‘Visionary’ new requiem recalls armistice

Picture Credit: Paula Brown - Ollievision Photography

It is not often that a choir can boast about the creativity of its own members, but St Peter’s Singers of Leeds is set to do so, and with good cause, writes David Hawkin.

Award-winning poet Hannah Stone and emerging young composer Matthew Oglesby have created a new Requiem called Penthos, a 55-minute work scored for choir and orchestra, with alto and baritone soloists.

This visionary and inspirational piece will receive its first performance at 6pm on 27 October at St. Michael’s, Headingley in Leeds, directed by Fulneck’s Dr Simon Lindley, as part of the city’s centenary commemorations of the Great War Armistice.

The concert also features music by Mauersberger and Beethoven.

Following broadly the form of the Western Requiem Mass, but using a text re-conceived from the poetry of early Eastern Christian monks, Penthos is a meditation on conflict and reconciliation. The music seeks to evoke abroad sense of spirituality, uniting early 20th century English and European influences with sonorities hailing from the rich traditions of the Eastern Churches, such as tolling Russian bells and Serbian chant.

‘I think the St Peter’s Singers members have been possibly a little surprised, but in the end quite overwhelmed, by the beauty of both the words and the music that we have rehearsed so far’, said Pudsey resident Quentin Brown, the choir’s Chair  and bass soloist.

‘We’re not strangers to new music, but giving voice to music and poetry written by our own is a really special thrill, and we want to share them as widely as possible with our local community and with music lovers wherever they may be. This is truly something to celebrate’.

Director of Music Dr Simon Lindley said:

“The compelling musical sonorities and word-rich verbal texts have enthused all who have heard them and promise a very special experience in our Headingley concert – a programme also including deeply felt works by Beethoven and the legendary Dresden composer Rudolf Mauersberger.”

St Peter’s Singers have created a dedicated website where you can find out more and reserve your place at the concert.


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