Live Choral Evensong returns to BBC Radio 3 this afternoon, for the first time since services in churches were suspended due to the Covid-19 lockdown. While the long-running and much-loved broadcast of the service usually moves through choirs and churches, its return to live broadcasting will begin with a month-long residency at London’s St Martin-in-the-Fields.
The first broadcast – at 3.30pm today – will feature the nine-singer-strong St Martin’s Voices – based at the Trafalgar Square church – with following weeks featuring an octet from the church of Great St Bartholomew, the BBC Singers and The Gesualdo Six.
Music promises to be equally varied. Today’s service begins with the hymn 'Lord of all hopefulness' sung to the traditional Irish tune 'Slane' - the final piece of music heard in St Martin's on the night before the church closed due to the pandemic. The canticles will be the Magnificat and Nunc dimittis in B minor by T Tertius Noble.
The Great St Bartholomew octet will sing music by Arvo Pärt and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies (August 5), the BBC Singers (August 12) an anthem by John Scott on the fifth anniversary of his death, and The Gesualdo Six (August 19) will give the world premiere of ‘Night Prayer’ by the group’s Director, Owain Park.