Music which reflects times and the season

Hepton Singers, picture by Craig Shaw of Blu Planet Photography
Hepton Singers, picture by Craig Shaw of Blu Planet Photography

In a programme that reflects themes of our time and especially the current season of remembrance, the Hepton Singers, under guest conductor Graham Coatman, presents a programme of choral music of timeless beauty and rich variety at two concerts.

The performances take place at The Portico Library, Mosley Street, Manchester, on Saturday, November 22, at 2pm (tickets £8, £5, £1 under 18s), which is in aid of the Freedom From Torture charity, and then back on home turf at Heptonstall Parish Church, Heptonstall, on Saturday, November 29 at 8pm (tickets £8, £5, £1 under 18s).

Tickets for both events are available on the door and online from

The programme offers wide appeal, and a broad range of styles and periods, all demonstrating the Hepton Singers’ versatility: moving deftly from favourite and time-honoured choral works to fresh and sparkling gems of composition.

From a Yoruba chant, through classic Renaissance motets by Philippe de Monte, and a William Byrd setting of the text By the Waters of Babylon, we sat down and wept, the programme also includes The Raven: a dramatic and colourful rendition, composed by Graham Coatman himself, of the Anglo-Saxon poem The Battle of Finnsburh.

These pieces are offset by the subtle tones of music by newly appointed master of the Queen’s Music, Judith Weir, and her Scottish compatriot, James Macmillan.

In more vibrant mood, there are South African songs, and settings of three pieces by the poet Lorca by the Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara, evoking the sultry passions of Spain. In contrast, Clement Janequin’s depiction of the battle of Merino of 1515, in the extended madrigal La Guerre, provides an element of light yet feisty relief! Finally the evergreen madrigalian gem, Lay a Garland, by the 19th century composer Robert Pearsall, brings a close to a rich and varied programme.