Alexander Armstrong joins The Sixteen for a live-streamed choral concert of beautiful music and words of hope

8 June 2021, 15:54 | Updated: 10 June 2021, 19:03

The Sixteen perform ‘Newman: Meditation & Prayer’

We join The Sixteen for a very special concert of beautiful choral music, and words of hope.

Posted by Classic FM on Thursday, June 10, 2021

By Kyle Macdonald

The Voices of Classic FM offer an evening of uplifting words and stunning choral music, from a historic London church. And you can watch it live at 7pm, this Thursday.

One of the world's finest choirs is presenting a musical balm in the form of some of the greatest music ever written, new commissions from two of the finest composers of today, and ancient words of hope and healing. And the best news is, everyone's invited.

Newman: Meditation & Prayer is a special concert inspired by the life and writings of Cardinal Newman, sung by The Sixteen under their conductor Harry Christophers CBE, supported by the Genesis Foundation.

The concert will take place at 7pm on Thursday 10 June 2021 in the stunning ‘Farm Street Church’, located in the heart of London's Mayfair. The 19th-century church has a long connection with the arts, music and social justice.

Read more: The Sixteen choir give inspiring at-home performance of Sheppard’s ‘Libera Nos’

Farm Street Church, London
Farm Street Church, London. Picture: Getty

The concert opens with the luscious sounds of the Elizabethan composer Robert Parsons, and his stunning ‘Ave Maria’ and ‘O bone Jesu’. You can also hear works from Christopher Tye, William Harris and Fernand Laloux.

A true highlight will be new Genesis Foundation commissions from two of the greatest choral composers of today, Sir James MacMillan and Will Todd. Both pieces are setting of words by Cardinal Newman.

An earlier commission by Sir James MacMillan, his Stabat Mater, was part of another partnership between Classic FM, The Sixteen and the Genesis Foundation in 2018, when we presented the first ever live-streamed concert surrounded by Michelangelo's stunning frescos in the Sistine Chapel.

Thursday's music will be complemented with the spoken word, with Classic FM's flagship morning presenter Alexander Armstrong reading works of Newman, and the poet and churchman John Donne.

Cardinal Newman was a clergyman, theologian, educator and poet. He started life as an Anglican, but became a Catholic in 1845 and was made a Cardinal in 1879.

Born in London, he subsequently lived in Oxford and in Birmingham, where he spent 30 years and established the Birmingham Oratory and Oratory School. He is celebrated as the author of the epic poem The Dream Of Gerontius, which was set to music by Sir Edward Elgar in 1900.

Concert programme

● Prayer and Meditation, from Fr Dominic Robinson

● Robert Parsons: Ave Maria, O bone Jesu

● A reading by Alexander Armstrong: Cardinal Newman, A Meditation on Trust in God

● Sir James MacMillan: Nothing in Vain

● Fernand Laloux: Tantum ergo

● Will Todd: I shall be an angel of Peace

● Christopher Tye: Agnus Dei, from Mass Euge Bone

● A reading by Alexander Armstrong: John Donne, So then, the Death of the Righteous

● William Harris: Bring us, O Lord God

You can also sign up here for more details about the concert, and upcoming Genesis Foundation events.

Watch ‘Newman: Meditation & Prayer’ at 7pm on Thursday 10 June 2021, here and on Classic FM’s Facebook Page.