Actors Eleanor Bron and Christopher Good will join St Albans Choral Society for a performance of Benjamin Britten’s The Company of Heaven and the Mozart Requiem in St Albans Abbey on Saturday 22 March at 7.30pm.
Bron (pictured below), whose many roles in theatre, film and television have included the Beatles film Help! and the comedy series Absolutely Fabulous, will join former RSC actor Christopher Good as the narrators in The Company of Heaven, composed in 1937 at the start of Britten’s brilliant career.
This dramatic but little-known work is about angels and their part before the creation of the world, in the Holy Scriptures, and in daily life and death. It features texts from the Bible, hymns and passages by Christina Rossetti, Emily Brontë, William Blake and John Bunyan, with incidental music for soloists, choir and small orchestra.
The work starts with a sombre orchestral passage that wanders chromatically, suggesting the primordial chaos. It progresses through movements of tension, sweetness and brilliance, culminating splendidly with the hymn tune Lasst uns erfreuen, sung to the words ‘Ye watchers and ye holy ones’. Britten noted in his diary that the original instrumentalists said ‘it’s the best incidental music they’ve ever played’.
The soloists in this piece and the much-loved Mozart Requiem are Marianne Cotterill, soprano, Marta Fontanals-Simmons, mezzo soprano, Greg Tassell, tenor, and Christopher Foster, bass-baritone. Orchestral accompaniment is provided by Orchestra Nova and George Vass, the Society’s Music Director, conducts.
Tickets priced at £25, £20, £15 and £10 are available from SACS Ticket Line on 07884 231958, online at allaboutstalbans.com or Information Desk, Chapter House, St Albans Abbey on 01727 860780.