A new musical work has been commissioned by the Friends of Coventry Cathedral as a contribution to Coventry’s year as the UK City of Culture.
The commission is of new canticles (Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis) that will be sung in the Cathedral at Choral Evensong on Sunday 16th May 2021. That date was selected a long time ago, and it is quite by chance that it falls in the launch weekend of the City’s Year. Coventry plays a big part in this initiative, providing not only the venue but also the composer and the singers.
The composer, Jonathan Rathbone, was taught and sang as a chorister in the Cathedral Choir under David Lepine, the new Cathedral’s first Director of Music. Both his father and grandfather sang in the Cathedral Choir before him. Jonathan went on to sing with the Swingle Singers before being appointed their music director for some ten years. He now leads five choirs (when the virus allows!) and works as a composer
Coventry Cathedral Choir truly belongs to the city. The choristers are recruited from schools and diverse communities right across Coventry. There is no private and exclusive choir school in Coventry as exists in many other Cathedral cities, and membership of the choir is open to all young people who demonstrate commitment and a desire to sing well.
The arrangements for the premiere performance depend on the Covid-19 restrictions operating at the time. The effect of socially-distanced seating in the Cathedral is to reduce the capacity from 2,000 to 200!