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World Premiere of Howard Goodall’s Invictus: A Passion

Feb. 26, 2018

World Premiere of Howard Goodall’s <em>Invictus: A Passion</em>

Howard Goodall’s Invictus: A Passion receives its world premiere at St Luke’s Methodist Church in Houston, Texas on Palm Sunday, March 25, conducted by the composer. The work is a contemporary reflection on the themes of the traditional Christian Passion story with particular attention to the role and perspective of women. Poems by various authors are interwoven with the 1611 verse narrative of the biblical Passion by Æmelia Lanyer née Bassano, one of the first books published in the English language by a female poet. Interspersing extracts of her long-form poem are texts from various periods of historic turmoil, written or inspired by women which eloquently portray humility in the face of tyranny. These texts include Gethsemane by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, Mary Magdalene and the Other Mary by Christina Georgina Rossetti and Slave Auction by Ellen Watkins Harper.

The 55-minute, nine-movement work is scored for soprano solo, tenor solo, SATB choir and an unusually configured chamber orchestra of double (antiphonal) string quartet, bass, piano, horns and soprano saxophone. Invictus: A Passion was commissioned by St Luke's Friends of Music for the Chancel Choir of St Luke's United Methodist Church, Houston, Texas, Sid Davis, Director of Music and Fine Arts.

(Composer Howard Goodall and Sid Davis discuss the creation of Invictus: a Passion)

Invictus: A Passion
is published by Faber Music. The work is immediately available to US and Canadian choirs for performance following the world premiere. The vocal score (0-571-53653-0) will be released in May 2018.

The European premiere, performed by the Choir of Christ Church Cathedral Oxford, conducted by Stephen Darlington with soloists of The Sixteen and The Lanyer Ensemble takes place at St John’s Smith Square on May 25, 2018. The same ensembles will release the premiere recording of Invictus: A Passion on The Sixteen’s record label, CORO Connections, on August 31, 2018.

Listen to Howard Goodall’s “Kyrie” from Eternal Light: A Requiem (2008) here:

(“Kyrie” from Eternal Light: A Requiem/Howard Goodall/Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford/London Musici/Stephen Darlington/Natasha Marsh, soprano)

For more information about Howard Goodall, visit

Howard Goodall
Invictus: A Passion (2017)
for soprano and tenor soloists, SATB chorus,
and small orchestra
ssax-2hrn-pno(elec pno)-org-str