7:30 pm19:30

Yorkshire Bach Choir: 20th Century Choral Classics

  • Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, University of York

Yorkshire Bach Choir
Ben Horden organ
Peter Seymour conductor

Zoltán Kodály  Missa Brevis

William Walton  The Twelve

Maurice Duruflé  Requiem

In this concert we present three distinctive twentieth century settings of spiritual texts for voices and organ. Both Kodàly and Duruflé take their cue from earlier musical styles, especially Gregorian chant, and reinvent familiar texts in the full technicolour of their own individual musical languages. Completing the trio of works is Walton's The Twelve a hugely imaginative and distinctive setting of W H Auden’s words.

7:30 pm19:30

Organ Recital

  • Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, University of York

Max Reger  Introduction and Passacaglia                    

Johannes Brahms  Chorale Prelude and Fugue “O Traurigkeit, o Herzeleid!”

Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy  Prelude and Fugue No.1 in C minor

Johann Sebastian Bach  Chorale Partita “Sei gegrüsset, Jesu gütig”  BWV 768

Franz Liszt  Fantasia and Fugue on the name BACH  

Of the many organ genres of the 18th century, the Chorale Partita is perhaps the least familiar; this concert gives an opportunity to hear one of Bach’s finest offerings and to spot his influence on later composers. The concert hall’s neo-classical organ built by Grant, Degens and Bradbeer would have been recognized by Bach and also by Mendelssohn, Liszt, Brahms and even Reger. 

5:45 pm17:45

'Resurrexi!': Organ music for the Risen Christ

  • St Matthew's Church

Olivier Messiaen  Joie et Clarté des Corps Glorieux

Jeanne Demessieux  Douze Choral Préludes sur des thèmes grégoriens
6. Hosana Filio David                                      
5. Vexilla Regis                                    
7. O Filii et Filiae

Alan Ridout  Three Resurrection Dances

A former Director of Music, Ben returns to St Matthew's Church, Northampton to give the Easter Day organ recital. Twentieth-century composers from both sides of the channel offer musical responses to the resurrection narrative. The recital precedes Choral Evensong, sung by the choir of St Matthew's Church at 6.30pm.

1:00 pm13:00

London Handel Festival: Organ recital

  • St George's Hanover Square

This recital is part of the London Handel Festival

Jean Baptiste Lullytrans. Ben Horden  Ouverture from Ballet Royal de la Nuit

Johann Sebastian Bach  Concerto a-Moll BWV 593
nach dem Concerto a-Moll Op.3 Nr.8 (RV 522) für zwei Violinen, Streicher und Basso continuo von Antonio Vivaldi

Henry Purcell  Voluntary in G

John Stanley  Voluntary in D minor, Op.5 No. 8

George Frederic Handel, trans. John Walsh (1738)  Organ Concerto in F major, Op.4 No.5

This programme traces Handel’s life and work across the turn of the 18th century. Although Handel only contributed a small number of works to the keyboard repertory, in this recital his journey is represented by music from his contemporaries and those who influenced him and whom he influenced.

Born in Halle, Handel’s roots lie in the North German tradition, although the early formation of his style is less native and perhaps owes more to his European contemporaries; from Lully, the master of the French Overture to Scarlatti and the other masters of the Italian style and form. Capitalising on the loss of enthusiasm for Purcell’s stage music following his death, Handel cultivated the already growing interest for the Italian style in London, particularly Italian opera. An eventual wain of interest by London’s fickle audiences provided the catalyst for Handel’s oratorios and their performances at Covent Garden. His celebrated organ concertos, around one of which this programme is centred, were written as interludes and were the first of their kind for the combination of instruments. By this point in his life Handel was fully integrated into the musical life of London and fully endorsed by his Royal patrons and adoring audiences.

Although direct contemporaries and admirers of each other’s work from afar, Handel was outside of Bach’s sphere of influence. Surprisingly, the only thing shared by these two giants of the Baroque was the fatal incompetence of their eye surgeon. Following Handel’s death in 1789, the baton was picked up by John Stanley, a faithful advocate of Handel and admired hugely by him. Stanley strived to maintain Handel’s legacy at Covent Garden, although like so many, was eclipsed by the work of the Baroque Master. 

