Sunday 11 am services that are designated A Choral Feast present the opportunity to experience the great sacred choral repertoire, often heard in concert halls, within their original context of a worship service. These services are held about once each month and celebrate a specific theme, composer, or present a major choral work, often with instrumentalists joining St. Bartholomew's Choir.
On Sunday, March 27, 2022, the choral repertoire is centered around Ralph Vaughan Williams’s masterpiece for unaccompanied double choir and soloists, Mass in G Minor. It was composed 100 years ago and 2022 is the 150th anniversary of the composer’s birth. The Mass is strongly influenced by music of the Tudor Period and English folk song. Vaughan Williams’s oeuvre marked a decisive break in British music from the German-dominated style of his predecessors and this is the first substantial, unaccompanied setting written in a distinctly English idiom since the time of William Byrd in the sixteenth century.
Choral masterworks in Liturgy
Almost all of the greatest composers of the western musical canon have written music for use in worship, including major works such as Mass settings and Canatas. Over the years, St. Bartholomew's has distinguished itself as a musical destination by including hundreds of such works, often with chamber orchestra, as a part of our communal worship. Through A Choral Feast, we endeavor to present these great masterworks as they were originally intended by their creators: offered not in concert, but rather as a part of worship, in gratitude to the almighty.
Recently featured works have included Duruflé's Requiem, Haydn's Missa Sancti Nicolai, Vierne's Messe Solennelle, Mozart's Missa Brevis in B-flat (K.275), Mendelssohn's Deutsche Liturgie, Franz Schubert's Mass No. 4 in C Major, D. 452, Jonathan Dove’s Missa Brevis, and music of Johann Sebastian Bach.
Recent Choral Feasts have celebrated Americana for July 4th, music of LGBTQ composers for Pride Weekend, themes of heroism and service for Memorial Day. They sometimes mark red-letter days in the cycle of the church year, such as the Last Sunday after the Epiphany or All Saints Day.
Recently featured composers have included Felix Mendelssohn, Johann Sebastian Bach, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, and Tomas Luis da Victoria, among others.
We sometimes combine choirs for A Choral Feast, adding St. Bart's Singers or the Choristers to St. Bartholomew's Choir, our professional choral ensemble that sings for the 11 am service each Sunday. Our magnificent Aeolian-Skinner organ is always a featured part of our musical offerings, including c.10 minutes of solo organ music before the service, as well as a featured work to conclude worship.
“All are to be welcomed as Christ," wrote St. Benedict. We endeavor to welcome visitors not only into community and connection but indeed to a feast.