Choral Evensongs directed by top English conductors
Sing the most beautiful English choral music entirely in keeping with the English tradition
Sunday 3 September 2023 will see the first of a series of Choral Evensongs in the beautiful Schuilkerk on the Bagijnhof in Delft. We are introducing this much-loved English tradition in collaboration with the Old Catholic parish of H.H. Ursula en Maria in Delft with a series of six sung evensongs – loved for the combination of beautiful choral music interspersed with readings and prayers, all in an atmospheric setting and conducted by English conductors and composers. Afterwards, there’s time for a chat in one of the cosy Delft cafés within walking distance of the Bagijnhof.
Evensong is increasingly popular
Evensong has become increasingly popular in the Netherlands in recent years; the beautiful English choral music is cast in a form that appeals to many people – churchgoers and non-churchgoers alike.
Evensong in its current form dates back to the English Reformation in the 16th century in which the earlier canonical hours of ‘vespers’ and ‘compline’ were combined into a single celebration. It is for this reason that both the Magnificat (the Song of Mary from the vespers) and the Nunc dimittis (the Song of Simeon from the compline) are part of the evensong. Both pieces form the musical core of the evensong and have been set to music by many composers. Besides a number of set prayers, the evensong also contains some hymns and anthems.
The evensong has a set form and order which was established in its final form in the Book of Common Prayer in 1662. This form is still celebrated daily in Anglican churches, either spoken (evensong said) or sung. One of the regular duties of English choirs attached to a cathedral or chapel is to sing the evensong.
Entirely in keeping with the English tradition
In this new series of Choral Evensongs, we will adopt the English tradition fully and form a special choir. The choir will be conducted exclusively by three English composers and conductors who have more than earned their spurs in the English choral world. Oliver Tarney, David Hurley and Philip Lawson will conduct the choir by turns. Oliver Tarney is a composer and Head of Composition and Academic Music at Winchester College. David Hurley and Philip Lawson were for many years members of the world-renowned ensemble The King’s Singers. David Hurley now teaches at Winchester College where he himself once sang as a chorister. He has also been the regular guest teacher of the Koorschool since 2017. Philip Lawson is a composer and conductor and sang as ‘lay clerk’ in the choir of Salisbury Cathedral. We couldn’t wish for a better team of coaches for the ‘Evensong Choir’!
Co-write a new Magnificat and Nunc dimittis
For the first evensong on 3 September 2023, Oliver Tarney is specially composing a new Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis which he is inviting the choral singers to co-write. Using a short questionnaire, Oliver will ask the singers to provide him with input. After signing up, you will be sent this questionnaire as well as an invitation to discuss the new compositions with Oliver himself in an exclusive ZOOM meeting. If you fancy singing two choral works that you’ve co-written, sign up now for this special opportunity.
Dutch and English
A number of the evensongs will be sung entirely in English. It’s not yet known when that will be.
For the project choir, we are looking for enthusiastic and autonomous singers who rehearse their parts in advance at home and arrive ‘noteworthy’ at rehearsals. English as the working language should also not form a problem. It is possible to sing one or more evensongs.
There is room for a maximum of 24 singers, depending on choir and singing experience. Please briefly mention your singing and choral experience on the application form.
Rehearsals and evensong all in one weekend
The conductors will travel especially to Delft which is why rehearsals and the evensong will all take place in the same weekend. Rehearsals are on Saturday afternoon and on Sunday prior to the evensong which will start at 16:00.
The sheet music and practice files will be sent about 6 weeks in advance
Information and tickets
Schuilkerk, Bagijnhof 21, Delft
We will be singing in the charming Schuilkerk known for its beautiful acoustics. The Bagijnhof is located in the centre of Delft, about a 12 minute walk from the Delft railway station. Parking is available in one of two car parks just 5 minute’s walk from the Bagijnhof. Paid parking (day ticket) applies in the entire city centre and is for permit holders.
The Schuilkerk is wheelchair accessible, but please note that we unfortunately do not have a wheelchair toilet.
