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The Sixteen: The Song of Songs and the Queen of Sheba

Voices Unwrapped

Thu 24 Nov
Classical

The Sixteen: The Song of Songs and the Queen of Sheba

Voices Unwrapped

Hildegard Of Bingen O filie Israhel (Humility)
Tomás Luis De Victoria Vidi speciosam
Raffaella Aleotti Ego flos campi
Palestrina Vineam meam non custodivi
Tomás Luis De Victoria Nigra sum sed formosa
Palestrina Pulchrae sunt genae tuas
John Barber Song of Songs: (commissioned by the Sixteen in 2014)
I. The Voice of my Beloved
II. By night
III. Love is as Strong as Death
Bingen Flos campi (Virtues)
Raffaella Aleotti Surge propera, amica mea
Palestrina Quae est ista
Raffaella Aleotti Vidi speciosam
Palestrina Descendi in hortum meum
Papa Ego flos campi
Jean-yves Daniel-lesur Le cantique des Cantiques

One of the world’s most renowned choirs, The Sixteen, fuse the erotic, the divine, the sacred and the secular in this concert celebrating the Song of Songs.


The Song of Songs is some of the most erotic poetry ever written. Originally Hebrew love poetry, it is believed to celebrate the union of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon.

The Queen of Sheba was all powerful, a mighty leader, wise, wealthy and very beautiful. She briefly appears in the Old Testament, to a larger extent in the Koran and in much greater detail in the Kebra Nagast, the national book of Ethiopia. Her exotism has inspired numerous composers through the centuries not least because these Song of Songs through the advent of Christianity became synonymous with the Virgin Mary.

Their imagery abounds in the 12th-century poetry of the Abbess Hildegard of Bingen and with her music she reveals an exceptional spirituality and grace. The ‘Prince of Music’, Palestrina, produced some of his most sensual music; he even apologised for possessing ‘light and vain ideas’ and indeed ‘blushed and grieved’ at presenting these erotic motets. No such embarrassment prevented the Augustinian nun, Raphaela Aleotta from displaying her prodigious talent.

Our programme closes with a tribute to the French composer, Daniel-Lesur, whose 20th anniversary of his death we celebrate this year. His sumptuous setting of verses from the Song of Songs beautifully mirrors the fusion of the erotic and the divine, the sacred and the secular.

Date:Thu 24 Nov
Start time:7.30pm (Doors: 7pm)
Venue:Hall One
Price:£19.50-£49.50
+ £3 booking fee.

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