1:10 pm13:10

Organ recital

  • St Mary-le-Tower, Ipswich

Richard Shephard  Prelude and Fugue on ‘Good King Wenceslas’

Louis Claude Daquin  Noel Grand Jeu et Duo

Johann Sebastian Bach  Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV 659

Johann Sebastian Bach  Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV 660

Johann Sebastian Bach  Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV 661

Louis Vierne  Pastorale from Symphonie I

Alfred Hollins  Cradle Song

George Baker  Toccata-Gigue on 'The Sussex Carol'

7:30 pm19:30

Neville Holt: Messiah

  • Leicester Cathedral

Chorus and Orchestra of Neville Holt Opera

Rhian Lois soprano
Clare Presland alto
Anthony Gregory tenor
Alexander Robin Baker bass

Nicholas Chalmers conductor

George Frederic Handel  Messiah

Neville Holt Opera performs its first concert in Leicester Cathedral, bringing a host of talented young opera stars fresh from the NHO stage. Join us for one of the most enduringly popular and much loved pieces of classical music, Handel's Messiah, in the stunning setting of Leicester Cathedral.

7:30 pm19:30

University of York Chamber Choir

  • Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, University of York

University of York Chamber Choir
Ben Horden organ
Peter Seymour conductor

Benjamin Britten  Rejoice in the Lamb

Edward Bairstow  Blessed city, heavenly Salem

Gerald Finzi  Lo, the full final sacrifice

Lennox Berkeley  A festival anthem

Kenneth Leighton  Crucifixus pro nobis

These five pieces of outstanding English choral music are all distinguished by their image-rich texts. The settings of metaphysical poetry by Finzi, Britten and Leighton, all wonderfully imaginative pieces, were commissioned for St Matthew’s Church, Northampton, Chichester Cathedral and New College, Oxford. Berkeley’s undeservedly neglected A Festival Anthem and the incandescent fervour of Barstow’ Blessed City, heavenly Salem complete the programme.

1:00 pm13:00

Organ recital

  • St Michael's Church, Cornhill

Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy  Organ Sonata in D minor  Op.65, No.4

Robert Schumann  Six Studies in Canonic FormOp.56, No.5

Johannes Brahms  Prelude and Fugue in G minor

Josef Rheinberger  Intermezzo and Passacaglia from Organ Sonata in E minor  Op.132, No.8      

This programme presents a snapshot of the revival of interest in organ music in 18th century Germany by some of the country’s most prominent composers. The movement was pioneered largely by Mendelssohn who, together with Rheinberger, contributed significantly to the organ repertory. Both composers combine a more romantic approach with the contrapuntal complexity of the Baroque German masters.

7:30 pm19:30

University of York Choir: Christmas Oratorio

University of York Choir
Northern Sinfonia
Peter Seymour conductor

Johann Sebastian Bach  Cantatas from Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248

The sequence of cantatas written for performance during the Christmas season presents Bach at his finest and most festive, calling for his largest orchestral forces with many memorable and ornate solo instrumental lines and choruses. Performing three of the six pieces (Cantatas I, III, VI) with the University Choir is an outstanding team of soloists alongside the wonderful Royal Northern Sinfonia. ‘There is no better chamber orchestra in Britain' [Gaurdian]

1:15 pm13:15

Organ recital 'Versaille: Organ music of the Sun King'

  • Royal Holloway, University of London

Jean-Baptiste Lully, trans. Ben Horden  Ouverture from Ballet de la Nuit

Nicolas de Grigny  Tierce en taille

François Couperin  Messe pour les paroisses: Offertoire sur les Grand Jeux from Pièces d’Orgue

Johann Sebastian Bach  An Wasserflüssen Babylon BWV 653

Johann Sebastian Bach  Pièce d’Orgue BWV 572

This programme combines music from some of the most celebrated composers of Louis XIV’s France with that of Johann Sebastian Bach and encourages comparisons to be drawn between the two. It puts under the spotlight the influences between the music of the French Baroque and J S Bach, as well as the contrasting use of the organ and it’s place in Roman Catholic and Protestant liturgies. The programme opens with a secular French overture: a form that heavily characterised the music of the Baroque, in France and beyond, of which Lully was a leading light.

