A Spotless Rose, the University of Sheffield Chamber Choir and its eight-member SATB offshoot, UoS Vocal Consort, both directed by Mark McCombs, perform music for Advent the beginning proceedings with Advent plainsong, Rorate Coeli, following it with music by Gabriel Jackson – I Look from Afar; Vaughan Williams – The Truth from Above; Bairstow – Let All Mortal Flesh; Praetorius – Es ist ein Eos’ Entsrpungen; Howells – A Spotless Rose; Woodall Naylor – Vox Dicentis Clama; before the choir takes over with two items by Fraser Wilson – The Great Advent Antiphons, The Angel Gabriel; separated by more Gabriel Jackson – Tomorrow, Go ye Forth; Biebl – Ave Maria; Rachmaninov – Bogoroditse Dyevo (Russian Ave Maria); Chilcott – The Shepherd’s Carol; Cornelius/ Nicolai – The Three Kings; and John Tavener – God is With Us. St Marie’s Cathedral, Norfolk Row, Thursday (December12), 7pm – £11, £7 concessions, under 16 free.
Gallery Concert, music students from the University of Sheffield give the last of four weekly concerts at Graves Gallery, Surrey Street, Friday, 1pm – free.
Carols at Firth Hall, presented by SingSoc – Sheffield University Singers’ Society – directed by Peter Taylor. Christmas music from around the world, including Europe and Africa sung in its original language on offer, plus more familiar and traditional festive fayre. Firth Hall, Western Bank, Friday, 7.30pm – £6, £4 concessions.
Sheffield Philharmonic Christmas Concert, the Phil Chorus’s annual festive offering, so popular it is now presented twice on the same day, with the famous Black Dyke Band back to share proceedings again and, also welcomed back, the Phil’s patron, noted film and TV actor Samuel West who presents the event for the first time. Among band items is Glinka’s Overture to Ruslan and Ludmila, while choral pieces take in Elizabeth Poston’s Jesus Christ the Apple Tree, Britten’s Hymn to the Virgin and John Rutter arrangements of Quem Pastores and Christmas Night. Joint offerings are Gordon Langford’s Christmas Fantasy, I Saw Three Ships, Winter Wonderland, Calypso Carol and everyone joins in for O Come All ye Faithful, It Came Upon the Midnight Clear, God Rest ye Merry Gentlemen and Hark, the Herald Angels. Darius Battiwalla (chorus), Nicholas Childs (band) are joint conductors and Neil Taylor the organist. City Hall, Saturday, 3pm and 7pm – £15- £20, £5 students, under 16s.
Carols for Everyone, Hallam Choral Society joins forces with pupils from four Sheffield schools, Dobcroft Infant, St Catherine’s, Maricliffe Primary, Ballifield and Judith Wallace’s Sheffield Concert Band to perform pieces from a new collection of seven carols arranged for SATB chorus and children, Carols for Everyone, published by Novello. It was commissioned by the Carnegie UK Trust to mark its centenary and a grant from the organisation, awarded to HCS has been used to purchase 100 copies from which Silent Night, Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer and a commissioned piece, I Pray, from Paul Mealor who made his name as the composer of the Military Wives Choir’s runaway hit Wherever You Are. High Storrs School, Saturday, 4pm – £10, £5 students, under 16s free (admission by ticket only, 0114 236 9642).
Christmas Extravaganza, in the company of the Choirs of St John’s Church, Ranmoor, director Ian Roberts, and Cornerstone Brass Band with, included among eight items from the latter, Prokofiev’s Troika, Bizet’s Farandole, Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride, Deck the Halls, someone’s setting of In Dulci Jubilo, ditto: O Magnum Mysterium. Choral pieces are A Sussex Carol; Britten – Hymn to the Virgin; John Tavener – The Lamb; Michael Head – Little Road to Bethlehem; Boris Ord – Adam ybounden; John Rutter – Dormi Jesu; Malcolm Archer – Brightest and Best; Howells – A Spotless Rose; Berlioz – Shepherd’s Farewell (L’Enfance du Christ); Eric Whitacre – Lux Aurumque; and Gardner – Tomorrow shall be my dancing day; plus three audience carols: Come all ye Faithful, Good King Wenceslas, Hark the Herald. St John’s Church, Saturday, 7pm – £10, including drink.
