Angels - The Merbecke Choir Advent Concert

Music Christmas
  • Venue


  • Time

    7:30 PM

  • Price

    FREE - £15.00

  • Book Tickets

The Southwark Cathedral Merbecke Choir present an evening of music on the theme of angels.

Join the Cathedral Merbecke Choir for an exploration of angels and the role they played in the birth of Christ.

Angels are everywhere. The angel Gabriel tells Mary she is going to have a baby. Angels light up the sky above Bethlehem singing Glory to the newborn king. The archangel Michael slays the dragon. Cherubim and Seraphim form heavenly choirs. And Gabriel will sound his trumpet at the last. No wonder some of the greatest music has been written in celebration of these mysterious, powerful, wonderful creatures.

This concert is all about angels. In their 400th and 500th anniversary years we sing great works of celebration of angels by Praetorius and Josquin. From Gabrieli’s listing of the orders of Angels through to Mizkinis 21st century “Angelis suis Deus” (God shall give his angels charge over thee), by bringing these and other angelic works to life, we hope to conjure up some of the light and beauty of the choirs of angels.


Gabrieli Angeli, archangeli

Dering Factum est silentium

Guerrero Duo Seraphim

Praetorius Ingressus Angelus

Lassus Missus est Angelus Gabriel

Hassler Dixit Maria

Part Bogoroditse Dyevo

Rachmaninoff Cherubic Hymn

Mendelssohn For he shall give

Vaughan-Williams Sanctus from Mass in G minor


Josquin Gaude virgo mater Christi

Tye A Sound of Angels

Sweelinck Angelus ad pastores ait

Tchaikovsky Cherubic Hymn

Miskinis Angelis suis Deus

Whitacre Lux Aurumque


The Merbecke Choir

The Merbecke Choir is a group of around 25-30 singers who sing a wide range of music to a high standard. The choir is mostly made up of people in their twenties and thirties, who meet to rehearse every Tuesday in term time. It is a regular contributor to the liturgy at Southwark Cathedral, notably at the monthly service of Compline and Eucharistic Devotions. It also performs regular concerts, usually three a year, has toured abroad and in the UK and has released a CD, Under the Shadow of Thy Wings.

In 2003, Southwark Cathedral founded the Merbecke Choir to be a place for boys and girls who had left the Cathedral Choirs to explore a wide range of repertoire under expert tuition. The choir has grown since then and has a broad mix of ages and backgrounds, though former Cathedral choristers remain very welcome.

The choir is a staunch supporter of new music, having commissioned several new works, as well as being adept in the performance of renaissance polyphony. They have performed for the Poet Laureate, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, contributed to Her Majesty the Queen's Christmas Broadcast recorded at Southwark Cathedral in 2006 and performed for Songs of Praise recorded in 2017.

The choir’s current director of music is Emily Elias.

The Choir is named after the Tudor composer, John Merbecke (1510-1585), who composed one of the most popular settings of the Book of Common Prayer Communion Service. Merbecke with three other companions was tried for heresy in 1543 in the Retrochoir at Southwark, which was used for this purpose at the time. He was found guilty and condemned to be burned at the stake. His sentence was commuted however by Bishop Stephen Gardiner, the then Bishop of Winchester, who decided that as a mere musician Merbecke 'knew no better' and so was released to continue his music making.


Tickets for this event are also available on the door on the evening from 7.00pm.