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‘Wondrous Cross’ – a new cantata for Passiontide

We are delighted to let you know of a special concert which our choir, the choir of Queen’s College and St Mary Magdalene Strings are performing. It is being held on Good Friday 29th March 2013 at 7.30pm.  Miles Quick, our Musical Director, expands on the delights on offer.

“In the evening of Good Friday 29th March our choir, combined with singers from Queen’s College Choral Society and a small group of experienced string players, will join together to present the short new passiontide cantata Wondrous Cross by Alan Bullard. It is based on the traditional ‘Seven Last Words’ of Jesus Christ from the cross as they appear in the four Gospel accounts. Most of the text is from the Authorised Version of the Bible, but other well-known sacred texts are also included for reflection. It will be combined with complementary meditative instrumental music, including Bach played on the oboe with organ accompaniment, and also some inspirational sounds from saxophone and organ combined. Soloists include Lorna Anderson (soprano), Peter Evans (tenor), Lynn Carter (oboe), Rachael Parvin (saxophones) and Andrew Carter (organ). The event will last about an hour and admission is free.

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Alan Bullard is one of the UK’s most highly regarded contemporary composers and a popular writer of both instrumental and choral music. He has also been involved as an elder and choir member at Lion Walk United Reformed Church in Colchester, and it is for this church that he wrote Wondrous Cross in 2012. The piece is designed along the lines of classic Passiontide pieces such as the Bach Passions and Stainer’s Crucifixion. Like the latter, it is designed for performance by enthusiastic amateurs and there are several chances for the audience to join in as well, especially at the end when the beautiful Isaac Watts hymn ‘When I survey the wondrous cross’ is introduced. Other moments for everyone to join in include the hymns ‘There is a green hill far away’ and the spiritual ‘Were you there when they crucified my Lord?’.

We hope that a good number of people will be able to come and join in with this event. Hopefully it will be a good way of stepping apart from this busy world (although it is just down Hammet Street, through the angel doors) and getting Easter Eggs into perspective a bit! It could perhaps help us to enter more deeply into worship, and contemplation of the deeply wonderful mystery of the power of the cross and what it makes possible for us. Words struggle to express concepts of that magnitude, and maybe music can sometimes take us a little further.

If you would like further details, please do have a word with me. And, if you know of anyone who you think might like to come, please do tell them about it or send them a poster. There are copies at the back of church or it can be downloaded and emailed very easily from the church website.”

Miles Quick

One Response to ‘Wondrous Cross’ – a new cantata for Passiontide

Alan Bullard

I am really pleased to see that you are performing my Wondrous Cross this Passiontide – it looks as if you have built a lovely programme around it and I’m sorry that I can’t be there (I live in Colchester, the other side of the country…) I do hope it goes well. Best wishes, Alan Bullard

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