Chaffinches, blackcaps, blackbirds, chiffchaffs, robins & wrens -
Ex Cathedra welcome the summer with dawn chorus commission from Stevie Wishart

Described as “one of Britain’s very best choirs” by the New York Times, Ex Cathedra celebrates the arrival of summer with a world premiere as part of its atmospheric Summer Music by Candlelight concerts. Performed by the glow of candlelight as dusk falls on a long summer evening, these joyous concerts will take audiences on a journey from a dawn chorus of birdsong to repertoire inspired by sultry summer evenings.

The opening sequence of the concert features the new commission from composer Stevie Wishart. Voicing the Dawn is a soundscape that will surround the audience with birdsong, both avian – captured by the composer at 5am - and human imitations. She explains: “Each of the birds has a series of short, rapid song-bursts sung in a human-timescale coinciding with the same song heard in its original form in the soundscape. The song of a wren is particularly melodic, and slowing it down both in terms of pitch and duration reveals its inner secrets of sound in a free-flowing chant-like melody recalling Messaien’s association with bird-song and the neums of liturgical chant…”

Relationships with local composers are important to Ex Cathedra, and alongside pieces by Alec Roth and Liz Johnson, the programme pays tribute to John Joubert who died earlier this year, with his Three Portraits, premiered by Ex Cathedra in 1983. There are lighter moments with arrangements of Singin in the rain (we trust it won’t), Summer Holiday and a detour to a French étang with Trenet’s La mer (aka Somewhere beyond the sea) before reaching dusk and Whitacre’s hypnotic Sleep. Resist if you can.

Ex Cathedra perform Summer Music by Candlelight at Hereford Cathedral (Thu 6 Jun). Later in the summer they can be heard performing Rachmaninoff’s Vespers at Gloucester Cathedral for the Three Choirs Festival, a piece which also opens the choir’s 50th anniversary season in Birmingham this autumn. 

The concert at Hereford Cathedral will be conducted by Sarah Latto, Ex Cathedra’s inaugural Associate Conductor.

You can book in person at Hereford Cathedral Shop (or by calling 01432 374 210) or online via The Courtyard or call The Courtyard box office on 01432 340 555

£28.50 / £20.50 / £11.50 (plus £1.50 booking fee from the Courtyard, Hereford)