Private Passions: Songs of Longing and Love

The Charterhouse, London
4:00 pm, Sunday, 29 January, 2017


We are excited to return to the Charterhouse to celebrate the opening of its museum with a free hour-long concert inspired by the intimate yet grand setting of the Great Chamber. Many of the works in our programme date from the Great Chamber’s heyday in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, when it was associated both with Queen Elizabeth I, who met the Privy Council there in the days before her coronation in 1558, and James I, who created 130 barons there shortly before his own coronation.

The first half of our concert explores devotional music performed for the benefit of royalty and wealthy families, with works such as Thomas Tomkins’ vibrant twelve-part anthem O praise the Lord, all ye heathen, and Orlando Gibbons’s eight-part motet O clap your hands together. We will also sing two rather more introspective works by William Byrd: his Miserere mihi, Domine and the remarkably intense Quomodo cantabimus.

The second half of the programme takes the theme of private performances as a starting point to explore nineteenth- and twentieth-century English partsongs and love-songs, including Pearsall’s famous Elizabethan pastiche, Lay a garland, and Vaughan Willliams’s Three Elizabethan Partsongs. We close with three works by Elgar – the large-scale partsongs Go, song of mine and My love dwelt in a northern land, and his experimental, almost modernist Owls.


Thomas Tomkins – O praise the Lord

William Byrd – Miserere mihi, Domine

William Byrd – Quomodo cantabimus

Thomas Weelkes – When David heard

Thomas Tomkins – When David heard

Thomas Campion – Never weather-beaten sail

Orlando Gibbons – O clap your hands together

Robert Lucas Pearsall – Lay a garland

Ralph Vaughan Williams – Three Elizabethan Partsongs

Charles H.H. Parry – Never weather-beaten sail

Charles H.H. Parry – La belle dame sans merci

Edward Elgar – My love dwelt in a northern land

Edward Elgar – Owls

Edward Elgar – Go, song of mine

Matthew Altham, Director


Admission is free, but places are limited and tickets must be reserved in advance via this link.

The Charterhouse’s new museum will be open to visitors on the day of the concert from 11:00am. Admission is free and no reservation or ticket is required.

Guided tours of the Charterhouse will be given on the day of the concert. A fee is payable to the Charterhouse. Places can be booked in advance from January 23 onwards by calling 020 7253 9503 or via the Charterhouse’s website.

Venue details

Charterhouse Square, London EC1M 6AN
Nearest tube: Barbican, Farringdon