King’s Music Director and five-time Grammy Award winner Paul Halley will direct members of the University of King’s College Chapel Choir and a hand-picked chamber orchestra in a video-recorded performance of the supremely beautiful, justifiably famous Requiem by French composer Maurice Duruflé (1948). The musicians will be spaced within the lofty acoustics of Halifax’s neo-Gothic Cathedral Church of All Saints, home of the Chapel Choir’s King’s at the Cathedral annual concert series.
A ‘Requiem’ is a Mass for the dead, named for the first words of the ancient funeral liturgy, “Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine” – “Give them eternal rest, O Lord”. Musical settings of these lines have existed as long as the liturgy itself. As a mid-20th-century composer, Duruflé had grown weary of increasingly overblown settings of the Requiem text and decided to return to the early Gregorian chants. To these chants he added masterful choral and orchestral arrangements.
To watch the performance, visit the Chapel Choir’s YouTube page on or after 12 p.m. ADT on Friday, April 2, 2021.
In a regular year, the Chapel Choir sings Choral Evensong every Wednesday and Solemn Eucharist every Thursday in the Chapel, except during Lent, when the choir sings its weekly Evensong in Halifax’s Cathedral Church of All Saints. For Lent 2021, on account of the global pandemic, the choir offered its Lenten series of Evensongs by video broadcast, beginning with Ash Wednesday (February 17, 2021) and continuing until Holy Week. Evensong was posted each Wednesday evening on the choir’s YouTube channel: youtube.com/kingschapelchoir.
The season of Lent is filled with some of the most poignant and profound musical outpourings in our history. For the Ash Wednesday Evensong the choir sang Allegri’s famous setting of Psalm 51 “Miserere mei” composed in the 1630s for the exclusive use of the choir of the Sistine Chapel. The Cathedral’s reverberant acoustic makes for an ideal setting for this masterpiece.
Here are links to each of the Evensong services from Lent 2021:
A King’s Christmas 2008 – 2019
The University of King’s College Chapel Choir presents The Twelve Years of Christmas, a new video compilation of music and readings recorded during live performances of the choir’s popular annual series, A King’s Christmas, in the years 2008 – 2019. With remastered audio, photography and video footage from past years, this feast of seasonal song and story will again herald the holidays for thousands of listeners across Canada and beyond.
Watch and listen on YouTube beginning Friday, December 18.
View or download The Twelve Years of Christmas program booklet.
Described by the Chronicle Herald as “annual magic”, A King’s Christmas has become an annual tradition for many Nova Scotians. Each year features carols from the mediaeval to the modern, and seasonal readings selected by a special guest narrator. The narrator for this, our 12th season, will be Old Man Luedecke, Nova Scotia’s two-time Juno Award-winning songwriter and banjo player. Old Man Luedecke is loved by audiences not only for the folk tunes he writes with engaging lyrics but also for his off-the-cuff story-telling, both humorous and nostalgic, about life and love, often with a Maritime twist. Old Man Luedecke will be the first narrator of A King’s Christmas to bring both spoken word and new music to the role!
Saturday, December 14 at 4:00 p.m. – Lunenburg
Sunday, December 15 at 4:00 & 7:30 p.m. – Halifax
Sunday, November 3, 2019 at 4:00 p.m. – Cathedral Church of All Saints, Halifax
The annual For All The Saints concert takes place on the first Sunday after All Saints Day and each year features a great work that honours those who have gone before. This year Halley plans to return to the setting of the Requiem (Mass for the dead) by Soviet-German composer Alfred Schnittke, written in 1975 and performed in Halifax by the Chapel Choir once before, in 2012. The piece is scored for choir, soloists, trumpet, trombone, organ, piano, celeste, electric bass and guitar, and a huge array of percussion instruments.
