I look from afar

Saturday 2 December 2017 at 7:30pm
Sherborne Abbey

Music old and new to celebrate the start of Advent.

Biebl Ave Maria
Briggs Trinity College, Cambridge Magnificat
Byrd Vigilate
Chilcott Advent Antiphons
Dove Seek him that maketh the seven stars
Jackson I look from afar
Howells Magnificat ‘Gloucester Service’
Lauridsen O magnum mysterium
Mendelssohn How lovely are the messengers
Mendelssohn Richte mich, Gott
Poulenc Salve Regina
Stopford Tomorrow shall be my dancing day

Organist Simon Clarkson
Conductor Paul Ellis

Tickets will go on sale in the autumn.

Spirit of England

Saturday 24 June 2017 at 7:30pm
Sherborne Abbey

English choral music for a summer’s evening

After our Grand European Tour earlier in the year, this time we are staying at home: join us for a summer’s evening of British music from across the centuries.

Some of the finest choral music written in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century for our churches and cathedrals forms the backbone of our programme, with anthems such as Elgar’s Give unto the Lord, Finzi’s God is gone up, and motets by Stanford, but there is also music from the Tudor period, with William Byrd’s wonderful Mass for Four Voices, and anthems by contemporaries such as Tallis and Gibbons. Finally there is a reminder of a little of our traditional folksong heritage, with songs arranged by Bairstow, Holst, Warlock and Vaughan Williams.

Byrd Mass for four voices, Ave verum corpus
Elgar Give unto the Lord
Finzi God is gone up
Gibbons O clap your hands together
Harwood O how glorious
Naylor Vox dicentis
Philips Ascendit Deus
Stanford Justorum animae, Beati quorum via, Coelos ascendit hodie
Tallis O Lord give thy Holy Spirit, Loquebantur variis linguis, O nata lux, If ye love me
Bairstow The oak and the ash
Holst I love my love
Vaughan Williams The turtle dove
Warlock Yarmouth Fair



£5-£16, under 18s free of charge.

Sherborne Abbey Festival concert

Monday 1 May 2017 at 7:30pm
Sherborne Abbey

Elgar The Dream of Gerontius

With Sherborne Festival Chorus and Chameleon Arts Orchestra

Frances Bourne mezzo soprano (The Angel)
Toby Spence tenor (Gerontius)
Peter Savidge baritone (The Priest/The Angel of the Agony)
Paul Ellis conductor

Part of Sherborne Abbey Festival. Click here to find out more about the Festival and book online.

We join with an all-star trio of world class soloists for a not-to-be-missed performance of one of our best-loved choral works. Elgar’s remarkable setting of Cardinal Newman’s poem tracing the journey of a man’s soul from faithful life to redemptive death is a dramatic, passionate and moving masterpiece, widely regarded as one of his finest works. International star Toby Spence performed the role of Gerontius at the 2015 Proms with Sir Simon Rattle and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, whilst two of the UK’s most distinguished and established singers Peter Savidge and Frances Bourne both make welcome returns to perform with the Chorus.

Click here for more details about ticket availability and the Festival as they are announced.

A Grand Tour

Saturday 18 March 2017 at 7:30pm
Sherborne Abbey

Join us as we embark on a musical trip across Europe, from Spain to Poland, Italy to Norway, with music from the sixteenth century to the twentieth. No politics – just great music!

The main works are the French composer Langlais’ Messe Solennelle, written in 1951, along with Scarlatti’s wonderful multi-part setting of the Stabat Mater. In between those, the programme includes works by Grieg, Bruckner, Palestrina, Sweelinck and the Polish composer Górecki’s famous Totus tuus, written in 1987 to celebrate Pope John Paul II’s visit to his native Poland that year.

D Scarlatti Stabat Mater
Langlais Messe solennelle
Grieg Ave maris stella
Bruckner Locus iste
Brahms Geistliches Lied
Palestrina Sicut cervus
Sweelinck Psalm 100
Gorecki Totus tuus

£5-£16, under 18s free of charge.

From Darkness to Light

Saturday 3 December 2016 at 7:30pm
Sherborne Abbey

Great choral music from across the ages to celebrate the start of Advent, centred around settings of the Magnificat and Ave Maria.

Finzi Magnificat
Schütz German Magnificat
Eriks Ešenvalds Magnificat
Gibbons This is the record of John
Byrd Laetentur coeli
James MacMillan O Radiant Dawn
Praetorius arr. Sandstrom Es ist ein Ros entsprungen
Parsons Ave Maria
Bruckner Ave Maria
Victoria Ave Maria
Rachmaninov Ave Maria
Gabriel Jackson Seven Advent Antiphons
Warlock Benedicamus Domino

£5-£16, under 18s free of charge. On sale 17th October.

