* Denotes a concert as part of the A Boy as Born festival
*Stewart Campbell/ Alison York, the tenor and director of the A Boy Was Born festival is joined by a one-time Sheffield University music student and accomplished harp player as he completes his journey through Britten’s five Canticles with the last one, The Death of St Narcissus to TS Eliot’s poem, and other late works by the composer with harp, his five Purcell realisations from Harmonia Sacra: A Hymn on Divine Music, Lord! I Have Sinned, Hymn to God the Father, A Divine Hymn and Oh! That Mine Eyes Would Melt, folk song arrangements there were eight), plus the harp Interlude from The Ceremony of Carols. First of four weekly university concerts at Graves Gallery, Surrey Street, Friday, 1pm – free. University of Sheffield Concerts
*Matthew Barley, described as the most adventurous cellist in the world, the globe-trotting, London-born, former High Storrs School pupil returns to the city he grew up in as he nears the end of an extremely adventurous year which has seen him visiting 100 UK destinations, including many unlikely ones, to give concerts or hold workshops marking the centenary of Britten’s birth this year, his travels ending at the composer’s home in Aldeburgh on December 4. In the meantime, he lands in Sheffield on Britten’s birthday to perform the concert he has taken round the country this year. Designed to symbolise the cycle of life, three new works were commissioned for it, from Dai Fujikura: The Spirit of Being (pre-life); Jan Bang: the improvised Noticing Things (after-life) and James MacMillan: And He Rose (resurrection), life and death being represented on more familiar territory, the former: Bach’s Cello Suite No 5; the latter: Britten’s Cello Suite No 3, the latter against a backdrop of moving imagery. Some have heard pieces by Gavin Bryars: Laude Dolce, or John Tavener: Thrinos, so following the latter’s death last week there is the possibility of his work also being heard. Upper Chapel, Norfolk Street, Friday, 7.30pm – £12, £8 concessions, £5 students. University of Sheffield Concerts
Muskoka Wind Quintet, Kathryn Hathaway (flute), Martin Lightowler (oboe), Jane Taylor (clarinet), Dawn Allenby (bassoon) and Tom James (horn) are joined pianist Pat Kendal-Taylor for Mozart’s Quintet for piano and winds K452, while playing unspecified items by Malcolm Arnold – who penned a significant wind quintet, as well as the better known Three Shanties; and CD Ludwig – pass (!) under their own steam at a Sheffield Music Club concert. St Andrew’s Psalter Lane Church, Friday, 7.30pm - £10, £8 concessions, £3 students. www.sheffieldmusicclub.co.uk
St Cecilia’s Day Concert, wide range of music to celebrate the patron saint of music from St John’s Chamber Choir, director Ian Roberts with Joseph Hutchinson (organ) and some prominence for Benjamin Britten on the occasion of his 100th birthday, three movements from the technically difficult A M D G (Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam) to seven Gerald Manley Hopkins poems, the first two Prayer 1, Rosa Mystica and last Heaven-Haven, among other 20th century items by Howells – A Spotless Rose; Stanford – Beati Quorum Via; Paul Manz – E’en so, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come; and William Harris – Bring us O Lord. First, however, Renaissance times are raided for pieces by Peter Philips – Cantantibus Organis; Handl – Pater Noster; Palestrina – Gloria, Sanctus, Agnus Dei II from Missa Brevis; Gesualdo – Ave Sanctisima Maria; and Tallis – Salvator Mundi. St John’s Church, Ranmoor, Friday, 8pm – £6.
Alessandra Pompili, Italian pianist who pursues a fairly distinguished international career focussing on creative programmes, her latest project being presenting Liszt’s Via Crucis with image projections. A daringly original late work in 15 movements, 14 of them represent the Stations of the Cross (14 pictures or sculptures usually found in Catholic churches depicting a scene on Christ’s journey to Calvary and Crucifixion), it was a choral work in its original form that Liszt also penned a solo piano version. Not clear whether the projections will be in use on his occasion, and making up the concert is music by Tcherepnin (take your pick – three generations of them), Martin Torp and Sergio Calligaris (Alessandra’s first teacher). St Marie’s Cathedral, Norfolk Row, Saturday, 7pm – £5, under 16s free.
