Tapestry with scenes from the Passion of Christ, by an unknown weaver, Flemish (active 1470-1490 in Tournai), via Wikimedia Commons

Passiontide at Merton 2018

A three-day festival of concerts, talks and services, the annual Passiontide at Merton festival is a highlight of Oxford's musical year; the 2018 Festival took place from Friday 23 to Sunday 25 March 2018.

The festival

The first Passiontide at Merton festival took place in 2010. The festival has become a popular musical and liturgical event, attracting a large following, with many visitors staying in the College for the duration of the festival. The festival usually takes place over the Palm Sunday weekend.

Although the resident College Choir is the featured ensemble, visiting performers have included The Tallis Scholars, The Marian Consort, Oxford Baroque, Carducci Quartet, Emma Kirkby and Elin Manahan Thomas. A number of works have been premièred at the festival, including Gabriel Jackson’s The Passion of our Lord and Emily Levy’s In Paradisum.


Friday 23 March

5:00pm Evensong

The Choir of Merton College
Benjamin Nicholas conductor

Byrd Responses
Byrd Short Service
Byrd Infelix Ego

7:30pm Allegri's Miserere

The Marian Consort
Merton College Girls' Choir
Rory McCleery conductor

Gabriel Jackson Stabat Mater (world première)
Allegri Miserere
MacMillan Miserere
Palestrina Stabat Mater
Victoria Salve Regina

This event was kindly sponsored by Penningtons Manches LLP


Saturday 24 March

10:30am Choral Matins

Choir of Merton College
Benjamin Nicholas conductor

Stanford Benedictus
Archer Benedicite
Bruckner Christus factus est

2:00pm Organ Concert: James Lancelot

Bach Passacaglia BWV 582
Buxtehude Ach Herr, mich armen Sünder BuxWV 178
Bach Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir BWV 686
Brahms Herzliebster Jesu, Opus 122 No 2
Rheinberger Sonata No 4 in A minor, Opus 98
Karg-Elert Sollt ich meinem Gott nicht singen?
Dupré Jésus console les filles d’Israël qui le suivent
Dupré Cortège et Litanie, Opus 19 No 2
Martin Passacaille (1944)

6:00pm Choral Evensong

Choir of Merton College
Benjamin Nicholas conductor

Purcell Remember not, O Lord
Howells Gloucester Service
Brahms Warum ist das Licht gegeben dem Mühseligen (op. 74 no. 1)

7:30pm Festival Dinner

9:30pm Compline


Sunday 25 March

10:30am Procession and Sung Eucharist of the Lord’s Passion

Choir of Merton College
The Reverend Canon Dr Simon Jones celebrant
The Reverend Dr Jarred Mercer preacher
Benjamin Nicholas conductor

Gibbons Hosanna to the Son of David
Martin Mass for Double Choir
Messiaen O sacrum convivium

5:00pm JS Bach: Mass in B minor

Choir of Merton College
Instruments of Time and Truth
Benjamin Nicholas conductor

Rowan Pierce soprano
Jeremy Kenyon alto
James Gilchrist tenor
Giles Underwood bass

This event was kindly sponsored by Savills