Nativity cantata premieres in Haverfordwest

First published in News

What is thought to be the first cantata to be written for more than half a century will premiere in Haverfordwest this evening (Sunday).

Entitled ‘The Nativity – the Advent and Birth of Jesus’, the sacred composition was created through an online collaboration between retired United Reformed Church minister Rev Dr David Owen, from Broad Haven, and distinguished Welsh composer Eric Jones.

The cantata, which was commissioned by Pembrokeshire’s mixed choir the Landsker Singers with sponsorship from Valero Energy, is the first of a trilogy, taking the story from Christ’s birth to his crucifixion and resurrection.

It was launched at Crundale Village Hall last week but will premiere at St Mary’s Church, Haverfordwest, on December 2nd.

Cardiff-born international bass-baritone Anthony Stuart- Lloyd, dubbed ‘the man with the Rolls Royce voice’, and local soprano Kathryn Ashton, will take the leading roles, with the Landsker Singers conducted by founder and musical director Shirley Williams.

Shirley said: “The acoustics and decorative architecture are sure to enhance the performance of what is probably the first cantata to be written for over half a century.”

The initial stages of the cantata were written in collaboration with BBC musician and choirmaster Mike Sammes, when Dr Owen served as a minister in Reigate, Surrey.

But after Mike Sammes’ death, Dr Owen joined with Milford Haven composer Edmund ‘Wally’ Walters – but he too died before they could complete it.

He later finished the composition with Eric Jones, who holds a licentiate and fellowship of Trinity College of Music, in London.

Tickets are £10, and are available from choir members, or by calling Jill Richards on 01437 760664, or email jill.richards1@ btinternet.com.

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