Tenebrae - A Prayer for Deliverance

Mixing iconic choral works with music by some of today’s most exciting composers, Tenebrae's varied programme centres on the theme of rest, repose and acceptance – a sequence of mostly English choral gems spanning close to two centuries.

It opens with Holst’s popular The Evening-watch, a setting of Henry Vaughan and a meditation on the Body’s final hours.

The theme of mystery and afterlife continues in Cecilia McDowall’s Standing as I do before God, but the soul here is of a given person: Edith Cavell, the nurse executed by a German firing squad after helping Allied servicemen to escape into neutral territories.

Joel Thompson’s virtuosic new work is a particular highlight of the first half: written in 16 parts, A Prayer for Deliverance (2021) perfectly showcases Tenebrae’s core values of passion and precision.

The second half features Herbert Howells’ Requiem – surely one of the most moving works in the English choral repertoire. Associated with the untimely death of Howells’ young son Michael, the work remained unknown until it was finally published just three years before Howells’ own death in 1983.


“Unaccompanied choral singing comes no better than this: in blend, accuracy, precision, commitment.” - The Guardian


“For purity and precision of tone, and flawless intonation, Nigel Short’s chamber choir Tenebrae is pretty much unbeatable.” – The Times


Full Programme

Gustav Holst - The Evening-watch

Cecilia McDowall - Standing as I do before God

Francis Pott - The Souls of the Righteous

Caroline Shaw - And the Swallow

Richard Rodney Bennett - A Good-Night

Ralph Vaughan Williams - Rest

Joel Thompson - A Prayer for Deliverance


John Tavener - Song for Athene

Ralph Vaughan Williams - Valiant-for-Truth

Robert Pearsall - Lay a garland

Arthur Sullivan - The long day closes

Herbert Howells - Requiem
1. Salvator mundi • 2. Psalm 23 • 3. Requiem aeternam 1 • 4. Psalm 121 • 5. Requiem aeternam 2 • 6. I heard a voice from Heaven

William Harris - Bring us, O Lord

Tickets £36 (reserved, nave) £22.50 (unreserved, sides). Under 18s £5. Concessions (students, disabled, unemployed) £33 and £19.50. Carers go free when accompanying the person they're caring for. 

Ticket Update: Tickets in the Nave are now sold out, however you can book unreserved side seating at a discounted price. Screens will be available to support your view from the side.