Seaton Choral Society prepares for Christmas Concert

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

18:30
The Riverside Players present Aladdin from February 10 to February 13 at Newton Poppleford Village Hall.

So the panto season is over for another year?

Read more
18:30
Colyton Theatre Group.

Two all-female one-act plays, spanning the years between England’s two Queen Elizabeths, will be performed in Colyton later this month.

Read more
18:30

Fans of the oboe are in for a treat with the latest SeatonMusic concert.

Read more
17:05
Exeter City FC crowd scene

Fancy some great League Two football and a special VIP day out for two, worth £100?

Read more
13:54
Seth Lakeman

Organisers say only a few Super Early Bird tickets remain for Sidmouth’s famous week of festivities

Read more
12:38
Exeter City FC crowd scene

Fancy some great League Two football and a special VIP day out for two, worth £100?

Read more
12:30
Ashley Haines and Ronnie Norman of Plantbased at their opening with Roger Bourgein. Ref exe 05-16TI 0243. Picture: Terry Ife

A new – and radically different – café opened earlier this week in Exmouth’s High Street.

Read more
11:27
Ian Rosenblatt is the founder of the Branscombe Festival.

Event returns to village from July 29 - 31

Read more
Yesterday, 18:30
File photo dated 26/5/2014 of Johnny Buckland (left) and Chris Martin of Coldplay whose new  album, A Head Full Of Dreams, was made with the producers behind pop hits including Rihanna's Rude Boy, Katy Perry's Firework and Beyonce's Irreplaceable. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday November 6, 2015. The album has been produced by Norwegian duo Stargate, consisting of Tor Erik Hermansen and Mikkel Storleer Eriksen, alongside the band's long-time collaborator Rik Simpson. See PA story SHOWBIZ Coldplay. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Radio 1’s Big Weekend will be coming to Exeter’s Powderham Castle on Saturday, May 28, and Sunday, May 29.

Read more
Yesterday, 18:30

The Axe Vale Orchestra will present a concert in Seaton Methodist Church, on Sunday, February 14, at 3pm.

Read more

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 5°C

min temp: 2°C

Most Read Entertainment

Great British Life

Great British Life

Place a family notice

Family Notices 24

Find a job in Devon



Local business directory

Devon's trusted business finder

FFind planning applications