|Special Choral Evensong|
Special 7:30 p.m. Choral Evensong with Fretwork, St. Christopher Singers and Victoria Children’s Choir
For a third time, Fretwork will join St Christopher Singers in a special Choral Evensong, one featuring the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis from William Byrd’s magnificent Great Service.
The acclaimed English viol ensemble has chosen Christ Church Cathedral for their only Canadian appearances on their 2013 North American tour.
The Byrd scholar, Richard Turbet, claims that amongst Anglican works, “there is no greater piece of music than William Byrd’s Great Service. It is without question the Bach St Matthew Passion, the Beethoven Ninth, the Mahler Eighth of the Anglican repertory” (“Byrd’s Great Service: The Jewel in the Crown of Anglican Music”, 2007).
This performance will be even more intriguing as the choir will be supported by the Fretwork viol consort. The historical evidence indicates that viols would have accompanied this work on some occasions, perhaps at Queen Elizabeth’s Chapel Royal where such forces would have been readily available. The Great Service is rich in texture, yet those attending this free Choral Evensong will have a rare opportunity to experience the creative depths of this remarkable work.
Completing the music for this Service will be a performance by the internationally-recognised Victoria Children’s Choir and Fretwork of Byrd’s charming motet “An earthly tree’. And St Christopher Singers will also join Fretwork in a work by the master of the English verse anthem, Orlando Gibbons.
Introit: William Byrd “An earthly tree” (Fretwork & Victoria Children’s Choir)
Responses: William Byrd
Psalm: Christopher Marlow chant based on William Byrd
Canticles: William Byrd “The Great Service”
Lord’s Prayer: John Sheppard
Anthems: Orlando Gibbons “Behold thou hast made my days”
“Musicians who experience the Great Service often complain… that Byrd’s melodies will not leave them alone afterwards.” (Robert Easting, 2012)