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.