J. S. Bach's St John Passion

J. S. Bach's St John Passion

Friday 30 March 7.00pm

Gloucester Cathedral Choir
Corelli Ensemble
Adrian Partington - conductor
Rob Waters - Evangelist
Nicholas Perfect - Jesus
Matthew Clark - Pilatus

On Good Friday, come and hear Bach's emotional retelling of the passion of Christ according to St John performed by Gloucester Cathedral Choir and the Corelli Ensemble, in the stunning setting of Gloucester Cathedral

Tickets £10 (children under 16 - Free) available from 01452 768928 (Mon-Fri 10am-4pm), in the Cathedral Gift Shop (Mon-Fri 10am-4pm) or click here to get your tickets now

Gloucester Cathedral Choir

Nine centuries ago the boys and monks of the Benedictine Abbey of St Peter, Gloucester, sang for daily worship. Today’s choir stems from that established by Henry VIII in 1539, and consists of 18 boys (choristers) and 12 men (lay clerks and choral scholars). The Choristers receive generous scholarships to attend The King’s School, also founded around the same time as the Cathedral by Henry VIII.

Adrian Partington, who was himself a Chorister at Worcester Cathedral and Organ Scholar of King’s College Cambridge, was appointed Director of Music in January 2008 with a remit to maintain and develop standards of musical excellence in the worship at the Cathedral. Jonathan Hope became Assistant Director of Music in March 2014 and accompanies the majority of the Cathedral Services. The Cathedral supports 3 Choral Scholars and an Organ Scholar to help young people gain experience of the Cathedral music tradition and valuable training prior to them taking up a university place.

The choir sings six services each week in term time, major carol services at Advent, Christmas and Epiphany. Once or twice a year the choir sings live on BBC Radio 3, and they regularly take part in concerts with prestigious choirs and orchestras; the choristers have recently sung in combined concerts with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and the Gloucester and Bristol Choral Societies.

The choir made a commercial CD of the music of John Joubert in 2009, much of the repertoire being hitherto unrecorded. Two other CDs have been recorded recently: a CD of the music sung during the 2011 tour to South Africa and a live recording of the choristers singing Britten’s Ceremony of Carols.

The Outreach work of the Cathedral choir has included: a 12 day tour to South Africa in 2011, a 5 day trip to the twinned diocese of Västerås in Sweden in 2012, three Junior Voices Project Concerts per year and a termly visit to Parishes within the Diocese of Gloucester.

The annual Three Choirs Festival, which is a major summertime commitment, is the world’s oldest Music Festival, dating back to 1715. The Festival is held in Gloucester, Worcester and Hereford in rotation. In 2017 the festival will be held in Worcester.

See for more details.

Corelli Ensemble

Described recently by The Independent as 'top-notch' and as having 'impeccable instrumental ensemble', theCorelli Orchestra is one of the country's few regionally-based period-instrument orchestras. Resident at the Pittville Pump Room since 2003, and directed from the harpsichord by its founder Warwick Cole, it is modelled in its style and composition on eighteenth-century court orchestras. Central to the Corelli's ethos is a commitment to vibrant, engaging performances - 'the players have their own individual charisma which visibly communicates' (Classical Music) - and a desire to explore the still untapped riches of eighteenth-century music. Recent 'firsts' in its innovative programming have taken in St Georges, J. C. F. Bach and Vivaldi-pupil, Giovanni Verocai. But above all, the emphasis is on the needs of its audiences: to date, the Corelli Orchestra has received no state funding or sponsorship and is thus uniquely market orientated.

Adrian Partington conductor

Adrian Partington is Director of Music at Gloucester Cathedral, Artistic Director of the Gloucester Three Choirs Festival, Artistic Director of the BBC National Chorus of Wales, and Conductor of Gloucester Choral Society. He has been Director of Music at Gloucester Cathedral since January 2008, and since then he has taken the choir on concert tours to the U.S.A., South Africa, Sweden, and in 2015, to Canada. The choir has performed many times on BBC Radio 3 - including the Easter Day Evensong in 2011, and the Ash Wednesday Evensong in 2014 - and the choir has made critically-acclaimed CDs of the sacred music of John Joubert and of music associated with World War 1, including the first recording of a substantial motet by the Gloucester war poet, Ivor Gurney.

Adrian has been Director of the BBC National Chorus of Wales since 1999, and has prepared the chorus for well over 100 concerts, including many BBC Proms. He conducts the Chorus in several concerts each year, for example, in 2015, concerts of the works of Thierry Escaich, and William Mathias. Before that, he was Associate Chorus Master of the CBSO Chorus, and joint-founder and conductor of the CBSO Youth Chorus. He has worked closely with many leading international conductors, including Gergiev, Rattle, Abbado, and Haitink. In 2015, he made his debut with the Dutch Radio Choir.

As well as enjoying his several permanent posts, Adrian pursues a varied career as a conductor, a pianist and an organist. He conducts each year the Philharmonia Orchestra, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and many other professional ensembles. He has conducted the Orchestra of Welsh National Opera in several new concert works, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in opera galas and symphonic concerts across the U.K. In September 2014, he conducted the Philharmonia at St. John’s Smith Square. In April, 2015, he made his debut with the Royal Flanders Philharmonic Orchestra, conducting “The Kingdom” at the Concertgebouw, Bruges.

He studied at the Royal College of Music – with Herbert Howells amongst other fine teachers – and at King’s College, Cambridge, where he was both the Organ Scholar and an Academic Scholar. 

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