CELEBRATORY English pieces will be performed by the New Elizabethan Singers.

Their Summer Concert on May 18 will be a challenging and exciting programme of four short but iconic 20th century English pieces, all celebratory in tone and theme.

Benjamin Britten’s Rejoice in The Lamb was commissioned as a celebratory piece in the otherwise dark days of 1943 for the anniversary of the building of a church. The piece uses the strange lyrics of Christopher Smart, a visionary and troubled 18th century poet. Smart, who spent some years confined in an asylum, celebrated the glory of creation in many manifestations including his pet cat Geoffrey and also a valiant mouse of his acquaintance. All animal lovers should hear this!

Equally unusual is John Tavener’s Thunder Entered Her. Those familiar with Tavener’s The Lamb will recognise his deep interest in religious mysticism and here he takes the 4th century poetry of St. Ephrem The Syrian to reflect the awe and wonder of the birth of Christ. The music is reminiscent of the Eastern Orthodox church and the fantastically low basso profundo notes will provide a particular challenge for the basses!

John Rutter’s Psalmfest was written over about 20 years and completed in 1996. Based on nine of the Psalms of David, the whole work is a celebration of life; expressing irrepressible joy and exuberance throughout.

Last but not least is a piece very well known by most of us as Nimrod from Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations. Famous for his film compositions and adaptions, John Cameron has adapted this classic orchestral work into an eight-part choral piece to the words of Lux Aeterna from the Latin requiem mass. Not so celebratory perhaps, but a deeply satisfying sing!

Matt Kingston will direct. The concert will feature professional soloists, organ and instrumental ensemble.

*Summer Concert, Bridport United Church, 7pm. Tickets cost £12 and are available from Goadsby and Bridport Music.