In Memoriam Amelia Berkeley

Saturday 3 September 2016 at 6:00pm
Bradford Abbas Church

A charity concert in aid of Above and Beyond to raise money for better facilities for bereaved parents within Bristol Royal Hospital for Children

Fauré Requiem

Organist David Bruce-Payne
Soloists William Ellis and Amelia Monaghan

Amelia, the young granddaughter of one of our altos, Liz Ashmead, died very suddenly earlier this year. This concert is in her memory and we hope will help raise funds to provide more facilities at the hospital for parents who find themselves in the same awful situation as Liz’s daughter and son-in-law.

£10 including High Tea after the concert in the village hall.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Saturday 25 June 2016 at 7:30pm
Sherborne Abbey

2016-06-25-ShakespeareNext to the Bible, the words of Shakespeare have probably provided more inspiration to composers than any other text. We mark the 400th anniversary of his death with a celebration in music, including choral settings, songs and instrumental music.

Vaughan Williams Three Shakespeare Songs
Mathias Shakespeare Songs
Murrill O mistress mine
Wood Full fathom five
Jaakko Mäntyjärvi Four Shakespeare Songs
Solo songs by Bridge, Finzi and Quilter

Accompanist Simon Clarkson


Tickets £5 (unreserved), under 18s free of charge, reserved tickets £10-£16

The Holy City

Monday 2 May 2016 at 7:30pm
Sherborne Abbey

Vaughan Williams Toward the Unknown Region, Sancta Civitas, The Lark Ascending
Howells Requiem

iStock_000016686849_smallSherborne Festival Chorus & Sherborne Chamber Choir
Chameleon Arts Orchestra
Ruth Rogers Violin
Craig Bissex Baritone
Paul Ellis Conductor

An all-English programme by two of our best-loved twentieth century composers marks the tenth anniversary of Sherborne Abbey Festival’s own highly acclaimed choir, of which we’re delighted to be part.

First performed at the Leeds Festival in 1907, Toward the Unknown Region takes the words of American poet Walt Whitman and put a young Vaughan Williams firmly on the path to the Sea Symphony. Of his many choral works, the later Sancta Civitas was apparently the composer’s favourite, possibly because it embodies his very personal attitude to religious belief. Not often performed until recently, this masterpiece is now enjoying new popularity. Top violinist Ruth Rogers joins the orchestra for the enduringly popular The Lark Ascending, recently voted the nation’s favourite piece of classical music by Classic FM listeners. Howells’s atmospheric and moving setting of the Requiem will be performed by SCC and completes this anniversary concert.

Download the full Festival brochure by clicking here.

Handel Israel in Egypt

Saturday 12 March 2016 at 7:30pm
Sherborne Abbey

Despite being a disaster at its first performance, Handel’s dramatic and colourful oratorio Israel in Egypt went on to reach popularity only exceeded by Messiah. With operatic flourishes and masterful word painting, Handel tells the story of the Israelites, from their bondage in Egypt, the ten plagues, the parting of the Red Sea and victory over the Egyptian army, to their acknowledgement of the power of their God.

There are six solo roles, but the chorus has the starring role in this vivid account of the Bible story from the Book of Exodus, with lots of virtuosic double choruses depicting in dramatic fashion the plagues of frogs, flies, locusts, hailstones and more. With a large orchestra of some of the finest Baroque period players in the country adding to the colour, this is Handel at his dramatic best.

Orchestra leader Alison Bury
Sopranos Pam Coward and Rosie Monaghan
Alto Stephen Harvey
Tenors Rhys Batt and John Willetts
Basses Craig Bissex and William Ellis

Tickets £5 (unreserved), under 18s free of charge, Reserved tickets £10-£20

Baroque Christmas

Saturday 5 December 2015 at 7:30pm
Sherborne Abbey

2015-12-05-Baroque ChristmasSchütz The Christmas Story
Praetorius Christmas Mass
With In Echo and the Altenburg Ensemble

Join us as we start the festive season off in Baroque style, with two joyous and colourful works from the early seventeenth century.

Praetorius’ Christmas Mass is a reconstruction of a Lutheran mass as it might have been performed on Christmas Day in Germany around 1620.  Many of the main themes are familiar, having since been adapted into Christmas Carols, and in keeping with the style of the time there are a number of chorales for the audience to join in with, so do come ready to sing!  The Schütz is a similarly colourful Baroque work written in 1660 narrating the story of the birth of Christ.

We’re joined by two of the UK’s top Early Music ensembles, who between them play a wide variety of unusual instruments, including sackbuts, crumhorns and cornetts. The Altenburg Ensemble provide us with no fewer than five natural trumpets – not to be missed!

£5-£20, on sale 19 October