On 28 August in St John’s Church Tartu and 29 August in St. John’s Church Tallinn, the concerts “Great Service” will be dedicated to Arvo Pärt’s 85th birthday; the performances will be conducted by internationally renowned choral conductor Edward Caswell and performed by Voces Tallinn and the ensemble Floridante.
In a programme of works centred around the Blessed Virgin Mary, three of Arvo Pärt’s Seven Magnificat Antiphons have been chosen to frame settings of the Magnificat by William Byrd and Heinrich Schütz. The programme opens with Videte miraculum by Byrd’s great contemporary, Thomas Tallis, and concludes with a rarely heard masterpiece from the early twentieth century, Mater ora filium by Arnold Bax that was inspired by the music of William Byrd. The programme also includes Jacob Obrecht’s six-part Salve Regina.
The programme takes its name from the most celebrated setting of the Evening Canticles by any English composer of the Elizabethan era. “The ‘Great Service’ is Byrd’s most extended and ambitious work in the language of the new Anglican Church and tells us something of the capabilities of the choirs at that time,” the organisers said in a statement.
Edward Caswell is a versatile and widely respected choral conductor, singer and teacher. Working throughout the UK and Europe, he has established a reputation for approaching choral conducting from a singer’s perspective. Since 2004, Caswell has worked with professional choirs, amateur choirs and student choirs throughout Europe, particularly in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and France. In 2019, Caswell was appointed Artistic Director of Konzertchor Leipzig.
Voces Tallinn (until 2019, Voces Musicales), established in 1999, has become a high-level choir with an established and unique place in the Estonian musical life. Its repertoire embraces Western musical culture in all its richness – from early music to the latest works of Estonian contemporary composers – and contains a significant part of the world’s choral music classics.
Arvo Pärt is the most respected Estonian in the world. In 2019, he was the world’s second most performed living composer. Pärt is due to celebrate his 85th birthday on 11 September.
Concerts conducted by Caswell will take place on 28 August at 7:00 PM at the Tartu St John’s Church and on 29 August at 7:00 PM at the Tallinn St John’s Church.
Cover: Voces Tallinn. Photo by Mait Jüriado.