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Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament Music with Sir David Willcocks
Cathedral Concerts with Sir David Willcocks

King of Kings - Holiday Handel
8 pm Saturday January 19, 2002

Handel Let The Bright Seraphim
Let Their Celestial Concerts
Hallelujah Chorus, Zadok The Priest
Scheidt A King Is Born
Bach Christians, Be Joyful!
Mozart Laudate Dominum
Mozart Coronation Mass

multiple choirs drawn from
Christchurch City Choir
Cecilian Singers, Jubilate Singers
Hagley Singers, Schola Cantorum
CBS Choir & Orchestra
Leader: David Williams

Sir David Willcocks 1919 - 2015Nelson, January 2006

Sir David began his musical training as a chorister at Westminster Abbey, later winning scholarships to Clifton College and King's College, Cambridge. After a five-year period of military service, he was elected a Fellow of King's College and Conductor of the Cambridge Philharmonic Society. Subsequently he became Organist of Salisbury Cathedral, and later of Worcester Cathedral, conducting the Three Choirs Festival. From 1950 to 1974, he was Director of Music at King's College and Lecturer in Music and Conductor of the Cambridge University Choral Society. From 1974 to 1984, he was Director of London's Royal College of Music. He was Musical Director of the London Bach Choir from 1960 to 1998. Under his direction, the London Bach Choir, King's College Choir and the Royal College of Music Chamber Choir made many recordings of great choral works with England's leading orchestras. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1977 and held honorary degrees from several universities in the UK, USA and Canada. He died in 2015.

The Dream Of Gerontius - Elgar
8 pm Saturday January 18, 2003

Sir David Willcocks flew to Christchurch directly from London for a week of intensive rehearsal of a work he has recorded and conducted many times, regarded as a choral and orchestral masterpiece. Celebrated ex-Christchurch tenor Richard Greager sang the central role of Gerontius, with Howard Harvey as the priest and heraldic angel of the agony, and mezzo-soprano Ruth Reid as an angelic guide through the after-life. Jennie Goldstein led the 65 players in an augmented CBS Orchestra, and Nicholas Dillon played the cathedral organ.
The Dream gave full scope to the 120-voice Combined Choir which contained singers who had travelled from as far afield as Auckland. Mocking devil's choruses, triumphant and thrilling songs of praise, and celestial vocal effects from three separate choirs made this a memorable work, and its first performance in the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament provided an integral connection to the fervent poetry of Cardinal Newman.

DVD & Video Concert Recordings Available.

Dream Rehearsal

A German Requiem - Brahms

O Praise The Lord (Chandos Anthem 9) - Handel
8 pm Saturday February 4, 2006

Again a Combined Choir of 120 singers with 60 players in an augmented CBS Orchestra provided an unforgettable experience to a packed cathedral audience. Soloists were Sue Densem, Franz Kney, Wally Enright and Howard Harvey. Harpsichord and organ was played by Grant Bartley and the orchestra was led by David Williams, with Ellen Doyle playing continuo cello.

Each work had been rehearsed in a previous week at a summer course in Nelson arranged by Carl Browning, who has organised the annual visit of Sir David to New Zealand.

Sir David Willcocks celebrated his 86th birthday at the end of 2005. His remarkable talent and stamina was evident when he directed 70 singers at the Nelson course in two consecutive public concerts providing all cues and an immaculate accompaniment to each substantial work from a grand piano. In Christchurch, he conducted from a full score of the Brahms Requiem which had been presented to him in 1950 in grateful appreciation by the members of the Salisbury Choral Society.

DVD Concert Recordings will be available.

B Minor Mass Bach

8 pm Saturday 27 January 2007

Sir David Willcocks conducted a special Bach Choir & CBS Orchestra

The world's most experienced and highly regarded choral conductor, associated for many years with London's famous Bach Choir, returned to conduct his own meticulously prepared edition of Bach's greatest work. A packed cathedral heard a stunning performance.

Hear the Gloria