THE Durham Singers' summer concert will link Durham with its twin city in Germany.

The choir have been invited to take part in a prestigious concert series at Tübingen’s Stiftskirche in September, and will share the same mixture of German and British music with their local audience in their concert at St Brandon’s Church, Brancepeth at 7.30pm on Saturday June 30.

The Tübinger Motette concert series has been running continuously since 1945, and their theme this autumn is “the road to Bach”, in preparation for a festival celebrating the music of Johann Sebastian Bach later in the year.

The Durham Singers will finish their concert with Bach’s magnificent motet for double choir, Singet dem Herrn, which begins with the two choirs throwing excitingly virtuosic music back and forth. A quieter central section has one choir singing a chorale hymn, answered by a lilting melody from the other, before a jubilant Alleluia.

The Durham Singers’ own road to Bach leads through other settings by British and German composers of the same psalm text as the Bach piece, Sing unto the Lord a New Song.

A verse anthem by Purcell alternates between a dramatic bass solo, sung by Anthony Smith and joyful outbursts from the choir, whilst pieces by Byrd and Tomkins showcase the English renaissance music that forms part of the choir’s core repertoire. Regulars at the Durham Singers’ concerts will know that the choir also enjoy performing ‘new songs’ too, and this summer’s programme includes two pieces by the contemporary composers Julian Anderson and James MacMillan.

In Anderson’s take on the psalm, the choir evoke the sounds of blazing trumpets and the deep roar of the ocean, before ending with a spirit of awe and wonder that matches the earlier piece by Purcell. MacMillan’s A New Song has gently ornamented lines, with the composer’s characteristic use of Scottish folk rhythms, and a complex organ accompaniment.

The German music on the programme looks back to music by some of Bach’s predecessors. Johann Pachelbel’s lively version of Singet dem Herrn shows that there is far more to this composer than his famous “Canon”.

The choir’s Assistant Musical Director, Francesca Massey plays organ preludes by Buxtehude and Praetorius that are based on the same chorale melody that Bach uses in Singet dem Herrn and we also hear a choral version by Heinrich’s Schütz.

Jane Shuttleworth of The Durham Singers said the visit to Germany builds on connections that the choir made last year when Semiseria, a choir from Tübingen, visited Durham.

She said: “We spent a very enjoyable evening with Semiseria singing and socialising together, and exchanging ideas, and now we’re looking forward to taking our repertoire to Germany, sharing it with our new friends there, and developing the musical links between our two cities. We’re also very grateful for the support we have received from Durham County Council in this venture”.

Members of the audience at the Brancepeth concert are invited to join the choir afterwards for seasonal refreshments.

Durham Singers O Sing!, 30 June, 7.30pm, St Brandon’s Church Brancepeth. Tickets for the concert entitled O Sing! are available online at , from Durham Music Shop in Langley Moor, or by contacting the choir on 0779 0148062.