A GROUP of internationally-renowned period instrument musicians will be joining forces with a local chamber choir for a concert at an historic North-East chapel.

The English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble and the Durham Singers present a programme on the theme of remembrance and consolation, with music by Purcell, Bach, Schütz, Howells and Francis Pott at St Cuthbert's Chapel, Ushaw, at 7.30pm on Saturday, November 9.

The solemn and majestic sound of the cornetts and sackbuts will recreate the atmosphere of a royal funeral in Purcell’s Funeral sentences for Queen Mary, which ends with the moving anthem Thou knowest, Lord, the secrets of our hearts.

Another national act of mourning is recalled in Herbert Howell’s masterpiece Take him, earth, for cherishing, which was written for a memorial service to John F. Kennedy. A simple dirge recalling the quiet tread of a funeral procession opens up into a work of enormous emotional power and range.

The programme also reflects on private grief, and uses music to trace the human journey from loss to consolation with words of comfort from the psalms set by the German baroque composer Heinrich Schütz and a gently moving work for double choir by the contemporary British composer Francis Pott, The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, a piece commissioned for Winchester Cathedral in memory of a member of their congregation. Private and public mourning are mingled here, as the composer writes that he thought of the loss of his parents whilst writing it, just as Howells poured his grief at the tragic loss of his young son into ‘Take him, earth, for cherishing’.

The Durham Singers previously performed with The English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble in a performance of Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers in Durham Cathedral in 2017.

Marketing Manager Jane Shuttleworth said: "We all have fantastic memories of singing with these amazing instruments, and we’re delighted to have the opportunity to work with them again. As well as accompanying us, they’ll be bringing some of their own music to this concert too, so we’ll be able to enjoy listening to them ourselves."

In addition to the English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble, two talented young soloists will be appearing with the Durham Singers. Tenor James Draper has recently graduated from Durham University: he is currently a member of Durham Cathedral Choir and is a member of two prestigious training programmes for young singers – Samling Academy and The Sixteen’s Genesis Sixteen. Bass Matthew MacCullough is another Durham graduate, currently singing with Newcastle Cathedral Choir: he will perform Schütz’s setting of King David’s lamentation Fili mi, Absalon with the English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble.

As the programme moves from darkness to light, the concert ends with J.S. Bach’s glorious anthem O Jesu Christ, mein’s Lebens Licht, with the cornetts and sackbuts adding their warm glow to the texture with music that expresses the hope of eternal peace.

The Souls of the Righteous.

The Durham Singers with the English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble

9 November 2019. 7.30 pm, St Cuthbert’s Chapel, Ushaw College

Tickets £16, £10 students and under-25s, children 13 and under free. Available from www.durham-singers.org, Durham Music Shop, High Street Langley Moor, or on the door. For inquiries, contact the choir on 0779 0148062 or email info@durham-singers.org.