Composer Grenville Richard Harding conducting his Easter story

Dove English Orchestra at St Mary’s Church, Horsham, 9 April, in aid of Horsham Matters and Horsham Food Bank

When I arrived at St Mary’s, I expected to hear a polite classical concert with a vague Easter theme. I did not expect a profound spiritual and emotional experience. As we were taken through The Crucifixion, the sheer weight of the music made us identify with the crucifixion story.

This was the Dove English Orchestra’s first appearance, and although not technically perfect, the spirit of the music certainly came across. For its composer Grenville Richard Harding (who also conducted), the idea of orchestral music as a two-way street – not only worship but also ministry – is central. And we felt it!

The narrator was a voice well-known to all Radio 4 listeners – Chris Aldridge, who was clearly committed to the message. After the crucifixion narrative, we were asked to receive forgiveness for our sin, with the most intimate music. And this was all in the first half!

The second half was a musical trip through Pentecost, with the glory and peace of God playing the central role. Yet again, the emotion touched us, and the Bible verses came to life.

I felt a little drained after the concert – but knew that I’d had an experience that was, for me, important. I would like to see this a second time, in order to be less overwhelmed and perhaps a little more objective. We will see what next Easter brings, but the reviews on social media were instant and thrilled:

“Thank you so much for a wonderful performance last night. It was so emotive, so inspired. The sensitivity in which the music interacted with the narration – truly a God given gift. Very challenging, demanding a response from us all!”

“This was a passionate and powerful rendition of the biblical story of the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth as well as the imaginative separate work depicting Pentecost. Being there listening you sensed God. Grenville Richard Harding is pure genius. His music should be ‘out there’ as much as possible so that all can know the awesomeness of God in this amazing way. The music he writes is deep and beautiful.”

“I was so privileged to be at this wonderful performance yesterday at St Mary’s Church, Horsham. The church was packed full and the music and narration was top class. Looking forward to hearing the recording later.”

If you would like to be a friend to the Dove English Orchestra and receive notification of further concerts, please email

Greg Edwards

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. View our GDPR / Privacy Policy more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.