Arvo Pärt: Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten

Lauridsen: Lux Aeterna

Rutter: Magnificat

You can buy tickets online.


Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten

The Cantus composed in 1977 was in response to the death of Britten in1976, a composer whose music he admired as having “unusual purity”. The piece is built around the Aeolian Mode of A minor which projects a characteristic melancholy sound and symbolises the bitter sweetness of human existence. It begins with 3 beats of silence and is followed by the striking of a bell whose notes continue to be rung throughout most of the piece, becoming louder each time, ending with the same trio of unsounded beats. It has been suggested that “how we live depends on our relationship with death: how we make music depends on our relationship to silence” It is death that informs this piece.

Lux Aeterna

Over the past two decades Morten Lauridsen has become the most performed American choral composer, winning international acclaim for his compositions. The final illness, and death of his mother led to him composing Lux Aeterna, (Eternal Light), and each of the five sacred Latin texts contain references to light. Lauridsen says that these texts gave him the“strength to cope with the situation”


John Rutter is a one of the foremost composers in this country of sacred choral music; he is also the Patron of the Wells Cathedral Oratorio Society. In recognition of this we are performing The Magnificat, which was given its world premiere in 1990 by the composer in New York. It is a joyous celebration of the Virgin Mary and follows the example of Bach, in that the text found in the opening chapter of St Luke’s gospel, is threaded with Gregorian themes. His inclusion of the beautiful 15th century poem “Of a Rose” that likens Mary and her child to a flower springing from the stem of Jesse, heightens the association with the Cathedral and its glorious Jesse window.


The society performs three major concerts every season. Our first concert in the season is usually performed in early November. This is followed by our regular opener for Christmas, Handel's Messiah. In the March of the following year we perform a third major concert.

You may also view our past concerts.

Concert Tickets

Tickets for all our concerts can be purchased Online or from Wells Cathedral Box Office.

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Detailed directions can be found on the Wells Cathedral website.

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