Bach Christmas in Horsham concert

Christ’s Hospital Choral SocietyChrist’s Hospital Choral Society
Christ’s Hospital Choral Society
Christ’s Hospital Choral Society presents a Christmas concert featuring four pieces of the Christmas oratorio by Bach (Saturday, December 17). There will also be solo performances, a number of traditional carols – and carols for the audience to join in with.

Spokeswoman Esther Clark said: “The history of carol singing goes back a long way. The oldest carol we know, Angel’s Hymn, is from 129AD. Over the years more and more Christian-themed songs were taking over pagan songs that would be sung at the winter solstice. People would dance in a circle, linking hands and sing. Christmas songs in regional languages (many early ones were in Latin) evolved from the 12th century onwards under the influence of St Francis of Assisi. 15th century songs are amongst the best preserved English mediaeval music. Think for instance of The Boar’s Head Carol, O Come All Ye Faithful and – on the programme for the concert – The Coventry Carol.

“One prolific composer of music was the 17th century Johann Sebastian Bach, the youngest of eight children, born into a family of successful musicians. He was orphaned aged ten and then brought up by his eldest brother who continued teaching him musical instruments, leading to his extremely successful musical life. He is one of the greatest composers of the Baroque period. In Saxony, now part of Germany, in Bach’s time, December 25, 26, and 27 were considered feast days, meaning festive music would be played in Church. And of course there was the Advent period as well as the days leading up to Epiphany on January 6. Bach’s Weihnachtsoratorium, to give it its original name, has six parts to match the different phases of the Christmas period. The Choral Society will perform four pieces from Part I of the oratorio.Diving back in time there were also May and Harvest Carols, but while these are largely forgotten, the festive, emotional, and heartening quality of the Christmas Carols ensures their continuous popularity.”

Tickets £12.50 or £10 concessions. For further information, visit The Chapel, Christ’s Hospital School, Horsham, RH13 0LJ, 7.30pm, Saturday, December 17.