From touring with Noel Gallagher to concert at St Albans Cathedral

PUBLISHED: 13:51 22 February 2015 | UPDATED: 09:29 23 February 2015

Hertfordshire Chorus rehearsing for Bach: St John Passion

Hertfordshire Chorus rehearsing for Bach: St John Passion


Members of a Welwyn Hatfield choir, who have previously toured with Noel Gallagher, are busy rehearsing for an appearance at St Albans Cathedral next weekend.

Noel Gallagher on stageNoel Gallagher on stage

Hertfordshire Chorus’ forthcoming concert, Bach’s St John Passion, will take place in the fabulous surroundings of the historic abbey on Saturday, February 28, at 7.30pm.

One of the finest large choirs in the county, Hertfordshire Chorus has around 130 members of all ages from across Herts.

The choir held an open rehearsal at Bishop’s Hatfield Girls’ School, in Woods Avenue, last Wednesday ahead of its forthcoming performance in St Albans.

J S Bach’s St John Passion is a major work with its own distinctive character.

JS Bach St John PassionJS Bach St John Passion

The St John Passion is the oldest extant passion by Bach, and is performed less often than his St Matthew Passion.

It is a strikingly dramatic work with an expressive immediacy.

Bach’s great achievement with this piece is to marry a detailed, complex structure with coherent and powerful story telling.

It uses four parallel strands to bring the events of the passion to startling life.

About Hertfordshire Chorus

The Hertfordshire Chorus was founded in 1970. Known as Hatfield Philharmonic Chorus until 1992, in the last four decades the Chorus has explored a wide range of choral music and performed at the Royal Albert Hall, the Royal Festival Hall, Barbican Hall, Birmingham’s Symphony Hall and The Sage Gateshead.

The choir’s repertoire is varied, with recent programmes including Elgar’s The Kingdom, Handel’s Messiah, and Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music.

Sunday, May 17 sees the choir back at the Barbican, with a second performance of recent commission, James McCarthy’s Codebreaker, a major choral work celebrating the life of Alan Turing. It is programmed alongside Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana.

At its core is the narrative – the text of the Gospel itself.

Eight arias punctuate the action, exploring the emotions it evokes.

The performance will be in English, allowing the full narrative to be appreciated.

Musical director David Temple conducts the choir and the Chamber Players Baroque, with soloists Robert Murray, Andrew Ashwin, Zoe Brown, Diana Moore, Thomas Hobbs and Ashley Riches.

Three years ago, conductor David Temple and Hertfordshire Chorus members toured with Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.

They appeared with the former Oasis star in concert in Belfast, Dublin, Newcastle and Glasgow.

David also conducted the choral tracks on Noel Gallagher’s debut solo album.

He has also collaborated with Noel Gallagher and Oasis in the past.

Tickets for the Bach: St John Passion concert in St Albans range in price from £8 to £25.

* Tickets are available from the Abbey box office on 01727 890290 or through the Chorus’ website at

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