From the director:
The title of our upcoming concert really says it all – ‘Wait for the Blessed Hope’.
Advent, the four weeks leading up to Christmas, is the quintessential time of waiting and hoping. When I was a child, even though pre-Christmas shopping took place, it was not as frenetic and all-consuming as it is today. There was still that sense that Christmas did not truly begin until December 25th. In church, Advent was observed seriously – Christmas carols began on Christmas Day and continued throughout the Twelve Days of Christmas culminating in the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6th. The seasons had their integrity and, because of that, they retained their meaning. And in addition to the religious significance of the seasons, we can all agree that a time of unplugging, reflecting, and regrouping is a necessity of a well-balanced life.
Our programme takes us on a musical journey from the 14th century to the present day by way of 16th century Germany and Italy (Praetorius, Handl, and Palestrina) to Restoration England (Purcell) and beyond. At the same time, it reflects on some of the great themes of the seasons: Waiting, Prophecy, Mary, and Jesus.
A special feature consists of two carol settings by the young British composer Thomas Hewitt Jones – ‘Child of the stable’s secret birth’ and ‘What child is this?’ Thomas Hewitt Jones was organ scholar at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge and thus comes from a venerable tradition of choral music making in places like Cambridge that goes back to before the Reformation. ‘Child of the stable’s secret birth’ is a setting of a hymn text by a retired Church of England bishop, Timothy Dudley-Smith. In this instance, both words and music show that the tradition of serious, sacred music is alive and well, growing and developing as living traditions should!
We are truly looking forward to sharing this special concert with you!