Choral Pilgrimage concert at Lancaster Priory

On October 14 choir and period instrument orchestra The Sixteen is performing at Lancaster Priory as part of the 20th anniversary of the much loved Choral Pilgrimage, postponed from 2020.

By Michelle Blade
Thursday, 14th October 2021, 11:13 am
The Sixteen at Chichester Cathedral. Photo: Simon Jay Price.
The Sixteen at Chichester Cathedral. Photo: Simon Jay Price.

The group is travelling to 13 cathedrals and churches across the UK including Lancaster Priory while other anniversary concerts include music by Handel and a Christmas programme centred around Bob Chilcott’s double choir Advent Antiphons.

This year’s tour, The Call of Rome, focuses on the city which has inspired countless pilgrimages, and particularly the Sistine Chapel, where each of the composers featured, Victoria, Josquin, F. Anerio and Allegri, created some of their finest works.

All of them had an association with the Chapel at some point during their career, particularly Gregorio Allegri whose Miserere is perhaps the most famous piece of sacred music ever written.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary, and to illustrate how many times the Miserere has evolved since its first performances in the Sistine Chapel, conductor Harry Christophers has asked three composers – Roxanna Panufnik, Bob Chilcott and Gabriel Jackson – to compose their own versions of the famous soprano line with its top C.

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    At each Choral Pilgrimage concert, a different version will be performed, and the audience will not know whose version it will be until Christophers announces it during the concert.

    The Sixteen gave its first concert in 1979 under the direction of founder and conductor Harry Christophers.

    Their pioneering work since has made a profound impact on the performance of choral music and attracted a large new audience, not least as ‘The Voices of Classic FM’ and through BBC television’s Sacred Music series.

    The voices and period-instrument players of The Sixteen are at home in more than five centuries of music, a breadth reflected in their annual Choral Pilgrimage to Britain’s great cathedrals and sacred spaces, regular appearances at the world’s leading concert halls, and award-winning recordings for The Sixteen’s CORO and other labels.

    Recent highlights include the world premiere of James MacMillan’s Symphony No. 5 ‘Le grand Inconnu’, commissioned for The Sixteen by the Genesis Foundation, an ambitious ongoing series of Handel oratorios, a debut tour of China, and a specially-commissioned series of programmes presented by Sir Simon Russell Beale entitled A Choral Odyssey. Tickets for the concert at Lancaster Priory cost £10-£25 (booking fees apply). To book tickets visit