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Penthos - a new requiem | St Peter's Singers of Leeds

Saturday October 27, 2018 at 18:00
St Michael and All Angels' Church, Leeds
Free admission – a ticket is required

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  1. Wie liegt die Stadt so wüst - Rudolf Mauersberger
  2. Penthos, for choir, soloists and orchestra - Matthew Oglesby, libretto by Hannah Stone
  3. Mass in C Op 86 - Ludwig van Beethoven

Leeds choir St Peter’s Singers is preparing to mark the centenary of the end of the Great War with the world premiere of a new work created in Leeds by two of its own members Matthew Oglesby and Hannah Stone.

Following broadly the form of the Western Requiem Mass, but using a text re-conceived from the poetry of early Eastern Christian monks, Penthos is a meditation on conflict and reconciliation. The music seeks to evoke a broad sense of spirituality, uniting early 20th century English and European influences with sonorities hailing from the rich traditions of the Eastern Churches, such as tolling Russian bells and Serbian chant.

‘I think the St Peter’s Singers members have been possibly a little surprised, but in the end quite overwhelmed, by the beauty of both the words and the music that we have rehearsed so far’, said Quentin Brown, the choir’s Chair.

‘We’re not strangers to new music, but giving voice to music and poetry written by our own is a really special thrill, and we want to share them as widely as possible with our local community and with music lovers wherever they may be. This is truly something to celebrate’.

Director of Music Dr Simon Lindley said, ‘ The compelling musical sonorities and word-rich verbal texts have enthused all who have heard them and promise a very special experience in our Headingley concert – a programme also including deeply felt works by Beethoven and the legendary Dresden composer Rudolf Mauersberger.’

Penthos and Commemoration

The Greek word penthos means ‘mourning’. In the writings of the early Middle Eastern Christian monks, it came to mean mourning or weeping for sin, both individual and communal, as a pre-requisite for reconciliation with a merciful God. In this context, Hannah Stone translate it ‘joy-bearing grief’.

Hannah’s text, created for the centenary commemorations for the end of the Great War, explores how mourning for the fallen can turn to mourning for the causes and acts of all wars, and how this is able in its turn to lead to peace and reconciliation.

Matthew Oglesby is an emerging young composer with a string of impressive credentials including BBC radio broadcasts to his name, going back over 10 years to his time as a student at Leeds University. Born in Blackburn, Matthew spent his childhood as a chorister in the cathedral of that city, under the direction of Gordon Stewart and Richard Tanner, before moving to Leeds, where he is now a leading light in musical circles, frequently starring in productions by the Leeds G&S Society and singing with both St Peter's Singers and Leeds Guild of Singers.

Hannah Stone is the author of two collections of poetry, Lodestone (Stairwell Books, York, 2016) and Missing Miles (Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2017), the latter of which was published as a prize for winning the Geoff Stevens Memorial Prize. One of her poems from Lodestone was chosen by American poet Laureate Billy Collins to win the Yorkshire Poetry Prize in 2015. She convenes the annual poets/composers forum for the Leeds Lieder Festival. She holds degrees in English Literature and Language (University of London)and Theology (University of Leeds) and more recently an MA in Creative Writing from Leeds Trinity University, where, as Hannah Hunt, she was a Reader in Eastern Christianity, with numerous academic publications focusing on the spirituality of the early Eastern Christian Church and Mid Byzantine Church history, including Joy-Bearing Grief: Tears of Contrition in the writings of the Early Syrian and Byzantine Fathers (Brill, Leiden, 2004), which is based on her PhD thesis. In other lives, Hannah teaches for the Open University and is a singer, hill walker, forager and gardener. She hails from London but has lived in Yorkshire for nearly thirty years.

You can find out more on and reserve your place on the Penthos website. Put the date in your diary now !

St Michael and All Angels' Church
St Michael's Road
West Yorkshire
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