Choir mark their anniversary with a Mendelssohn rarity

SIMON Lindley, no less, takes over as conductor of the Sheffield Bach Choir as the society prepare to celebrate their 60th anniversary season, which starts with Mendelssohn's rarely-heard St Paul.

The nationally distinguished organist and conductor has occasionally directed the choir in the past and St Paul, penned 10 years before Elijah, has fine music in it.

The performance is at Sheffield Cathedral on November 7, where the annual Handel Messiah takes place on December 7 and where Bach's St John Passion gets its tri-annual outing on March 6.

The other two concerts in the Bach Choir's season are both at St Mark's Church, Broomhill

On February 13, it is an all-Bach programme featuring two cantatas, No 30: Freue dich, erlste Schaar (Rejoice thee, redeemed host), and No 147: Herz und Mund (Heart and Mouth), its final chorale being universally known as Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring, plus the C minor concerto for violin and oboe.

On June 16, it's a two-thirds well-known Mozart programme, Vesperae Solennes de Confessore and Exsultate Jubilate, which share proceedings with Christopher Steel's Sinfonia Sacre.

Tickets for all concerts are 15, 11 concessions, 6 students, under-16s free, with a season ticket available at 60, 50 concessions.

With four concerts at Sheffield Cathedral in their 61st season, Sheffield Oratorio Chorus gets under way first on October 10 in operatic realms.

An all-Purcell concert, it includes Dido and Aeneas with Debra Morley as Dido and two singers with a national profile who have been groomed locally, Andrea Ryder-Smith from Dronfield as Belinda and Woodseats-born Cari Searle as the Sorceress.

It is a concert performance, John Dunford is Aeneas and other works heard include Purcell's Evening Hymn and Bell Anthem, or Rejoice in the Lord Alway.

Bach's Christmas Oratorio (Parts 1, 2, 3 and 6) is performed on November 28 and the chorus tackle Beethoven's mighty Missa Solemnis on March 27.

On paper, both have strong quartets of soloists, the Bach three young singers who seem to have notable careers in front of them, while the more established four are in the Beethoven include mezzo-soprano Juliette Pochin, which would seem to a scoop.

The fourth concert in the Oratorio Chorus' season is a Renaissance Evening and Alan Eost conducts all the concerts.

A season ticket is again available at 55, 40 concessions, while individual concert admission is 14, 11 (Purcell), 16, 13 (Bach, Beethoven) and 12, 9 (Renaissance). Student admission is 5.

Tickets for the Oratorio Chorus (which can be booked online at www.oratorio. org.uk) and Bach Choir concerts can be obtained from the Blue Moon Caf, adjacent to the main Cathedral entrance, or Calow Classics, 721 Abbeydale Road.

Main concerts forthcoming from the Sheffield Chorale in the next 12 months start on November 21 at St Mark's, Broomhill with a programme that includes Purcell's Jehovah Quam Multi sunt Hostes, Whitacre's When David Heard, Barber's Agnus Dei (his Adagio) and Jerome Kern songs.

On March 13 they are at St John's, Ranmoor with English music – Howells' Requiem, Parry's Blest Pair of Sirens and Stanford motets – and open the Bradfield Festival on June 19 with Haydn's Nelson Mass.

Tickets at 10, 8 concessions, 6 students, free for under-16s, can be obtained from Anna Brett 0781 606 2905, or by emailing info@sheffieldchorale.co.uk

Hallam Choral Society, meanwhile, celebrate their 40th anniversary at St John's, Ranmoor on November 21 with a performance of Mendelssohn's Elijah.

Advance tickets for this are available from Patricia Cooper on (0114) 233 1688.

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