Choir to highlight tunes by two great composers

The Hepton Singers
The Hepton Singers

A popular West Yorkshire chamber choir will celebrate two of the greatest English composers in its autumn concert at Heptonstall Church on Saturday evening.

The Hepton Singers, based in Hebden Bridge, will perform music by Benjamin Britten and William Byrd - separated by 500 years - at the choir’s seasonal soiree.

Conductor Alison West said: “Although the two composers lived five centuries apart, the distinctive and unique voice of both has added immeasurably to the richness of English choral music.

“Combining their music in one concert is a fitting and rewarding juxtaposition.”

Given that Britten was born 100 years ago this month on St Cecilia’s day (November 22), that choir decided to include his “Hymn To St Cecilia” in its autumn repertoire.

The piece, an ode to the patron saint of music and written between 1940 and 1942, was the last of Britten’s collaborations with the poet WH Auden.

The choir will also celebrate the music of William Byrd, a Renaissance composer who lived during the reign of Elizabeth I.

Byrd’s “Mass for Four Voices” is a work the choir has performed before, although not for some years, and the singers are very happy to revisit.

The mass will sit alongside several Byrd motets, including his “Ave verum corpus”, and Britten’s “Chorale After An Old French Carol” - a setting of another WH Auden poem.

The concert will take place on Saturday, November 30, at 8pm.

Tickets priced £8/£6 or £1 for those aged 18 and under can be purchased on the door.

Alternatively, bookings can be made in advance online at www.heptonsingers.co.uk.

The Hepton Singers is a 30-strong choir which rehearses in Hebden Bridge and performs around four times a year, its principal concert being in Heptonstall Church.

The choir’s repertoire features mainly a cappella music from the 16th Century to the present day, with the occasional world premiere.

It regularly hosts exchanges and tours internationally.

In 2014-2015 the choir will be taking part in a European project which will involve it performing with members of eight other European choirs in all of their home cities over an 18-month period.

The Hepton Singers will host a concert in Hebden Bridge as part of the project in April 2014. More details will be announced nearer the time.