Summer 2020
Home Choir - Herbert Howells
  Date:  Summer 2020
  Venue:  Online via ZOOM
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In the Spring of 2020 the global pandemic knocked out our planned performances of Beethoven’s Missa solemnis, Bach’s St John Passion, and Bruckner’s Mass in E minor, but undeterred we quickly migrated to Zoom and raided our Musical Director’s garage for a source of music which could be sung for pure enjoyment. We quickly found that getting used to singing virtually was quite a challenge - you can only hear yourself and the piano, so it doesn’t feel very “choral”.

The songs Lee selected were from an incomplete project he had with the Choirs of All Saints Northampton to record a large number of the pieces written by Herbert Howells CH CBE (1892-1983) which have not yet been recorded. Many of these songs are in two parts, which saved time in “note bashing” as soprano and tenor were the same, and alto and bass the same. As the term continued we opened up into the two four-part male voice choruses from 1914, and the extraordinary A Maid Peerless which divides into as many as eight parts for just sopranos and altos.

We worked alongside our Musical Director’s choirs in Huntingdon, Leamington Spa, and Wellingborough, including singing together in joint sectional rehearsals, which was great - especially to have nearly 30 tenors all together at one time! We also welcomed guest experts to talk about Howells’s music, including the Musical Director the Bach Choir (London), Dr David Hill MBE, and Dr Jonathan Clinch who is currently writing a new biography of Howells.

More information on what we achieved can be found here.


Northampton Bach Choir
Conductor - Lee Dunleavy

The Choral Songs of Herbert Howells

A Golden Lullaby (1920)
A Maid Peerless (1931)
A New Year Carol (1939)
Delicates so dainty (1931)
Pink Almond (1957)
Piping down the valley’s wild (1938)
Sweet content (1931)
The Saylor’s Song (1927)
The Tinker’s Song (1914)
The Winds Whistle Cold (1914)
Tune Thy music (1927)
Weep you no more, sad fountains (1914)