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One Equal Music

 St Peter's Singers of Leeds
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"Bring us, O Lord God, at our last awakening, into the house and gate of heaven, to enter into that gate and dwell in that house, where there shall be no darkness nor dazzling, but one equal light; no noise nor silence but one equal music; no fears nor hopes but one equal possession; no ends nor beginnings but one equal eternity; in the habitations of thy Glory and Dominion, world without end. Amen."

John Donne (1572-1631)

William Harris’s peerless setting of John Donne’s poem was the inspiration behind an exciting and innovative project that took place in Leeds last summer. We performed and recorded a programme of modern sacred music in the fabulous space and acoustic that is Leeds’ Victoria Quarter. Following two flashmob-type appearances during shopping hours on the weekend of the Tour de France's Grand Départ from Leeds, the concert attracted an audience of some 170 on a glorious summer evening, with the sunlight catching the stained glass in the roof and casting all sorts of mystical lights as we sang. The recording is now available and can be purchased here.

The programme includes works by the likes of Whitacre, Lauridsen, Pärt, Beamish and MacMillan alongside Harris, Parry and three modern Yorkshire greats – Edward Bairstow, Francis Jackson and Philip Moore – performed in a shopping centre...

Not quite any old shopping centre, however - the Victoria Quarter is the premium retail centre in the North of England. It was created twenty years ago by enclosing a network of marbled Victorian arcades beneath the largest stained-glass window in Europe, creating a magnificent cathedral-like space and acoustic that also houses some seriously high-end retail therapy centres - more a cathedral of commerce.

St Peter’s Singers have sung here before – for some years now, actually – delighting diners at the Harvey Nichols Espresso Bar in the weeks before Christmas, and this was where the idea germinated. “Last Christmas we sang Morten Lauridsen’s O Magnum Mysterium alongside the carols, and you could see just how enraptured many of the guests were. They may not have heard anything like this before,” said Quentin Brown, the choir's Concert Manager.

“We thought just how exciting it would be to bring more of this fantastic Cathedral music – music that by its eloquent simplicity awakens our spirituality with feelings of life, love, mystery, timelessness and awe – to a totally accessible public space, where, thanks to the architecture and the acoustics, it can still work. Normally such sonorities don’t escape our great churches, and although people are being drawn to cathedrals in growing numbers to hear choral music, most will still never hear it. This is why we called our project ‘One Equal Music’.

We would like to thank Sound Engineer and Producer Steve Swinden of Chorum for an absolutely superb job !

    Here's what they are saying about One Equal Music:

  • 'It is absolutely, stunningly beautiful. All I could do was sit back with a huge smile as I listened to these fabulous recordings'. - Jeff, Vermont

  • ' Just a brilliant brilliant disc ...the choice of repertoire is just glorious - best choral CD I've bought in YEARS.' - Elizabeth Stratford, Organist and Master of the Choristers, Arundel Cathedral

  • 'I felt as if I had been wrapped in a blanket of peace' - Sue, New Jersey

  • 'It's wonderful ! ...I love the production value and design of the booklet and cover design too.' - Rosemary, York

  • 'Inspired by their conductor, Dr Simon Lindley, the Singers sound completely inside the music and sing with a real depth of understanding' - Philip Moore

  • 'It sounds wonderful !' - Sally Beamish

  • 'The recording finds [St Peter's Singers] in sterling form under Simon Lindley. Harris' motet Faire is the Heaven, richly toned, beautifully balanced, glows in the resonant acoustic while the serene lines of Lauridsen's O Magnum Mysterium are shaped with great delicacy. A splendid enterprise.' - Robert Cockcroft, Yorkshire Post 13/02/15

  • 'Conducted by Simon Lindley, who shows clear sympathy with the music, the choir makes a lovely clear, bright sound ... The acoustic brings a lovely bloom to the voices whilst preserving clarity - Robert Hugill

    Read Robert's review

   

Programme

Bring us, O Lord God, at our last awakening

William Harris

3.21

Let all mortal flesh keep silence

Edward Bairstow

3.34

Alleluia

Eric Whitacre

8.14

Faire is the heaven

William Harris

4.52

Magnificat

Arvo Pärt

6.35

Bogoróditse dyévo

Serge Rachmaninov

2.34

In the stillness

Sally Beamish

2.16

O Magnum Mysterium

Morten Lauridsen

6.35

O Radiant Dawn

James MacMillan

4.28

Morning Prayers

Philip Moore

6.27

Prayers in Time of Distress

Philip Moore

4.11

Evening Prayers

Philip Moore

4.55

Evening Hymn

Francis Jackson

6.08

My soul, there is a country

Hubert Parry

3.47

Holy is the True Light

William Harris

1.58

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