Halley says, “I first encountered Schnittke’s compositions when I toured what was then the Soviet Union in 1984 and I was overwhelmed by the grit and power of his music. His voice was, and still is, utterly unique. His Requiem is truly the most dramatic, I would even say, shocking, setting of the text that I have ever heard. This mass for the dead is a haunting portrayal of chaos, despair, and darkness, but also of profound hope and exquisite beauty.”
with Charles Daniels (Evangelist), Nicholas Burns (countertenor), Benjamin Butterfield (tenor), Clayton Kennedy (Jesus), Janelle Lucyk (soprano), Marie Magistry (soprano), Sarah Myatt (alto), Nathaniel Watson (bass), Ensemble Regale led by David Greenberg, and the boy sopranos of Capella Regalis
It has been five years since the Chapel Choir last performed Bach’s magnificent St Matthew Passion. Scored for double choir, double orchestra, and soloists, this masterwork tells the story of Christ’s Passion using the narrative from the Gospel of St Matthew and additional texts by Bach’s librettist, Picander. The role of the Evangelist will be sung by reknown British tenor Charles Daniels. The chamber orchestra Ensemble Regale is led by Baroque master David Greenberg and includes instrumentalists from Nova Scotia and across Canada. These performances will also feature the boy sopranos of Capella Regalis Men & Boys Choir and a line-up of stellar soloists from Canada’s early music scene. The Chapel Choir’s performances five years ago were named “the East Coast choral event of the season” by CBC Music. The University of King’s College has won a reputation for presenting world-class performances of the great Baroque masterworks right here in Nova Scotia.
Sunday, Apr. 7, 2019 at 4 p.m. – Cathedral Church of All Saints, Halifax
with guest narrator Don Connolly, former host of CBC’s Information Morning
Described by the Chronicle Herald as “annual magic,” this feast of seasonal song and story is back for an 11th year. Directed by five-time Grammy winner Paul Halley, the music features a fresh selection of carols each year, from the mediaeval to the modern, sung by the acclaimed University of King’s College Chapel Choir. This year’s guest narrator is beloved radio host Don Connolly. Connolly is known to generations of Nova Scotians as the warm, reassuring voice of CBC’s Information Morning, a programme from which he recently retired after more than four decades. Connolly’s selection of readings is sure to bring a wonderful, local flair to the festivities.
Saturday, Dec. 15 at 4 p.m. – Lunenburg
Sunday, Dec. 16 at 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. — Halifax
featuring The Nelson Mass by Franz Joseph Haydn
The King’s Chorus and Ensemble Regale, directed by Nick Halley
Sunday, Nov 25
featuring the REQUIEM by Maurice Duruflé (1948)
with Ensemble Regale and organist Patrick Wedd
This annual tribute to those who have gone before and the opening concert of the 2018-19 King’s at the Cathedral concert series will feature the supremely beautiful Requiem by French composer Maurice Duruflé (1948). Duruflé dedicated the work to the memory of his father. He had grown weary of increasingly overblown settings of the Requiem text and decided to return to the original Gregorian chant as his basic thematic material. To the chant he added masterful choral and orchestral arrangements that call to the mind of the listener images of heavenly bliss deftly interwoven with a sense of human pathos and our longing for eternal peace.
Director Paul Halley explains, “The extraordinary thing about Durufle’s Requiem is that he was really the first composer in several hundred years to be able to use early medieval Gregorian chants as the basis of his setting without compromising or destroying their integrity. Having absorbed the music of the French impressionists and benefiting from the rediscovery of a wealth of Gregorian chant, he was able to combine the modalities and tonal fluidity of both worlds, creating a work of unearthly and timeless beauty.”
The Duruflé Requiem will be performed with Ensemble Regale (a hand-picked chamber orchestra) and guest organist Patrick Wedd.
For All The Saints will also feature O quam gloriosum est regnum (O how glorious is the kingdom) by the English Renaissance composer William Byrd, a setting of Timete Dominum omnes sancti ejus (Fear the Lord, all ye his saints) by Italian Renaissance composer Ascanio Trombetti, G. P. da Palestrina’s Nunc Dimittis for double choir, 20th-century English composer Benjamin Britten’s Te Deum in C, and contemporary English composer Jonathan Dove’s Into Thy Hands.