Dates and times
The following applies for all weekends:
• Saturday afternoon, 14:00-17:00 – rehearsal
• Sunday afternoon, 14:00-15:00 – rehearsal followed by evensong at 16:00
September 2023 – June 2024
2 – 3 September: Oliver Tarney
21 – 22 October: David Hurley
9 – 10 December: Philip Lawson
27 – 28 January: Oliver Tarney
23 – 24 March: David Hurley
1 – 2 June: Philip Lawson
What does the evensong choir sing
The evensong, following the Book of Common Prayer, consists of:
• Introit: choir and congregation
• 1st responses: choir
• Psalm: choir and congregation
• 2nd lesson
• Nunc dimittis
• Creed (credo, spoken)
• 2nd responses: choir
• Anthem: choir and congregation
• Hymn: choir and congregation
Choral singers pay a participation fee per evensong weekend with a discount applying when signing up immediately for more than one evensong.
Fee per evensong weekend: € 74
A discount applies if you sign up immediately for multiple evensong weekends.
The fee includes:
– singing under the exclusive direction of Oliver Tarney, David Hurley and Philip Lawson
– co-writing 2 new choral pieces (weekend 2-3 September) and ZOOM meeting with Oliver Tarney
– rehearsal on Saturday afternoon, 14:00-17:00
– rehearsal on Sunday afternoon, 14:00-15:00
– Evensong on Sunday afternoon, starting at 16:00
– sheet music & choir folder
– exclusive use of practice files
Discount for participation in more than one weekend:
- one weekend = € 74
- two weekends = € 148
- three weekends = € 210,90 (5% discount)
- four weekends = € 281,20 (5% discount)
- five weekends = € 333 (10% discount)
- six weekends = € 377,40 (15% discount)
Sign up via the digital application form.
Due to the many applications for sopranos, mezzos and altos, we will check each weekend to see if there is still room. If there is no room left, you can be put on the reserve list. There is still room for tenors and basses on all weekends.
You will be informed soon after signing up whether you can participate. Payment will take place thereafter.
English composer Oliver Tarney (b 1984) was introduced to choral singing in his parish church at a young age. From that moment, choral singing became his greatest inspiration and remains so to this day. After studying music at the University of Manchester and earning a master’s degree in composition, he worked as Head of Composition and Singing at Winchester College. He has written a lot of music for children and adults, amateurs and professionals. Major works include his acclaimed ‘Magnificat’, recorded for Convivium Records, and his ‘St Mark Passion’, commissioned by the St Endellion Easter Festival. Oliver has worked widely to promote singing in communities, choirs and classrooms. His great passion is to inspire people to sing. (Source: www.olivertarney.co.uk)
David Hurley is a British countertenor who sang with the globally acclaimed and immensely popular a cappella sextet The King’s Singers. David began his musical life at the age of 8 as a chorister at Winchester Cathedral, later going on to Winchester College before gaining a place at New College, Oxford. On leaving university, he embarked on a career as a freelance singer. In 1989 he was offered the chance to audition as first countertenor in The King’s Singers, replacing Jeremy Jackman early in 1990. Over the next 26 years he toured the world with The King’s Singers. He also made many recordings with them, including a multi-tracked version of Thomas Tallis’s 40-part piece Spem in Alium (2006), and the Grammy Award winning album “Simple Gifts” (2008).
In 2016, David handed over to a (much) younger singer and embarked on a new career in music education. He now teaches at his old school, Winchester College, and is vocal coach at Portsmouth Cathedral. Since 2017, David has been a regular guest teacher at Koorschool Delft where he leads the unique falsetto choir and also gives singing lessons and workshops for individuals, choirs and ensembles.
Philip Lawson sang for 18 years with The King’s Singers, performing more than 2,000 concerts with the world-renowned ensemble and appearing on many CDs, DVDs and in radio and television programmes worldwide. Philip contributed more than 50 arrangements to the repertoire of The King’s Singers, including 10 for the2008 CD “Simple Gifts” which won the GRAMMY for Best Classical Crossover Album in 2009.
Prior to his time with The King’s Singers, he was music director at a school in Salisbury and attached to the cathedral choir. Before that, he worked in London as a freelance baritone, performing regularly with The BBC Singers, The Taverner Choir, The Sixteen and the choirs of St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. Philip has over 200 published arrangements and compositions to his name. He is a singing teacher at Wells Cathedral School, Salisbury Cathedral School, the University of Bristol and is also musical director of The Romsey Singers. Philip divides his time between arranging, composing, conducting and leading choral workshops in Europe and the United States. (Source: www.philiplawson.net)