Music at St Paul's

The Chaplain’s View

The sole purpose of music in Church is the worship of God and therefore it is a form of prayer. At St Paul’s our Director of Music composes specific arrangements and settings to help us to express this during our services.

Excellence matters and so while we enjoy the wonderful contribution of the Ristretto singers, everyone is invited to engage with music during the service, offering their best to God.

What does that mean? In this context it means you don’t have to be a great singer to be part of a musical triumph that takes us to a higher plane and elevates us all toward the divine.

The Musical Director’s View

I was honoured to asked to take up the position of St Paul’s Director of Music in 2020 as I believe music in church worship is an offering to God, deserving the best resources that are available. Music is also an act of sharing – which includes listening together as well as singing together.

In Monaco we are lucky to have access to a wide range of talented professional performers through the ballet, opera and symphony orchestra, so our offering can range from hymns and simple congregational Mass settings to sacred works by composers from the Renaissance to the present day.

The Ristretto Singers

Formed by Errol Girdlestone in 2012 this group of professional and gifted amateur singers from across the region joins us regularly to lead music during worship.

The vocal ensemble is joined by instrumentalists on special occasions in the church’s calendar as well for performances of Masses by Haydn, Schubert and the renowned annual concert presentation of Handel’s Messiah.

Look out for a programme of music that profiles the church’s musical literature including Baroque composers and the resumption of the series of Bach’s cantatas and motets inaugurated prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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    Errol Girdlestone BIOGRAPHY

    Church music has been important to Errol all his life – you might even say it was in his genes! Errol’s family has strong theological, academic, musical and even medical connections that coalesce through music, so he was a boy chorister and trained initially as an organist.

    Church music has provided the foundation for Errol’s rich and varied international career that has spanned many countries and an exciting range of genres, all featuring performances at the highest professional level. Here is a brief summary of the highlights:

    Religious music – Royal College of Church Music, London Trinity College, Vicar Choral at St Paul’s Cathedral, London, Founder member of The Hilliard Ensemble.

    Opera – English National Opera (Wagner’s Ring Cycle and EMI recordings with the legendary Reginald Goodall), conductor at the Nice Opera, Syrinx Concerts Orchestra in Vence and Monaco, Musique Cordiales in the Var, Festival Georges Auric in Montpellier. Plus, permanent posts in South Africa and Norway.

    Freelance conductor and chorus master – Aix-en-Provence, Baden Baden, Cologne, Chicago, Montevideo, and the Wexford festival in Ireland.

    Symphony and oratorio conductor – Leipzig, Vienna, the Bregenz Festival, Canterbury Festival, and at the Yehudi Menuhin Festival in Gstaad, alongside artists such as Giuliano Carmignola and Alison Balsom.

    Commercial recordings – English National Opera, Pink Floyd.

    Compositions – Concerto for two flutes and orchestra Pièce de Concert was premiered at the Louvre in Paris, while his Rivers of Time (scored for solo cello, symphony orchestra, and large chorus) was given at the Cathedral on the Rock in Monaco.