Bach Choir to celebrate Britten

The East Sussex Bach Choir are hosting a weekend of music in Lewes to celebrate Britten’s 100th anniversary (November 22-24). Director John Hancorn said: “I have always felt a close connection to the music of Benjamin Britten.

“Although I never met him, I was closely involved with the musical life in Aldeburgh for many years, and it was a very important musical period of my professional life.

“I met Britten’s life-long companion, the tenor Peter Pears, in 1977, and performed with him in the Bach St John Passion, and the Schütz Passion. I also spent many happy summers at the Britten Pears school. It is impossible to be there without being imbued with the all-pervading spirit of Britten, the man, and the composer.

“Later in my singing career I sang principal roles in many Britten operas, and his Songs and Proverbs of William Blake at Wigmore Hall in London. It is now a great pleasure to honour the memory of this greatest of British composers, with a weekend dedicated to his music and that of his great love and inspiration, Henry Purcell.”

For the weekend, John has planned and directed a programme of concerts, a talk and recital to be held across three days at St John sub Castro church.

The weekend begins with a free concert, Friday Afternoons, at 5pm performed by children’s school choirs consisting of work by Britten and accompanied by Nancy Cooley.

On Saturday The East Sussex Bach Choir will perform Rejoice in the Lamb and four Choral Dances from Gloriana by Britten, and anthems and excerpts from The Fairy Queen by Henry Purcell with tenor Nick Pritchard and bass Andrew Robinson. The concert begins at 7.30pm and tickets cost £18, £15 and £10.

The event on Sunday, November 24 starts at 3pm with Britten: His Life And Work, a talk by Richard Wigmore.

Richard, a distinguished musicologist, writes regularly for Gramophone, BBC Music Magazine and the Daily Telegraph, and is a frequent broadcaster on BBC Radio 3.

This will be followed at 4pm with a recital by tenor Paul Austin Kelly and mezzo Pippa Longworth, accompanied by Nancy Cooley and Carol Kelly. The programme includes work by Benjamin Britten, Franz Schubert and Frank Bridge. Also Ellie Blackshaw and Nancy will perform Britten Lachrimae for Viola and Piano. The cost is £10 for the talk and the recital.

Tickets for all events are available from the Lewes Information Centre and can be booked by calling 07759 878562 or from our website www.bachchoir.org.uk.