Handel’s authentic Messiah

Pianist and musical director David Barnard
Pianist and musical director David Barnard

NO fewer than seven choral concerts take place this Saturday, one in Worksop and one in Swinton admittedly but worthy of more than passing notice, especially the latter – Handel’s Messiah with a difference from the Mexborough-based Bel Canto Choir.

The choir’s director David Barnard will be attempting to recreate the authentic aura and sounds of the work’s first London performance, March 23 1743, with continuo accompaniment: cello, harpsichord, chamber organ, plus trumpet as required. Although given complete, there will be no da capo aria repeats, enabling the work to flow more easily dramatically and David (harpsichord and directing) has assembled impressive soloists, some also with Sheffield connections in Deborah Norman (soprano) and Jonathan Gooing (organ).

Nearer to home, Viva Voce contrast Victoria’s Requiem with Poulenc’s Mass in G and a shorter piece by both, plus two of the multitudinous Mediaeval pilgrim songs associated with pilgrimage sites in the general Pyrenees area.

Describing one of them, Viva Voce member Kathy Aston says: “I’m told it was sung at night to keep the pilgrims awake and thinking holy thoughts, rather than getting up to the naughty things that they usually did when away from home!”

Abbeydale Singers offer a 19-item programme from Tudor anthems to Leonard Bernstein, including a number of classics, at an Easter and Springtime fund-raising concert for Abbeyfield House in Fulwood.

Baslow Choir, meanwhile, make their annual spring trip ‘up the road’ to Ecclesall with Handel’s Ode for St Cecilia’s Day and three Vivaldi works: Magnificat, Gloria, Spring (Four Seasons), the violinist in this, Lara James, having an extremely impressive pedigree.

Having played under such noted ‘period’ conductors as Ton Koopman, Philippe Herreweghe, Roy Goodman, in such noted ‘period’ orchestras as the Academy of Ancient Music, the English Concert and Hanover Band, she has recently relocated to live in Baslow.

Full details and venues in Listings.