In the most ambitious project it has ever undertaken, the Lennox Berkeley Society has organised and found funding for a first recording and three prestigious performances of one of Lennox Berkeley’s greatest and rarely performed works, the ‘Stabat Mater’, an austerely beautiful depiction of the suffering of Mary during Christ’s crucifixion.

All the concerts are given by the same forces – two of the most admired of young ensembles, The Marian Consort and the Berkeley Ensemble, both conducted by former Chairman of the LBS and Berkeley champion David Wordsworth. The first concert, that also included works by Benjamin Britten and Michael Berkeley was warmly received at Blythburgh Church (part of Aldeburgh Music) on Good Friday (March 25th) and was followed by an intense few days of recording in the Britten Studio, Snape Maltings, for a CD to be issued by Delphian Records in June/July 2016.

Two further performances will take place during the summer – firstly at the Spitalfields Music Festival (June 7th – Shoreditch Church) in a programme that includes music by Michael Berkeley, Judith Weir, Hilary Campbell and Matthew Martin and finally at the Cheltenham Music Festival (July 17th – Pittville Pump Room) that includes music by Michael Berkeley, Colin Matthews, Ravel and Poulenc.

The ‘Stabat Mater’ has been rarely heard since its first performances and is dedicated to Benjamin Britten, who conducted the UK premiere in September 1947, a few weeks after the world premiere in Zurich, which was conducted by the composer himself.

All the performances are dedicated to the memory of Lady Freda Berkeley, Patron of the LBS and widow of Sir Lennox, who died earlier this year.

‘The greatness of the ‘Stabat Mater’ depends not only on the skill of its craftsmanship but also on the deeply-felt conviction that underlies the concept of the work’. Imogen Holst.

For further information please contact: Adam Pounds (chairman) [email protected]


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