Sunday, November 4, 2018 at 5:00 pm – Cathedral Church of All Saints, Halifax
Based on the overwhelming response to their performances of Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610, director Paul Halley and the University of King’s College Chapel Choir are turning once more to the Italian composer to present selections from his 1640-41 collection Selva morale e spirituale. Translated as ‘a moral and spiritual forest’, the Selva is Monteverdi’s retrospective anthology of his sacred compositions, compiled at the end of his 30-year run as maestro di cappella at the Basilica of San Marco in Venice, and not long before his death in 1643. The various pieces, scored for a range of forces from one voice and continuo to triple choir with 12 instrumentalists and continuo, exhibit Monteverdi’s wholly pioneering style in the then-emerging world of Baroque music. While the Vespers was Monteverdi’s first major liturgical piece, composed just prior to his move to the Basilica of San Marco, the Selva is a stirring culmination of the brilliant musician’s career.
Directed by five-time Grammy winner Paul Halley, this performance features the 24 choral scholars of the King’s College Chapel Choir alongside 15 instrumentalists on period instruments, a cast of early music soloists from across Canada, and the boy sopranos of Capella Regalis Men & Boys Choir.
Sunday, April 15, 2018 at 4:00 p.m. – Cathedral Church of All Saints, Halifax
Described by the Chronicle Herald as “annual magic”, this feast of seasonal song and story is celebrating its ten-year anniversary. Directed by five-time Grammy winner Paul Halley, the music features carols from the mediaeval to the modern sung by the acclaimed University of King’s College Chapel Choir. The Rev. Dr. Gary Thorne is a priest, theologian, university professor, and activist currently serving in his final year as Chaplain and member of the teaching faculty at the University of King’s College and Dalhousie University. In addition to his work with university students, Fr Thorne has served as a parish priest, a military chaplain on the ground in war-torn areas of the globe, and an advocate for the poor and marginalized.
Saturday, December 16 at 4:00 p.m. – St John’s Anglican Church, Lunenburg
Sunday, December 17 at 4:00 & 7:30 p.m. – Cathedral Church of All Saints, Halifax
This annual tribute to those who have gone before and the opening concert of the 2017-18 King’s at the Cathedral concert series will feature not one but two pieces, which have a 400-year span in between them. The first is a requiem, the Missa pro defunctis, or Mass for the dead, written by Cristóbal de Morales in about the year 1550. Morales, a Spanish composer born around 1500, was recognized in his lifetime as one of the greatest composers in Europe. His contemporary Juan Bermudo, a friar and music theorist, described Morales as “the light of Spain in music”. Morales’s requiem mass setting is a work of impeccable structure supporting a floating, ethereal beauty, and it may have been his final work. In past All Saints performances, the Chapel Choir has presented the requiem masses of Victoria (1603, performed in 2013) and de la Rue (c. 1500, performed in 2014 as a Canadian premiere of a 500-year-old work). The Chapel Choir therefore continues its study of the earliest polyphonic requiem mass settings with this mid-16th century masterwork out of Spain.
In the same concert, the Chapel Choir will complete its performance cycle of the three canonic 20th-century mass settings for unaccompanied choir. Having performed the other two settings (the Mass for Double Choir by Swiss composer Frank Martin performed in 2015 and the Mass in G minor by Vaughan Williams performed in 2016), this year the choir completes the circle with the Mass in G major by Francis Poulenc. This Mass was Poulenc’s first major liturgical work. It came out of a religious reawakening that the French composer experienced in 1936 following the tragic death of a friend and a visit to the shrine of Rocamadour. One year after his experience at Rocamadour, Poulenc composed his Mass in G. In setting the ancient text of the Church, Poulenc found his musical and spiritual home and continued to create sacred works of deep and lasting beauty for the rest of his life.
Sunday, November 5, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. – Cathedral Church of All Saints, Halifax
A concert of new works for choir and organ written and directed by five-time Grammy winning composer Paul Halley. These 14 pieces selected from Halley’s extensive output of the last decade are all unfamiliar to Nova Scotian audiences. From wedding anthems written for his children to commissions for choirs across North America, these works set beautiful texts – including psalms, and poems by Tennyson, Neruda, Herbert, Manley Hopkins, and Mechthild of Magdeburg – in striking ways.