7:30 pm19:30

Musici: Songs of Farewell

  • St Paul's Church, Covent Garden, London

Ben Horden conductor

William Harris  Faire is the heaven

Charles V Stanford  The Bluebird

Herbert Howells  Take him, earth, for cherishing

Ralph Vaughan Williams  Rest

Gustav Holst  Nunc dimittis

William Harris  Bring us, O Lord God

C Hubert H Parry  Songs of Farewell

1:10 pm13:10

Organ recital

  • St Mary-at-Hill Church, London

John Stanley  Voluntary in D minor

Johann Sebastian Bach  Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV 659

Johann Sebastian Bach  Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV 660

Dietrich Buxtehude  Praeludium in G minor, BuxWV 149

François Couperin  Elevation (Tierce en Taille) from Messe pour les couvents

Nicolaus Bruhns  Praeludium in E minor

This programme presents a snapshot across Western Europe in the later seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries and includes compositions from what might be considered the finest composers for the organ in each country or region.

6:00 pm18:00

York Early Music Festival: Organ Recital "Vive la France!"

  • Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, University of York

François Couperin  Messe pour les Paroisses: Offertoire sur les Grands Jeux

Louis-Nicolas Clérambault  Suite de deuxième ton 

Louis-Claude Daquin  Noël Grand Jeu et Duo

Louis-Claude Daquin  Noël en dialogue, duo, trio

Louis-Claude Daquin  Noël Suisse Grand Jeu et duo

The organ played a full part in French Catholic liturgy, offering ‘responses’ at key points in the Mass. Although usually improvised, professional organist composers created collections of organ masses. These publications not only served as pedagogical models for improvisation, but were also part of a larger agenda to preserve the gloire of Louis XIV and France for posterity, as well as seeking to establish political and cultural hegemony in Europe. Couperin’s ‘Offertoire sur les Grands jeux’ is the longest piece in the Pièces d’Orgue. Although the approach to the performance of a work for inclusion within the liturgy is rather more reserved, the compositional style bears a resemblance to the secular French overture; the piece comprises three sections: a prelude, chromatic fugue and gigue-like fugue.

Clérambault was principally famous for developing the ‘French cantata’, of which he was the uncontested master. This work won the favour of Louis XIV, whose patronage Clérambault enjoyed. Although a respected organist, his output for the instrument comprises just two suites. Each of the seven movements call for a different sound or ‘colour’ from the instrument: the ‘Plein Jeu’ contrasts bright combinations on two manuals; the ‘Duo’ presents playful, imitative dialogue between two voices; the graceful ‘Trio’ with its three voices introduces a change in mood and colour and the Cromorne, a characteristic reed stop, is displayed in the lower tessitura; ‘Flûtes’ contrasts the characteristic flute stops of the instrument; the recitative introduces the Nazard, a flue stop sounding a twelfth above the fundamental unison sound to which it is invariably added, producing another timbre characteristic of the organ and the ‘Grands Jeux’ calls for the chorus of reed stops to which we were introduced at the start of the programme.

Departing from the approach of his contemporaries, Daquin was less concerned with structure or form, modulation or genuine counterpoint, but aimed rather more towards pictorial immediacy and keyboard virtuosity. His ability to fragment a melody, developing it into dazzling passagework, was unsurpassed and perfectly suited to the Noël form. During the seventeenth century, organists used vernacular Christmas verses on which to base extended improvisations at Mass on Christmas Eve, filling whatever time was available before midnight. The Noëls employ a cumulative variation technique whereby the figuration becomes increasingly decorated as the piece progresses. The variations also provide further opportunity to showcase the instrument, effectively evoking the sonority of the French Classical organ.