Seaton Choral Society prepares for Christmas Concert

PUBLISHED: 18:30 04 December 2012

Peter Milmer.

Peter Milmer.

Archant

Seaton Choral Society is moving to Seaton Town Hall for this year’s Christmas concert, which promises to be a joyful launch into the festive season .

Peter Milmer, its musical director, has planned a thoroughly Christmassy programme, which will include a sparkling collection of carols, excerpts from Handel’s Messiah, and the short but electrifying Christmas piece In Terra Pax by Gerlald Finzi.

Dr Milmer has persuaded 24 hand-picked instrumentalists to assemble for the event.

In Terra Pax requires this number of players, and some of the greatest choruses and solos from Handel’s Messiah will benefit from the colour and power available from such an array of instruments.

And Messiah, one of the greatest of all choral works, will form the backbone of the programme.

The concert will begin with a group of carols, including some of the best-known of old, such as In the Bleak Midwinter and some more recent but extremely popular ones.

These have been specially arranged with orchestral accompaniment by Peter Milmer – a real luxury for singers and players alike to have a built-in composer and orchestrator at their beck and call !

It was during the 1730s that Handel turned to writing oratorios to English texts on biblical subjects.

Three of them were so popular when performed at the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford that undergraduates were reputed to have sold their furniture to buy tickets!

The trend towards English-language productions continued, and in July 1741 Handel’s librettist, Charles Jennens, sent him a new text: “I hope Handel will lay out his whole Genius & Skill upon it “ (he wrote to a friend) “as the Subject excels every other subject. The subject is ‘Messiah’”.

The words of Messiah are taken from the King James Version of the Bible and The Book of Common Prayer.

Perhaps today’s tendency to jettison both of these in favour of a modern vocabulary gives these seldom-heard passages an even greater power to move us; especially when set with such ardour by a towering musical genius who was also a generous and compassionate human being..

After the interval comes In Terrra Pax by Gerald Finzi.

In a letter to Ralph Vaughan Williams Finzi described how this late composition had been inspired many years previously.

He remembered walking at night on Christmas eve to the church on Chosen Hill, in Gloucestershire, and hearing the midnight bells ringing across the valley. Peter Milmer said: “The wonderful orchestration and setting within the English countryside allows one to imagine the scene occurring in a local Devon Valley.

“It is a composition of great beauty which for me defines the spirit of Christmas.

Finzi’s magical setting of the song of the angels leaves us spellbound; it dies with the words ‘And on earth peace, goodwill towards men.’ The scene is set for us to return to Handel: the wandering sheep, The Trumpet shall Sound and the Hallelujah Chorus.

The society is thrilled to be welcoming soprano Susie Milmer to perform with them for the first time.

She and Peter are celebrating the very recent the arrival of their second child – a happy event which did of course prompt our title for the evening - A Child is Born!

With her will be tenor Leslie Baker (the society’s musical director until he handed over to Peter last year) and baritone David Fouracre - both well-known for their consistently fine singing in a wealth of guises over many years. – a really splendid line-up.

Do not on any account miss it !

It takes place at Seaton Town Hall on Sunday, December 16, at 4pm

Tickets (£10) from Seaton Town Hall, 01297 625699 Under 18s and students free.

0 comments

Other Entertainment Stories

Thu, 17:00

A critically acclaimed new stage adaptation of Federico Fellini’s La Strada will run at Exeter Northcott Theatre in May.

Read more
Wed, 17:00

Seaton Choral Society will present an exciting and unusual concert at Seaton’s Gateway in May.

Read more
Tue, 17:00

Phil Beer and his band return to The Beehive on Saturday, April 29, at 8pm, to deliver a lively cocktail of folk, rock, country and blues.

Read more
Friday, April 21, 2017

World renowned Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO) is returning to Powderham Castle, near Exeter, this summer for a classical music extravaganza with spectacular fireworks.

Read more
Thursday, April 20, 2017

The River Cottage Spring Food Fair, is set to be a hit with adults and children alike.

Read more
Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A visually striking and playful exhibition has opened at Lyme Regis’s Malthouse Gallery and runs until Wednesday, April 26.

Read more
Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A warm-up event has been announced ahead of this year’s Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival (September 13-17).

Read more
Monday, April 17, 2017

Exmouth Museum – which has just re-opened for 2017 – has a new exhibit to inspire visitors, especially children.

Read more
Saturday, April 15, 2017

A fundraising event – for refugees from war-torn countries – is taking place at Topsham’s Matthews Hall on Saturday, April 22, from 4pm to midnight.

Read more
Friday, April 14, 2017

Jazz musician Tony Roberts and his Quintet will be playing at the Tuckers Arms to celebrate Tony’s 80th birthday.

Read more

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 12°C

min temp: 10°C

Most Read Entertainment

Useful Links

Advertise in the Paper
Submit a Story
Subscriptions Order
Competitions
Photo Orders
Family notices
iwitness24
Google Plus
Facebook
Twitter
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the Exmouth Journal e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Local business directory

Exmouth's trusted business finder

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists


Find planning applications