Saturday, May 13 at 7:30 p.m. – St John’s Anglican Church, Lunenburg
Sunday, May 14 at 4:00 p.m. – Cathedral Church of All Saints, Halifax
The King’s College Chapel Choir suspended its cycle of Bach masterworks for one year to present another great pillar of the Baroque repertoire – the Vespers of 1610 by Claudio Monteverdi. A monumental work scored for soloists, choir, and orchestra, the Vespers foreshadowed the religious masterworks of Bach and Handel, and has earned a place in the history of western music as a revolutionary and now iconic work.
Friday, April 15 at 7:30 p.m. – St Ninian’s Cathedral, Antigonish
Saturday, April 16, 2016 at 4:00 p.m. – St John’s Anglican Church, Lunenburg
Sunday, April 17, 2016 at 4:00 p.m. – Cathedral Church of All Saints, Halifax
Ensemble Regale, led by David Greenberg
Matthew Anderson, Evangelist
Alexander Dobson, Jesus
Matthew Cassils, Pilate & bass arias
Janelle Lucyk, soprano arias
Daniel Taylor, alto arias
Philippe Gagné, tenor arias
J. S. Bach’s masterful representation of the Passion of Christ according to St John was first performed in Leipzig on Good Friday of 1724. It is a musically extravagant setting full of foreboding and intensity yet startling in its beauty. Five-time Grammy winner Paul Halley directs the acclaimed University of King’s College Chapel Choir, the orchestra Ensemble Regale led by baroque expert David Greenberg, and a wonderful cast of soloists in two performances of the great work.
Friday, April 7, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. – Passion Dinner at Cecilia’s Retreat, Mahone Bay
Saturday, April 8 at 4:00 p.m. – St John’s Anglican Church, Lunenburg
Sunday, April 9 at 4:00 p.m. – Cathedral Church of All Saints, Halifax
With guest narrator Roberta Barker
Described by the Chronicle Herald as “annual magic”, A King’s Christmas is back for its ninth year. This feast of seasonal song and story is directed by five-time Grammy winner Paul Halley, and features the University of King’s College Chapel Choir performing a beautiful blend of carols from the medieval to the modern. Roberta Barker is a Professor of Theatre Studies and Associate Director of the Fountain School of Performing Arts in Halifax. Dr Barker brings to these concerts a wealth of expertise in drama and literature with particular focus on the works of regional authors.
Friday, December 16, 2016 at 8:00 p.m. – St Ninian’s Cathedral, Antigonish
Saturday, December 17, 2016 at 4:00 p.m. – St John’s Anglican Church, Lunenburg
Sunday, December 18, 2016 at 4:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. – Cathedral Church of All Saints, Halifax
The University of King’s College Chapel Choir opens its 2016-17 King’s at the Cathedral concert series with a 20th century masterwork, the Mass in G Minor for Double Choir by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Composed in 1921, the piece is full of the rich harmonies associated with the composer in his most ‘English summertime’ moments, but the origins of the piece are also in the revival of English polyphony and with Vaughan Williams’ identification of his music with ‘the imperishable glories of English prose’.
The concert will also include works by Byrd, Barber, and Poulenc, and glorious hymns accompanied by the Cathedral’s great pipe organ and the Maritime Brass Quintet.
This performance will be the choir’s eighth annual concert celebrating All Saints and All Souls. Featured pieces in the past have been Rachmaninov’s All Night Vigil (1915) and Requiem Mass settings by Duruflé (1947), Fauré (1890), Schnittke (1975), Victoria (1603), and de la Rue (c. 1500). Halley and the University of King’s College Chapel Choir continue to present mass settings that are otherwise rarely, if ever, heard performed live in Nova Scotia.
Friday, October 28, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. -The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Saint John
Sunday, November 6, 2016 at 4:00 p.m. – Cathedral Church of All Saints, Halifax