Saturday date for Hallam’s concert

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Hallam Choral Society stages its rescheduled concert of Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu Nostri and Bach’s Cantata BWV147 at St Oswald’s Church this Saturday, April 20 – not April 23 as has been circulating.

Originally planned for March 23 at St Mark’s Church, heavy snowfall caused its postponement.

Unfortunately, the new date clashes with Baslow Choir’s annual spring trip ‘up the road’ to Ecclesall Parish Church, this year with Mozart’s Requiem and Flute Concerto K313, plus Part One of Haydn’s Creation.

Apart from young soprano Rachel Abbott, mainly active in the Chesterfield area, the soloists are well known locally: contralto Amanda Cowen, tenor Jeremy Dawson and, fresh from The Mikado at Grenoside last week, baritone Stephen Godward.

Chesterfield-based Katy Strudwick is the soloist in the flute concerto.

If you want something completely off the beaten track this Saturday, how about Arab Christian Chants?

Some of the oldest religious music in the world, the chants – both simple and complex – bridge the predominantly Islamic world of the Middle East with the origins of Christianity in the region.

Two authorities in the field, Coptic-Egyptian/ German singer and composer Merit Ariane Stephanos will be voicing them and Maronite priest Father Shafiq Abouzayd making the introductions at St Marie’s Cathedral.

Early and Oriental string music specialist, multi-instrumentalist Jon Banks (Dufay Collective, Burning Bush, Sirinu) provides the accompaniment.

Two attractive concerts over the next two days from accomplished Sheffield University forces at Firth Hall in the A Boy Was Born festival both feature music by Britten and his contemporaries.

On Sunday the Wind Orchestra offer three Britten items, the Courtly Dances from his 1953 Coronation opera Gloriana, the Shostakovich-inspired Russian Funeral (a march) from 1936 and the unused overture to his first opera in 1941, Paul Bunyan.

Non-Britten pieces, all original wind orchestra works, are by Bridge, Tippett, Peter Racine Fricker and the little known, but successful Welsh composer Christopher Painter (born 1962), The Broken Sea.

Tippett is heard in the second concert, too, on Tuesday from the Chamber Choir: Five Negro Spirituals from A Child of Our Time; plus, by Britten, the concentrated beauties of his Missa Brevis from 1959.

Two Psalms from the perplexingly ignored Requiem by Howells, his frequently heard Take Him Earth for Cherishing and works by Walton, Ireland and Finzi make up the concert.