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Come and Sing!

With York Cantores:
Handel, ‘Coronation Anthems’ & Haydn, ‘Little Organ Mass’.

When: Saturday 11 May 2019, 10am-4pm 

Where: St Olave’s Church, Marygate, York, YO30 7BJ

The  Music: Handel, ‘Coronation Anthems’ & Haydn, ‘Little Organ Mass’.

George Frederick Handel (1685-1759) had been a naturalised British citizen for less than a year when he was commissioned to write music for the coronation of George II and Queen Caroline, which took place on 11 October 1727. The four anthems which he composed for the occasion have been popular ever since, with ‘Zadok the Priest’ being the best known. The words, taken from the 1 Kings 1: 38-40, have been used in every coronation of an English monarch since that of King Edgar in 973. Handel’s famous setting, with its powerful build to the choir’s proclamation has been performed at every coronation since 1727. The other three anthems set words from the Psalms: ‘Let Thy Hand Be Strengthened’; ‘The King Shall Rejoice’; and ‘My Heart is Inditing’. The last derived from text which Purcell had set for the coronation of James II in 1685 but Handel adapted it so that it was more suitable for a queen, as it was sung at the point in the ceremony when Caroline was crowned. Handel subsequently reused significant portions of these anthems in a number of his oratorios. They are all grand and dramatic compositions, as befits the grandeur of Westminster Abbey, the setting in which they were originally performed. 

Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) composed his ‘Missa brevis Sancti Joannis de Deo [John of God]’ in about 1775 for the house of the Brothers Hospitaller in Eisenstadt. The Brothers Hospitaller (a monastic order distinct from the Knights Hospitaller) were founded by St John of God (1495-1550). Portuguese by birth, John fought in the Spanish army against the French and the Turks, before undergoing a conversion and dedicating his life to charitable service of the sick and needy. Haydn was living in Eisenstadt at the Court of Nicholas II, Prince Esterházy when he received the commission from the Brothers. The mass has come to be known as the ‘Little Organ Mass’ because it includes a lengthy organ solo during the Benedictus. H. C. Robbins Landon, one of the work’s modern editors, characterised the work as embodying a "quiet spirit of devotion, even of mysticism, that is most appealing”. 

The People

The day will be led by Aljoša Škorja (Josh), a graduate of the University of Ljubljana,and the Royal Northern College of Music. Josh is rapidly establishing a reputation as an exciting choral and chamber orchestra director. Winner of the 2015 London Classical Soloists’ Conducting Competition he has a particular interest in historically informed performance. His conducting experience ranges from choral music of the Renaissance to contemporary commissions. He has been conducting York Cantores since January 2017. A veteran of ‘come and sings’ with his Church Choir at St Matthew, Chapel Allerton, this is his second at York following a very successful ‘Come and Sing: Palestrina: Missa Papae Marcelli’ in October 2017. 

Supporting Josh will be the singers of York Cantores, one of York’s leading chamber choirs, numbering  20-24 voices. The choir will be accompanied on the organ by Tamsin Holding.  

We recommend booking early as there is only a limited number of places.

Further details

Venue: St Olave’s Church, Marygate, York, YO30 7BJ.

There is a car park at the end of Marygate although it is currently operating at a reduced capacity. Additional parking can be found at Bootham Row (5 mins away) or Union Terrace (10 mins away). 

Cost: £10 payable on the door 


Saturday 11 May 10am Registration

10.30am Rehearsal

1pm Lunch

2pm Rehearsal

3pm Performance


There is no charge for the performance and you are warmly invited to encourage family and friends to come along.  


Tea and coffee will be available throughout the event. We suggest you bring a packed lunch. 


Vocal scores will be available to borrow against a £5 deposit. If you would prefer to bring your own score, we will be using the Oxford University Press editions of both works. 


To apply, please fill out the form below. Receipt of application will be acknowledged by e-mail. We will do our best to accommodate all applications. Late applications will be considered on a first come, first serve basis.