The hire music is on its way, the posters and flyers have arrived and the ads have been booked… really looking forward to our Christmas concert which will be on Sunday 23rd December at 6pm at St Michael’s in Lewes – we should all be in the Christmas mood by then!
We’re thrilled to be joined by world-class violinist Julia Bishop who will lead a string quartet, and Nick will join them on his chamber organ to play a lovely Handel Organ Concerto. There will of course be lots of beautiful carols, familiar and not-so familiar, including a setting of ‘Stille Nacht’ which has become something of a signature piece for us.
We’re calling the concert ‘A Spotless Rose’ after the lovely Christmas anthem, an anonymous fifteenth-century poem about Jesus’ birth and the purity of Mary, famously set to music by Herbert Howells in 1919. It’s a favourite of Nick’s, and here’s what composer Philip Cooke says about it:
Perhaps the most celebrated moment of the piece is the very end, in fact the final cadence – this cadence (on the words “cold winter’s night) is one of Howells’s most sublime and affecting moments and the composer Patrick Hadley famously wrote to Howells saying “I should like, when my time comes, to pass away with that magical cadence.” The cadence itself moves from A minor to E major through some wonderfully piquant suspensions and unusual dissonance resolutions, all with a good helping of emotion and ‘feeling’ – it is mature Howells through and through and it is indeed wonderful.
The ‘Marian’ theme continues as we shall also sing the Vivaldi Magnificat (the words of Mary, when she’s told she’s going to give birth to the Son of God), and a number of other carols focusing on Mary (although we do allow the baby a look in!).
A ‘surprise’ number will be a contemporary setting of ‘A Spotless Rose’ which features many lush chords, and we’re pretty sure you won’t be hearing it at any other carol concerts in Lewes this year.
Tickets are £12 (under 19s free) and will be available from Lewes Tourist Information Centre from around the middle of November (tel 01273 483448) or on the door, subject to availability.