On Holy Night

Saturday, 10 December 2022
7.30pm - 9.20pm
St David's Church, Queen's Terrace, Exeter, EX4 4HR

Choral concert of Christmas music

This year’s Christmas programme combines joyous seasonal baroque music with carols that the audience will be invited to sing. The main feature of the first half of the concert is Charpentier’s Messe de Minuit pour Noël.

Marc-Antoine Charpentier held the important post of Maître de Musique at the great Jesuit church of St-Louis in Paris. Dating from around 1690, the Messe de Minuit is an inspired and masterful blend of melodies drawn from traditional French carols and new music composed by Charpentier. It was once a custom in France for carols to be an integral part of the celebration of Midnight Mass, despite their secular origins. This Mass is made up of eleven noëls, most of which are dance-like in character, reflecting the traditional folk-song nature of the carols.

We will then be joined by the audience as we sing some popular Christmas music together.

The work in the second half of the concert is Christmas Story by Heinrich Schütz. A musical setting of the Nativity in German, it was intended to be performed during a service in place of a Gospel reading. It was probably first performed at a Christmas service in 1660 at the court of the Elector of Saxony, Dresden, where Schütz was the Kapellmeister. A solo tenor voice narrates the story in the role of Evangelist. Other well-known and traditional characters of the Nativity story are also featured: hosts of angels, shepherds, the three wise men, priests and scribes, King Herod and an angel who appears to Joseph. All these roles will be sung by members of EFC Voices. The soloists are accompanied by a six-part choir with the score revealing some unexpected dramatic musical turns to emphasise particular events in this seasonal story.

Doors open at 7pm. Total running time 1hr 30min plus 20-minute interval, during which refreshments will be available.

“Under the inspiring musical direction of Andrea Brown, the choir, orchestra and soloists treated the audience to a most uplifting evening of music; ending with a magnificent finale full of glory and splendour.”