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Double Delight at Durham Cathedral


On Sunday 16th January the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge joined forces with Durham Cathedral Choir to sing the service of Eucharist at Durham Cathedral.

 King’s College Choir and Durham Cathedral Choir both have reputations for excellence. The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge is renowned for the broadcast of the Festival of Nine Lessons of Carols live on Christmas Eve. At Durham the Cathedral Choir too sings the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols, both on Christmas Eve and earlier on the 22nd of December, always to a full Cathedral.   And this morning service was no exception.  As the choir and congregation began to leave the Cathedral Quire after Matins, the people who had been waiting began to flood into the Nave. 


Music is at the heart of worship year round at Durham with the Cathedral Choir singing eight services every week.

During holidays visiting choirs are welcomed from around the world to sing services. The opportunity to hear the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge and the Choir of Durham Cathedral sing together in what author Bill Bryson famously described as 'the best Cathedral on planet earth', represented a unique and very special occasion.

 The mass the choirs sang was by the 19th Century German composer Rheinberger, a contemporary of Brahms. It is especially written for two choirs drawing on the styles of Gabrieli and Monteverdi. Josef Rheinberger was a prolific composer, best known for his organ music, but during his lifetime renowned firstly as a keyboard virtuoso and latterly as an educator. In 1877 he became Court Conductor with responsibility for music in the Chapel Royal, Munich. In recent year his choral works have become more appreciated, in particular the Mass in E flat for double choir, the one to be heard in Durham.

 James Lancelot, Master of the Choristers and Organist at Durham Cathedral said:

“It gives us enormous pleasure to welcome the choir of King's College, Cambridge to join forces with our own musicians.  Oliver Brett, our Assistant Organist (who will be playing the organ for the service on Sunday) trained at King's College as Organ Scholar, as did I, and our debt to the College is enormous.  I have no doubt that Sunday will go down in history as an especially memorable day in the Cathedral's musical history.”


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