*Hallam Choral Society, is joined by the Tideswell Singers and Hallam Sinfonia at a concert that includes the Northern premiere of a radio work for Whit Sunday penned by Britten in 1938, The World of the Spirit, which disappeared into oblivion soon after and was resurrected by BBC Radio 3 in 1995. Lasting around 40 minutes, it was described as a ‘radio cantata’ for speakers, four soloists, chorus, organ and orchestra and set to a variety of texts, including by Tennyson, Emily Bronte, Gerald Manley Hopkins, compiled by Richard Ellis Roberts which are spoken or sung here by Julie Higginson, Christopher Wilkinson (speakers), Claire Surman soprano), Michaela Parry (mezzo-soprano), David Watkin-Holmes (tenor) and former Sheffield University music student Jon Openshaw (bass). Gounod’s irrepressible, operatic St Cecilia Mass with the STB soloists makes up the concert at which the conductor is Peter Taylor. Ecclesall Parish Church, Saturday, 7.30pm – £5 to £12, under 16s free.
*Sheffield Bach Choir, from unknown Britten to well-known Britten, unfortunately at the same time as the previous concert, and all the more regrettable because it is his marvellous St Nicolas Cantata on offer here, as well as perhaps the better known Serenade for tenor, horn and strings. Stephen Liley, a regular soloist with the choir (normally an excellent Evangelist in Bach’s Passions) is the tenor soloist in both with Leeds treble Karim Dandas singing the boy Nicolas and Wakefield Cathedral Choir providing the three pickled boys in the former, Jenny Cox being the horn player in the latter. Making up the concert is Holst’s Two Psalms (86 and 148) – “magical early works for choir, organ and strings which deserve far more frequent hearings than they receive,” says conductor Simon Lindley. You could say that about all Holst’s choral music. Jonathan Gooing and Nigel Gyte and the pianists, with the National Festival Orchestra. St Mark’s Church, Broomhill, Saturday, 7.30pm – £15, £12 concessions.
Sheffield University Wind Orchestra, the widely acclaimed SUWO coached and conducted by Anthony Houghton with a typical programme of original music for large wind band, including the Grande Marche: Orient et Occident Op 25 by Saint-Saëns, Huntingtower Ballad by Respighi, Trauersinfonie by Wagner based on themes from Weber’s Euryanthe and The Winds of Power by Nigel Hess. Firth Hall, Western Bank, Sunday, 7.30pm – £8.50, £6 concessions, £3 under 26, unwaged.
Sheffield University Big Band, give the last in the present series of University Rush-Hour Concerts, Firth Hall, Western Bank, Monday, 5.30pm (£2.50).
Ian Brackenbury, organ recital from the director of music at Chesterfield Parish Church taking in Meyerbeer – Coronation March from Le Prophéte; John Stanley – Voluntary VII in E minor; Howells – Rhapsody in D flat Op 17 No 1; Niels Gade – Moderato: No 1 of Tre Tonestykke; Andrew Carter – Aria; Jehan Alain – Le Jardin Suspendu and Litanies. St John’s Church, Ranmoor, Monday, 8pm – free, retiring collection.
Powerplant, here is one for avant-garde anoraks and the adventurous in the Sheffield University Concert Season when noted international percussionist Joby Burgess comes to town with a xylosynth (sort of electronic xylophone) and electronics, a sound designer – Matthew Fairclough, a visual artist – Kathy Hinde, and compositions by Conlon Nancarrow – Piece for Tape (for percussion); Graham Fitkin – Chain of Command; Max de Wardener – Im Dorfe; Steve Reich – My Name Is; and Gabriel Prokofiev (grandson of THE Prokofiev) – Import/ Export – suite for global junk. Firth Hall, Western Bank, Tuesday, 7.30pm – £8.50, £6 concessions, £3 under 26, unwaged. University of Sheffield Concerts
*Sheffield Young Singers/ Sheffield Music Academy, join forces for a singing feast with three contrasting choirs and soloists for a programme that includes Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols with harpist Esther Swift. Firth Hall, Western Bank, Thursday (November 28), 7pm – £5, £3 concessions.
