St Andrews debut for ‘phenomenal’ Tenebrae at Voices festival

Tenebrae's concert takes place on Friday, October 26. (Photo: Chris O'Donovan)
Tenebrae's concert takes place on Friday, October 26. (Photo: Chris O'Donovan)

Described as ‘phenomenal’ by The Times, Tenebrae, one of the world’s finest chamber choirs, will make their St Andrews debut next month when they perform at Holy Trinity Church as part of St Andrews Voices.

Tenebrae’s previous performances including appearances at the BBC Proms and the Leipzig Gewandhaus while their recordings have received numerous awards and a Grammy nomination.

The concert takes place on Friday, October 26, beginning at 7.30pm.

Tenebrae’s programme marks the centenary of the Great War with music including Parry’s haunting Songs of Farewell, Herbert Howells’ Take him Earth for Cherishing written in memory of President John F. Kennedy and John Tavener’s Song for Athene, forever associated with the funeral of Princess Diana.

The concert also includes the Scottish premiere of A Foreign Field Psalm by German composer Torsten Rasch.

Tenebrae’s founder and director Nigel Short is looking forward to the occasion.

He said: “I’m hugely excited to be bringing Tenebrae to St Andrews for our first performance there, and indeed my own first visit to this renowned town. Our programme is full of intensity and drama, creating an atmosphere that highlights the poignancy of treasured words and music, and marking the huge loss of talent, creative and otherwise, in the Great War. A final message of hope comes from Arnold Schoenberg’s Friede of Erden.

“This is something of a ‘giant’ in the choral repertoire in terms of difficulty but, regardless of its technical demands, it stands in the emotional impact it can generate.”

Sonia Stevenson, Voices’ artistic director, is excited to be welcoming such a prestigious ensemble.

“It’s an enormous privilege to be welcoming Tenebrae to St Andrews; there are very few choirs in the world that are this good,” she said.

“Add to that the beautiful programme they’ve put together, and the gorgeous setting of Holy Trinity, and I know we’re going to be in for something special.”

On Saturday morning, October 27, at 10am in the Younger Hall, keen amateur singers will have the opportunity to take part in a come-and-sing workshop with Tenebrae’s founder/director Nigel Short when the repertoire will include an excerpt from the Parry songs performed the previous evening.

Advance registration at the Byre Box Office is essential to participate in this event.

St Andrews Voices is Scotland’s festival of vocal and choral music and takes place each year in October. Tickets are available in advance from the Byre Theatre Box Office, online, or by telephone 01334 475000.

For full details of this year’s St Andrews Voices programme, which runs from October 25-28, visit www.standrewsvoices.com.