant
J. Rutter – Wexford carol
Austr. trad. arr. Willcocks – He smiles within his cradle
arr. Willcocks – Angelus ad Virginem
S-R. Marcel 1882-1955 – Variations pastorales sur un vieux noël - Harp solo
arr. Willcocks – Sussex carol
Pearsall – In dulci jubilo
arr. R. Jacques – The holly and the ivy
arr. Willcocks – I saw three ships
arr. R. Jacques – Good King Wenceslas
B. Britten – Ceremony of carols

Programme notes

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