FifteenB Announces Concert to Commemorate the 450th Anniversary of the Execution of Thomas Cranmer
Saturday 18 March, University Church, Oxford
January 16, 2006, Press Dispensary. The FifteenB contemporary music group announces a concert to commemorate the 450th anniversary of the execution of Thomas Cranmer, in the exact location where he was burned at the stake in 1556. Taking place on 18 March, 2006 at University Church, Oxford, the concert will feature sacred choral music from Cranmer's period alongside contemporary pieces composed by Robert Hugill.
In the spirit of celebrating the life and martyrdom of Cranmer ? who is commonly held as the creator of today?s English Reform Church ? the concert includes a special cantata, 'The Testament of Dr Cranmer' by Robert Hugill, which sets to music the words from the great man?s final speech. Performed by The Eight:Fifteen Vocal Ensemble, conducted by Paul Brough, the cantata evokes the final moments of this luminary who maintained his religious beliefs to the very end.
The Eight:Fifteen Vocal Ensemble will also perform sacred music from Cranmer's period; contrasting the elaborate Latin motets from the reign of Queen Mary with the simpler English works from the reign of King Edward VI. Also included will be motets from Robert Hugill's collections 'Tempus per Annum' and 'Collect for Choir and Cello', which also set Cranmer's own words to music.
The commemorative concert first took place in July 2005 at St. Giles Cripplegate, Barbican, London, as part of the celebrations for Robert Hugill's 50th birthday, and was well received. Critic Roderick Dunnett commended the ?near faultless? intonation of the eight-strong choir and the singers? ?particularly fine sense of dynamic ebb and flow?.
Robert Hugill, artistic director of FifteenB, comments: ?We are participating in the commemoration of Cranmer's execution by combining music from his time with an uplifting contemporary setting of Cranmer's own words. We may not be able to revoke the full, fiery drama of the execution but we have certainly remained faithful to the historic event.?
The concert takes place at 7.30pm on Saturday 18 March, 2006, at University Church of St Mary the Virgin, High Street, Oxford, OX1 4AH. Tickets cost 10 GBP(concessions 5 GBP) and are available on the door or in advance from TicketsOxford ( http://www.ticketsoxford.com / phone 01865 305305). Further information about the concert is available at http://www.hugill.demon.co.uk/cranmer.htm.
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Notes for editors
FifteenB was founded by Robert Hugill, a composer of contemporary classic music, in 1994 to organise concerts of this genre, with an emphasis on Robert?s own pieces. Since then, the group has promoted around 24 events, including choral concerts by its FifteenB Choir, song recitals, opera and orchestral concerts. The group receives annual sponsorship from Associated Newspapers Ltd and is based in Brixton, London.
The recently launched Eight:Fifteen Vocal Ensemble comprises professional choral singers. It was formed by 2005 to complement FifteenB's existing amateur choral ensemble. The Eight:Fifteen Vocal Ensemble made its debut in July 2005 at St. Giles Cripplegate, Barbican, London.
About Thomas Cranmer
Thomas Cranmer (1489 ? 1556) is widely considered to be the creator of the current English Reform Church. He took holy orders in 1523 and, after gaining King Henry VIII?s attention as a willing advocate for Henry?s desired divorce from Catherine of Aragon, he became ambassador to Holy Roman Emperor Charles V in 1532 and was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury in 1533. In this role, he quickly annulled Henry?s marriage to Catherine and married the king to Anne Boleyn, and later to Anne of Cleves. Alongside Thomas Cromwell, Cranmer supported the translation of the Bible into English. He also wrote a litany that is still used in the church today and made doctrinal changes under the reign of Edward VI. In 1549, he helped complete the Book of Common Prayer. After Edward VI?s death, Cranmer supported Lady Jane Grey, who reigned for nine days, and was tried by her successor, Queen Mary, for treason. Following a lengthy imprisonment, he was publicly forced to denounce his support of Protestantism. Cranmer was executed on March 21, 1556, in University Church, Oxford, and dramatically stuck his right hand into the fire ? the hand he had used to falsely sign renouncement of his beliefs.
For further information please contact:
Robert Hugill, artistic director
Tel: 020 7938 6355 / 07789 43 5871