Next concert:

Handel’s Messiah

Sunday 20 November 2016, 7.30 pm

St Dunstan’s Church Mayfield

Mayfield Festival Choir conducted by Jeremy Summerly with the Royal Academy Consort and soloists Miranda Johnson, Anna Boucher, William Blake and Martin Johnson.

There are few pieces of Western art music that have been enthusiastically received at their première and remain popular almost three centuries later. But Messiah is just such a piece; indeed it has become the go-to English oratorio for choirs around the world. Yet it was the creation of a German-born composer performing to an erstwhile Irish audience. But where Messiah is thoroughly English is in its libretto. The words were specially compiled from the King James Bible by the Leicestershire landowner Charles Jennens. Handel clearly approved of the Biblical selections that Jennens made, because he composed Messiah in just three weeks. While on one level that is barely credible, it is the single most important reason that the piece maintains its edge-of-the seat excitement throughout – even Handel didn’t know what was coming next!

In its earliest incarnations, Messiah was most usually performed around Easter (the première on 13 April 1742 was during the third week after Easter). Latterly Handel’s masterpiece has become more often associated with Christmas. Either will do, because the piece has a narrative that begins with Advent and proceeds to the Resurrection.

Our performance takes place on the last Sunday of the church year, thereby acting as a resumé of what has just been, and as a foretaste of what is to come. Messiah is ultimately timeless – it is an oratorio for all seasons.

 

Why not make an evening of it in Mayfield?

Mayfield has several excellent pubs and restaurants providing pre-concert food an post-concert drinks.

Pink Cabbage Produce Co. (High St) Will be offering a special pre-concert supper menu at £10 per person. Call the restaurant to make a reservation (01435 872557)

The Middle House (High Street) Serves food on Sundays until 9 pm (01435 872146)

Rose & Crown (at the bottom of Fletching Street) Serves food on Sundays until 6 pm (01435 872200)

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Would you like to sing with us? We would love to hear from anyone who has experience of choral music and is keen to be part of a friendly but ambitious choir, see »Join the choir