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Reflections on Gratitude and Remembrance
Five Passion Hymns (Chilcott), Unconditional Love (Goodall), Salve Deus (Alison Willis)

Saturday, 05 November 2022, 19:30 - 22:00
Cadogan Hall, 5 Sloane Terrace, London SW1X 9DQ

This is the first of Wimbledon Choral’s triptych of Passions. In this series of three concerts, the choir explores a number of different ways the story of the final days of Jesus Christ on earth are told in music.

Alison WillisAemilia Lanyer (1569-1645) was the first English woman to assert herself as a professional poet.   Her long poem Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum is her version of the story of Christ, told from a woman's perspective - believed to be based on that of Pontius Pilate's wife.  The soprano soloist in Alison Willis' interpretation acts as narrator and commentator as the Passion develops and is, by implication therefore, Pilate's wife.  This work was commissioned by Luminosa to celebrate its 10th anniversary. *

In this performance by Wimbledon Choral, the work and story are interwoven with some of the Hymns taken from Bob Chilcott’s St John Passion.   Chilcott is a long-established champion of choral music as a composer and director, both in the UK and right across the world, and his music appeals to all ages.

Howard Goodall's Unconditional Love: A Cantata of Gratitude & Remembrance, to give it its full title, was commissioned by St Luke's Church in Houston, Texas, during the height of the Covid pandemic in late 2020.   At its heart it is a work of gratitude, of memorial and of hope for a world rebuilt. It gives thanks to all those whose sacrifice and selflessness were so powerful and so moving a feature of the crisis. It honours those who died, as carers, as patients, as family members and dear friends, and it seeks to offer comfort and solace to the grieving.

The choir is particularly delighted that Howard Goodall has accepted its invitation to conduct Unconditional Love in this concert.   Also, we welcome the all-female Bella Tromba who will supply the brass accompaniment for this work.


* [Post-concert feedback from Alison : "Absolutely thrilled with the Wimbledon Choral performance of my 'Salve Deus' last night.  Very happy composer!]

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