Operatic Double Bill, Sheffield City Opera hope that opposites will attract when they pair the blood and thunder of Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana (sung in English) with the appealingly light-hearted nonsense of Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore in concert performances. Karl Reiff (Turiddu), Mary McCready (Santuzza) and Nigel Rothery (Alfio) take the principal roles in the Mascgani with Gavin Usher directing the instrumental accompaniment of the Larkin Strings, Peter Hurst on piano and Robert Webb on organ, the latter then taking over the baton for the G&S which has the notable presence of Stephen Godward as Sir Joseph Porter and, in the parts he is more often associated with, are Michael Willis (Captain Corcoran) and Nigel Rothery (Dick Deadeye). Lynda Glover (Buttercup), Melanie Mastrototaro (Josephine) and David Brothers (Ralph Rackstraw) are the other principal players. St Oswald’s Church, Abbeydale Road, Saturday, 7.30pm – £10, £8 concessions.
Choral Evensong, according to the 1662 Book of Common Prayer with the men’s voices of Sheffield Cathedral Choir on duty for the music: Responses – Marlow; Canticles – Second Service (Moore); Anthem – The Lord is my Shepherd (Leighton). Sheffield Cathedral, Wednesday (November 20), 5.45pm-6.30pm – free and everyone welcome. Cathedral Choir's Website
Choral Evensong, Canticles – The St John Service (Richard Longman); Anthem – Lead me Lord (SS Wesley) from the boys’ voices of the Choir of St John’s Church, Ranmoor, Wednesday (November 20), 6pm.
Choral Evensong, according to the 1662 Book of Common Prayer with the girls’ and men’s voices of Sheffield Cathedral Choir on duty for the music: Responses – Nicholas; Canticles – Sydney Watson in E; Anthem – Hymn to St Cecilia (Britten). Sheffield Cathedral, Thursday (November 21), 5.45pm-6.30pm – free and everyone welcome.
Choral Evensong, Canticles – Service in G (Sumison); Anthem – O Sing unto the Lord (Rawsthorne) from the girls’ voices of the Choir of St John’s Church, Ranmoor, Thursday (November 21), 6pm.
Choral Evensong, according to the 1662 Book of Common Prayer with the men’s voices of Sheffield Cathedral Choir on duty for the music: Responses – Tomkins; Canticles – Magnificat sexti toni (Victoria, Nunc Dimittis (Tye); Anthem – Seigneur, je vous en prie (Poulenc). Sheffield Cathedral, Friday (November 21), 5.45pm-6.30pm – free and everyone welcome.
Choral Evensong, Canticles – Evening Service in G minor; Anthem – Salvator Mundi (Tallis) from the Chamber Choir of St John’s Church, Ranmoor, Sunday, 6.30pm.
Choral Evensong, according to the 1662 Book of Common Prayer with the men’s voices of Sheffield Cathedral Choir on duty for the music: Responses – Clucas; Canticles – Magnificat octavi toni (Gombert), Nunc Dimittis (plainsong); Anthem Sheffield Cathedral, Tuesday, 5.45pm-6.30pm – free and everyone welcome.
Choral Evensong, according to the 1662 Book of Common Prayer with the girls’ voices of Sheffield Cathedral Choir on duty for the music: Responses – plainsong; Canticles Liverpool Service (Rawsthorne); Anthem – Jesu, joy of man’s desiring (Bach). Sheffield Cathedral, Wednesday (November 27), 5.45pm-6.30pm – free and everyone welcome.
Choral Evensong, Canticles – Evening Service in D (Stanford); Anthem – Prepare Thyself Zion (Bach) from the boys’ voices of the Choir of St John’s Church, Ranmoor, Wednesday (November 27), 6pm.
Choral Evensong, according to the 1662 Book of Common Prayer with the men’s voices of Sheffield Cathedral Choir on duty for the music: Responses – Ives; Canticles – Evening Service in E; Anthem – God that madest earth and heaven (Edwards). Sheffield Cathedral, Thursday (November 28), 5.45pm-6.30pm – free and everyone welcome.
Choral Evensong, Canticles – ‘Second Service (Byrd); Anthem – My Spirit Longs for Thee (Dowland) from the girls’ voices of the Choir of St John’s Church, Ranmoor, Thursday (November 28), 6pm.