LBS Commissions

Here are our Commissions and First Performances. The list is not comprehensive but highlights from the series.

John Tavener Introit for the Feast of St. John Damascene –  first performed on 27 March 1968, London’s QEH, South Bank Centre.

Stanley Glasser “The Chameleon and the Lizard” – first performed on 30 January 1971, revised in 1973. A choral entertainment sung in Zulu, LBS commission with Arts Council funds.

David Rowlands Easter Stanzas – first performed on 25 March 1972, QEH, LBS Commission with Arts Council funds

Christopher Brown  Three Mediaeval Lyrics first performed on 13 October 1973 at QEH. BBC recording.  LBS Commission with Arts Council funds for USA tour.

The cantata The Vision of Saul, first performed on 11 February 1984. QEH. BBC Recording. LBS Commission with Arts Council funds for Paul Steinitz 75th Birthday series.

Sir James MacMillan The motet “I saw Eternity the other night” composed for the LBS 75th Anniversary and given its world première performed by Tenebrae/director Nigel Short on 9 November 2021 in the Priory Church of St. Bartholomew-the-Great, EC1. Presented as part of the LBS Culture Recovery Fund: Continuity Support November’21-January’22.

Latest additions

Robert Peate “Wie wunderbarlich….” First performed at The 18-30 Bach Club on 2 November 2013 in London’s Foundling Museum. Commissioned for the Bach Club by LBS Council Chairman Richard Jones.

Diana Burrell “Wo soll ich fliehen hin” A chorale prelude commissioned by the London Bach Society as part of the “Orgelbüchlein Project” directed by William Whitehead. The commission is donated by LBS Council Chairman Richard Jones for the Society’s 70th Anniversary and this new Chorale Prelude was given its première on 7 November 2016 performed by William Whitehead on the Richards, Fowkes organ in St. George’s Church Hanover Square, London W1.

UK First & Broadcast Performances  a selection

Igor Stravinsky Canticum Sacrum  11 December 1956 at ICA – performance directed by Robert Craft, Organist Paul Steinitz

Dallapiccola Canti di Prigionia – 14 May 1963

Bruno Maderna Tré Liriche Grêche – 5 March 1965

Nicholas Maw Five Epigrams – 14 October 1965

John Tavener Cain and Abel – 22 October 1966 – BBC Recording

David Matthews Stars – 22 October 1970, QEH and USA tour 1971

Christopher Brown Hymn to the Holy Innocents  13 January 1975 BBC

John Tavener Little Requiem for Father Malachy Lynch   22 Nov 1975

John Tavener Requiem for Father Malachy – London 1 December 1979

Peter Maxwell Davies Veni Sancte Spiritus  4 November 1972 QEH. BBC

The performers were the London Bach Society Choir (1947-89) and Steinitz Bach Players (1968-) conducted by Paul Steinitz (1909-1988)

LBS Composer Folio Our paused composition folio was re-opened in 2011 under the auspices of the Society’s 18-30 Bach Club, as a development of their performing activities and to reflect Bach’s influence among today’s composers. Launched in 2009, the Club is inspired by Bach’s tenure as Director of Music of the Leipzig Collegium Musicum, the students’ musical society founded in 1702 by his contemporary and friend Georg-Philipp Telemann. Here new works were premièred at the weekly meetings held at Zimmermann’s Coffee House in Leipzig’s  fashionable Katharinenstrasse including Bach’s famous and much-loved Coffee Cantata.

The commissioning and first performances of new music is an important chapter in the LBS story. Our folio of new works (see above) contains a wide range of innovatory compositions. These have been delivered by an eclectic group of creators reflecting the rich and diverse composer community. Working with today’s composers and experiencing their music  provides a refreshing counterpoise to the study and performance of Bach, whose creations are often their inspiration. This fusion of interests widens horizons, from which emerges a greater understanding and appreciation of human creativity and the fertile mind.