The festive season is certainly a busy time for choral societies around the UK and the run up to Christmas is set to be brightened by the first performances of new carols by Richard Rodney Bennett.
Indeed, a number of traditional and less familiar texts for SATB choirs are due to be performed at various locations as Christmas approaches.
For example, in celebration of its tenth anniversary, Coro has announced a concert featuring Bennett’s ‘Remember O Thou Man’, alongside Vaughn Williams‘ ‘Fantasia on Christmas Carols’ and Eric Whitacre’s ‘Leonardo Dreams of his Flying Machine‘.
The London-based chamber choir will perform the work at St John’s, Smith Square, London, on December 11th.
Elsewhere, as the month progresses, there will be an opportunity to catch ‘In the Bleak Midwinter’ on December 15th, as the Choir of Westminster hold its annual carol service. The piece will also be performed by the BBC Singers conducted by Robert Hollingworth at St George’s, Campden Hill, London.
‘The Holly and the Ivy’ and the ‘Shepherd’s Carol’ are another two pieces written by the versatile composer which are set for December premieres.
Both choral works will be performed at St George’s carol service on December 19th, conducted by Lee Dunleavy. And ‘The Holly and the Ivy’ will also be broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s Morning on 3 show in the week before Christmas.
Signed to Chester Music and recognised as one of the country’s most respected and versatile musicians, Bennett has produced a large number of works to critical acclaim.
This includes more than two hundred for the concert hall, 50 scores for film and television, as well as having been a writer and performer of jazz songs for more than half a century.
George Hall, a music critic for the Independent on Sunday, commented: “Bennett comes up with a huge range of striking colours and translucent textures to match words perfectly designed for music. The scoring for unaccompanied choir is hugely imaginative.”
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