The Lighter Side of Benjamin Britten, explored by the Endcliffe Orchestra and conductor Martin Lightowler in the composer’s two five-movement Rossini suites, Soirees Musicale and Matinees Musicale, the suite of Courtly Dances from his opera Gloriana and Simple Symphony, before rounding off proceedings with the Italian composer’s Overture to his opera The Thieving Magpie (La Gazza Ladra) and Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man at the penultimate event in Sheffield’s year-long A Boy Was Born festival celebrating the centenary of Britten’s birth. Ecclesall Parish Church, Saturday, 7.30pm – £10, £3 concessions, £4 students, under 12 free.
Sterndale Singers, the choir’s Christmas Concert with twist this year – special guests Albion, a collaborative venture prompted by this website, allied to the fact that the respective music directors, Robert Webb and Fraser Wilson, are each celebrating the 10th anniversary of arriving in Sheffield. Interesting stuff from the Sterndale: an eight-part Magnificat setting by Michael Praetorius (1571-1621) interpolated with carols, Poulenc’s super four Christmas Motets, Britten’s Ceremony of Carols (with harp) and Andrew Carter’s arrangement The Twelve Days of Christmas. Given the British Isles repertoire Albion dedicates itself to, contributions from them will probably include such things as The Coventry Carol and Sussex Carol, and there are also audience participation items. St Oswald’s Church, Abbeydale Road, Saturday, 7.30pm – £8, £6 concessions, £2 students, under 16s free, including mulled wine and mince pies.
What Sweeter Music...? Richard Rodney Bennett piece serves as the title for the Abbeydale Singers’ Christmas Concert, another inviting affair with items elsewhere by Britten – A Boy was Born (translated 16th century German carol); Head – Little Road to Bethlehem; Howells – all Three Christmas Anthems, not just A Spotless Rose; Poulenc – Four Christmas Motets; Bruckner – Virga Jesse; Sweelinck – Hodie Christus Natus est; Scheidt – A Child is Born in Bethlehem (arr Willcocks); Knut Nystedt – Ave Maria; Dennis Todd (?) – Sweet Baby, Sleep, God Rest you Merry, Gentlemen; Will Todd – My Lord Has Come; plus arrangements of Tomorrow Shall Be, The Three Kings, Past Three a Clock and Sweet Chiming Christmas Bells. Kreisler’s Praeludium und Allegro and Bloch’s ‘Nigun’ are offered by National Youth Orchestra violinist Harry Castle, George Parsons the accompanying pianist and organist as required and the conductor is Kevin Haighton. St Mark’s Church, Broomhill, Saturday, 7.30pm – £10, £8 concessions, £6 students, under 16s free, includes free refreshments.
Sheffield University Symphony Orchestra, conductor George Nicholson, end the A Boy Was Born festival with Britten’s largest purely orchestral work in 1940, Sinfonia da Requiem, a three movement piece dedicated to the memory of his parents written to a commission from the Japanese Government to celebrate 2600th anniversary of the founding of the Japanese Empire. Rejected because of its Latin-titled movements and anti-war content it was premiered in New York in 1941, conducted by Sir John Barbirolli, and is preceded here with a new work by Hannah Donkin, Lia’s aria from Debussy’s L’Enfant Prodigue sung by Miriam McCombe, the Fantaisie for flute and orchestra by Georges Hue (1858-1948) with Eleanor Jones the soloist, the concert beginning with Rossini’s William Tell Overture! Firth Hall, Western Bank, Sunday, 7.30pm – £8.50, £6 concessions, £3 under 26, unwaged.
Come and Sing Messiah, annual invitation from the Sheffield Bach Choir and you can’t fail to be spurred on by them if they are in the same vocal form that they were in when they performed Handel’s oratorio on December 2. John Kilpatrick is the conductor here, Simon Lindley resorting to his ‘day job’ as a highly distinguished organist to provide the accompaniment. Dore Parish Church, Monday, 7.30pm – £10.
