Colchester Classics previews and reviews of a selection of the latest classical music events and concerts taking place across the county in this monthly column
Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without carols from John Rutter and Bob Chilcott and at Saffron Hall there is a special concert where both composers will conduct their own festive music.
Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without carols from John Rutter and Bob Chilcott. Over at Saffron Hall, there is a special concert to kick-start your Christmas celebrations. Both composers will take turns to conduct their own festive music performed by the BBC Singers and accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra.
This concert will be jampacked with seasonal favourites plus a chance for audience participation. Enjoy the spectacle on Sunday, December 16 from 3pm at Saffron Hall, Saffron Walden. Tickets are £24 to £50. Call 0845 548 7650 for details or to book.
Handel’s Messiah is a fixture in the choral calendar and this month a stellar line-up of soloists – including Roderick Williams, Iestyn Davies, Allan Clayton and Sophie Bevan – join with the Britten Sinfonia and Voices to perform this oratorio at Saffron Hall on Saturday, December 22 at 7.30pm. Tickets range from £18 to £50. Call 0845 548 7650.
Earlier in December the University of Essex Choir conducted by Richard Cooke performs one of my favourite Christmas choral works, Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on Christmas Carols.
This work cleverly weaves English folk carols collected by the composer and his friend Cecil Sharp into this popular work for baritone solo, choir and orchestra. Other music on the programme includes Schubert’s Mass in G and Pergolesi’s Magnificat.
The University of Essex Choir will be accompanied by the London Mozart Players who will also perform Elgar’s Serenade for Strings and Grieg’s Holberg Suite. For tickets, visit universityofessexchoir.org. The performance takes place on Saturday, December 8 at 7pm in the Ivor Crewe Lecture Hall at University of Essex, Colchester.
Over in Clacton, its Choral Society presents a joyful concert crammed full of English music for choir, harp and organ. The main work of this concert is another popular Christmas choral work, Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols.
Originally written for just treble voices, this performance uses the now standard choir (soprano, alto, tenor and bass) setting. The work begins with an unaccompanied procession, Hodie Christus natus est, followed by a series of carols telling the traditional story of the birth of Christ.
Gustav Holst’s Four Old English Carols and his lovely medley Christmas Day are some of the other music in this varied concert which takes place on Sunday, December 9 at 6.30pm at St James’ Church, Tower Road, Clacton. Tickets are £10. Call 01255 221511.
If you have a forthcoming concert of classical music event you would like previewed, contact Liz Leatherdale on 0800 999 6994.
ABOVE: The BBC Singers