Opening with their Carols by Candlelight and a programme aimed at the whole family (8 Dec), the City of London Choir and Royal Philharmonic Brass
perform seasonal music by Vaughan
Williams, John Rutter and others. The ever-popular Rutter, with his gift for heart-felt melody and harmony, is on the programme again when the Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford perform its seasonal programme (10 Dec).
As the festival unfolds with nightly concerts, listen out for more carols by candlelight from Ex Cathedra (13 Dec) and classical music's 'boy band' The Gesualdo Six in Christmas music from across the centuries, for six male voices in close harmony (14 Dec).
The Gesualdo Six sing on 14 December. Photo: Ash Mill
Two great family events dominate the second weekend of the festival. The National Youth Music Theatre Chorus, Orchestra and guest artists who were former members present an evening of Christmas-themed music for voices (15 Dec) and children will enjoy the semi-staged production of a 20th-century classic, Amahl and the Night Visitors. Bampton Opera tells the miraculous story of a sick child visited by mysterious strangers and shepherds, in echoes of the Nativity (16 Dec, 3PM).
Another full week of nightly Christmas music concludes with two masterworks of celebratory music, each featuring the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and four soloists: soprano Katherine Watson, mezzo-soprano Helen Charlston, tenor Gwilym Bowen and bass Matthew Brook. First comes Bach's Christmas Oratorio (22 Dec), sung by the Choir of Trinity College Cambridge.
Finally, Handel's Messiah brings the festival to a triumphant close (23 Dec). Stephen Layton conducts both of these choral greats. Catch both this and the previous evening's Bach for the full Christmas effect...
|What||Christmas Festival, St John's Smith Square|
|Where||St John's Smith Square, 30 Smith Square, London , SW1P 3HF | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Westminster (underground)|
08 Dec 18 – 23 Dec 18, 15 performances, times vary
|Website||Click here for more information and booking|