SpiteWinter Concert, Sheffield Folk Chorale and its director Graham Pratt’s highly popular annual offering of off-the-beaten track winter and seasonal items with special guest this year, Keith Hinchliffe, a respected folk/ early music guitarist based in Sheffield. With its normal home of Sheffield Cathedral undergoing major renovation work, this time round it is on twice at Ecclesall Parish Church, Tuesday, Wednesday (December18), 7.30pm – £8, £7.
Candlelight Carols, Sheffield Chorale’s annual Nine Lessons and Carols with music by John Rutter – What Sweeter Music, Angels’ Carol. Star Carol; Andrew Carter – A Maiden Most Gentle; Tchaikovsky – The Crown of Roses; Walford Davies – his setting of O Little Town of Bethlehem; Richard Barnes – There is no Rose from the pen of the Bakewell Choral Society’s founder who died last year; Elizabeth Poston – Jesus Christ the Apple Tree; John Tavener – The Lamb, plus Venezuelan, Polish and congregational carols. Neil Taylor is the conductor and Ian Roberts the organist. St John’s Church, Ranmoor, Thursday (December 19), 7.30pm – free, retiring collection in aid of Lost Chord dementia charity.
Christmas Carols, traditional and modern from the Sheffield Oratorio Chorus and its conductor Alan Eost with Sheffield Cathedral’s newly appointed (from autumn) assistant director of music Joshua Hales (organ). St Mary’s Parish Church, Ecclesfield, Thursday (December 19), 7.30pm – £10, £8 concessions, £5 students, under 16s.
Also next week – further information shortly:
Carols With Albion, and with a difference. Holy Trinity Church, Millhouses, Friday (December 20), 8pm – £8, £5.
Christmas Brass and Voices, Sheffield Cathedral Choir and Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band. Victoria Hall Methodist Church, Saturday (December 21), 7pm – £12.
Falstaff, Verdi’s final operatic masterpiece in a new production relayed live in HD from the New York Metropolitan Opera sees the return of the company’s music director James Levine to the podium after a long absence with back problems. Internationally noted in title role for which he needs no body padding, Ambrogio Maestri plays him again and finds himself pitted against a vocally redoubtable Alice Ford in Angela Meade, not to mention a volubly formidable Mistress Quickly in Stephanie Blythe. Cineworld Sheffield, Saturday, 5.55pm – £17.90, £14.20.
Carols Galore, invitation to go and sing your favourites, Sheffield Cathedral, Wednesday (December 11), 12.30pm.
Choral Evensong, Canticles – St John Service (Longman); Anthem – Zion Hears the Watchman Calling (Bach) from the boys’ voices of the Choir of St John’s Church, Ranmoor, Wednesday (December 11), 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 – plainsong; Canticles – Gloucester Service (Howells); Anthem – This is the Record of John (Gibbons). Sheffield Cathedral, Thursday (December 12), 5.45pm-6.30pm – free and everyone welcome.
Choral Evensong, Canticles – ‘Tonus Peregrinus’ (Moore); Anthem – How Beautiful Are the Feet (Handel) from the girls’ voices of the Choir of St John’s Church, Ranmoor, Thursday (December 12), 6pm.
NHS Carol Service, Cutlers’ Hall, Thursday (December 12), 7.30pm.
Cathedral Archer Project Carol Service, Sheffield Cathedral. Friday, 12.30pm.
Choral Evensong, according to the 1662 Book of Common Prayer with men’s voices of Sheffield Cathedral Choir on duty for the music: Responses – Moore; Canticles – The Third Service (Byrd); Anthem – De Coelo Veniet (Handl). Sheffield Cathedral, Friday, 5.45pm-6.30pm – free and everyone welcome.
Choral Evensong, Canticles – Fifth Service (Tomkins); Anthem – I Look from Afar (Piccolo) 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 – plainsong; Canticles – plainsong; Anthem – Ave Maria Dulcissima (Lauridsen). Sheffield Cathedral, Sunday, 6.30pm-7.30pm – free and everyone welcome.