Music for Troubled Times – St Albans Choral Society at St Albans Cathedral

Sat Apr 23rd
  19:30 to 21:30

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This spring, St Albans Choral Society are returning to St Albans Cathedral for their annual Abbey performance, bringing and exciting programme of ‘Music for Troubled Times’ – Richard Blackford’s critically acclaimed ‘Pietà’, commissioned jointly by the Bournemouth Symphony Chorus and St Albans Choral Society, and awarded the Ivor Novello Composer Award in 2020.

Interestingly scored for mezzo-soprano and baritone soloists, chorus, string orchestra and solo saxophone, it is a highly emotional piece based on combined texts of the XIII century hymn ‘Stabat Mater’ and the fragments of ‘Requiem’ by the acclaimed Russian poet Anna Akhmatova who mourned the unknown faith of her son as he was imprisoned in the Stalinist labour camp.

The part of solo saxophone will be performed by the twice Grammy-nominated Australian-British, Classical BRIT Award winner – Amy Dickson, described as ‘one of the world’s six best classical saxophonists ever’.

‘Pietà’ will be followed by Joseph Haydn’s ‘Nelson Mass’ (‘Missa in Angustiis’), a magnificently joyous piece, described by Haydn’s chief biographer, H. C. Robbins Landon, as ‘arguably Haydn’s greatest single composition’. Composed in a mere 53 days and premiered at the Esterházy Court in September 1798, it is the best-known of Haydn’s last six masses, and is scored for four soloists with an orchestra of trumpets, timpani, organ and strings.


Date: Saturday 23 April 2022, St Albans Cathedral 

Time: 7.30pm

St Albans Choral Society

Orchestra Nova

George Vass – conductor


Rebecca Bottone – soprano

Rebecca Afonwy-Jones – mezzo-soprano

Bradley Smith – tenor

Felix Kemp – baritone

Amy Dickson – saxophone

Tickets: £10 – £30, available via St Albans Cathedral website –


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