Birmingham Bach Choir’s SUMMER CONCERT 2024 (B’ham & Warwick)

Bednall, Bernstein, Elgar & Spicer

Saturday 29 June 2024, Warwick

Saturday 6 July 2024, Birmingham
Following a series of themed performances, Birmingham Bach Choir’s annual Summer Concert sees the choir present four very different works by four very different composers.

Taking place at St Mary’s Church, Warwick, on Saturday 29 June 2024, and with a repeat performance at Birmingham’s St Alban’s Church, on Saturday 6 July 2024, the concert features inspiring works by Bednall, Bernstein, Elgar and Spicer.

Leonard Bernstein is one of America’s greatest composers and conductors. Hugely versatile, Bernstein’s perhaps best remembered for his stage and screen work, although he also composed numerous orchestral pieces, operas and more.

Commissioned by the Dean of Chichester Cathedral, and premiered in 1965, Bernstein’s tuneful Chichester Psalms is a choral masterpiece in three movements. A musical depiction of the composer’s hope for brotherhood and peace, it’s one of his most performed works.

Written during the spring of 1914 for the Sons of Clergy Festival at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, Give Unto The Lord features many of Sir Edward Elgar’s widely admired hallmarks, from his detailed phrasing to hugely satisfying melodies and changes in tempo. A setting of Psalm 29, it was penned while the Worcestershire composer was at the peak of his creative powers.

David Bednall’s The Dear Bargain and Paul Spicer’s Sound The Invisible Trumps were both commissioned directly by Birmingham Bach Choir (with their Birmingham performances set to be recorded).

The Dear Bargain was commissioned from leading contemporary composer David Bednall as part of the choir’s triumphant centenary celebrations, and was belatedly aired in 2021. Based on the poem by 17th century writer Richard Crashaw, The Dear Bargain (Charitas Nimia) features moments of both darkness and joy before reaching a rewardingly peaceful conclusion.

Premiered in 2022, Paul Spicer’s Sound The Invisible Trumps was funded by a legacy left by former Birmingham Bach Choir President Pauline Round, who died in 2017. Each movement of the work uses a different poem for the libretto, including anonymous texts from the 12th century, and verses by Nobel Prize-winning Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore and Walter de la Mare, as well as Pauline, who was an accomplished and respected poet.

The Summer Concert programme sees Birmingham Bach Choir joined by Paul Spicer (conductor) and organist Callum Alger, plus soloists Ciará Preston Myakicheff (soprano) and Isaac Boulter (baritone).

Philip Bellshaw, Chair of Birmingham Bach Choir, said: “After our hugely acclaimed performance of St Matthew Passion in March, as well as other recent successful concerts dedicated to the music of Brahms, Bach and Rachmaininoff, our 2024 Summer Concert presents a distinctly contemporary programme with four contrasting works.

“We’re especially pleased to be re-performing Paul and David’s pieces which were both written especially for the choir, and champion the continuing appeal, strength and development of the English choral music tradition.”

Tickets for Birmingham Bach Choir’s Summer Concert at St Mary’s Church, Warwick, on Saturday 29 June 2024, and St Alban’s Church, Birmingham, on Saturday 6 July 2024, are available from:


Birmingham Bach Choir: Summer Concert

Saturday 29 June 2024
St Mary’s Church, Old Square, Warwick CV34 4RA

Saturday 6 July 2024
St Alban’s Church, Conybere St, Birmingham B12 0YH

Tickets: £22 (concession £18) / Student: £12

Tickets available via:—tickets.html
Or email:

Paul Spicer: conductor
Birmingham Bach Choir
Callum Alger: organ

Soloists for Spicer’s work:
Ciara Preston-Myakicheff (soprano)
Isaac Boulter (baritone)

Bednall – The Dear Bargain
Bernstein – Chichester Psalms
Elgar – Give unto the Lord
Spicer – Sound the Invisible Trumps


As one of the UK’s leading large chamber choirs, Birmingham Bach Choir has been contributing to the musical life of the West Midlands since 1919, making it one of the longest established musical groups in the area. Although the main focus is the Baroque period (especially JS Bach), the choir performs music spanning 600 years, including 20th and 21st century works, and has premiered many new choral works.

2019 was the choir’s centenary, a year which saw them make a series of special appearances, including a Gala Concert at Lichfield Cathedral and a performance for Royalty.

The 2022-2023 Season marked Conductor Paul Spicer’s 30th anniversary with the choir and included the first West Midlands performance of Rachmaninoff’s Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom in Liturgical Slavonic in living memory.