Ash Wednesday - Contemplative Eucharist

Dore Abbey

Wednesday 2nd March at 7:30pm

Following the services in Autumn 2021, featuring works by Josquin at Dore Abbey, Unicorn Singers will be returning to this beautiful venue, with its wonderful acoustic, for the Ash Wednesday service of Choral Eucharist on 2nd March at 7.30pm at Dore Abbey (HR2 0AD) in the beautiful Golden Valley of Herefordshire. The service will feature the Miserere by James MacMillan and excerpts from William Byrd’s Four-Part Mass. Our musical director, Stephen Marshall, writes:


James MacMillan is undoubtedly one of the most successful composers of our time and his music has also gained the rare distinction of being accessible to many and a great favourite with choirs. A devoted Roman Catholic, he has created a unique style to enrich the liturgy, combining a marvellous mix of melody and mysticism with great craftsmanship.

His setting of the Miserere is a modern masterpiece commissioned in 2009 for the Flanders Festival in Antwerp and dedicated to Harry Christophers and "The Sixteen" with whom the composer has often collaborated.

The Miserere is a setting of Psalm 51 appointed for Ash Wednesday and made famous by Allegri's amazing 1638 setting for the Sistine Chapel. The special sound world of the Allegri has always cast a shadow over any subsequent settings but MacMillan manages to reinterpret and develop the impetus of the original by referencing its plainsong episodes and adding extra dimensions of harmony and counterpoint. The piece also has an engaging form which takes us on a spiritual journey from guilt and sin to hope and optimism.

This special piece heard at Dore Abbey, as intended in its liturgical context, will no doubt give us all an opportunity for reflection and renewal in these testing times.

We hope to enjoy your company at our first 2022 venture.


The poster advertising Ash Wednesday - Contemplative Eucharist is available for download.