Royal Philharmonic in St Albans for Magna Carta Festival

Royal Philharmic Orchestra

Royal Philharmic Orchestra - Credit: Archant

A SPECIAL concert is being performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on Saturday (3) as part of the St Albans Magna Carta Weekend.

It is being held at 7.30pm in St Albans Cathedral and the Royal Philharmonic will be appearing with the St Albans Chamber Choir and Friends.

This summer is the 800th anniversary of the city’s pivotal role in the development of the Magna Carta. The performance is a collaboration between the cathedral and St Albans council and is one of a series of commemorative events.

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra will be appearing with St Albans Chamber Choir and Friends, performing a programme that has been chosen with the themes and spirit of the Magna Carta in mind and includes music by Holst, Beethoven, Barber, Haydn and O’Regan.

Holst’s St Paul’s Suite calls to mind one of the most influential figures in the Christian church. St Paul’s “for you are all one in Christ Jesus”, is known as the Magna Carta of Humanity.

The Prisoners’ Chorus from Beethoven’s opera Fidelio is an ode to freedom sung by a chorus of political prisoners.

Barber’s Adagio for Strings was written in the 1930s when Hitler’s Germany was pushing the world towards war and America was just recovering from the Depression.

Most Read

Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass was first performed around the time that news of Napoleon’s defeat at the Battle of the Nile arrived, hence its popular title. Last but not least, Tarik O’Regan’s Martyr celebrates the life of St Alban. Commissioned by the St Albans Chamber Choir to celebrate its 50th anniversary, it received its world premiere in St Albans Cathedral in 2009.

Once again, the choir is to be accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and conducted by John Gibbons.

The Very Rev Jeffrey John, Dean of St Albans Cathedral, commented: “This promises to be a thrilling experience. The choice of music is wonderfully appropriate, inspired by the same striving for freedom and justice that found expression in Magna Carta.

“It will be doubly inspiring to hear it when the document is actually present in this magnificent building which contributed to its birth.”

Tickets for the concert are priced between £10 and £27.50 and are available from the Alban Arena Box Office on 01727 844488 or online at

The concert is part of a three month festival commemorating St Albans’ link with the Magna Carta. For further details about the programme please visit