- Jubilate Deo in C
- Canticle II: Abraham & Issac
- Saint Nicholas
- Sloane Square Orchestra
- Ben Williamson
- Tom Herford
- Oliver Lallemant
This year sees the centenary of the birth of Benjamin Britten, born on 22 November 1913. To celebrate the occasion, Sloane Square Choral Society’s Christmas Concert is a seasonal festival of Britten, dedicated to the music of one of this country’s best-loved composers.
Britten’s Saint Nicolas is a Christmas cantata with a difference. Written in 1948 for tenor soloist, trebles and choir, it tells the story of the original Santa Claus – Saint Nicholas, the fourth-century Bishop of Myra, the patron saint of children. Full of musical and dramatic riches, the piece includes the wonderful legend of the pickled boys, murdered by an unscrupulous butcher, but miraculously brought back to life by the vigilant saint. The cantata includes two rousing hymns in which audience participation is heartily encouraged!
The trials and tribulations faced by innocent children, a recurrent theme in Britten’s work, are a central concern in Abraham and Isaac (1952), Britten’s setting of one of the most heart-rending episodes in all Scripture. Based on a marvellous text taken from the 15th-century Chester Mystery Plays, this gripping piece for tenor and alto is charged with conflicting emotions of extraordinary power.
SSCS’s Christmas celebration of Britten’s centenary also includes his sparkling Jubilate Deo in C, commissioned in 1961 by Prince Philip for the choir of St George’s Chapel, Windsor.