This flagship concert by the orchestra is a seasonal favourite! We present Manfredini’s beautiful Pastorale per il Santissimo Natale – a lesser-known work in the vein of the more famous concerto by Corelli. More Baroque fireworks are featured in Vivaldi’s Laudate pueri RV601, which can be likened to a concerto for voice. Operatic in nature, its dramatic intensity is increased by some vivid examples of word-painting, underlying the thoughtfulness with which Vivaldi portrayed his strong faith.
In Dies natalis, the Christmas cantata by English 20th century composer Gerald Finzi, the composer sets texts by the 17th century poet Thomas Traherne, which reflect the joy and wonder of a newborn child’s innocent perspective on the world. The richly textured, resourceful string writing and the long instrumental melodic lines have a broad sweep which carries the music naturally forwards in a unity of spirit with the poetry – a hallmark of Finzi’s art. The concert is interspersed with string versions of Hodie Christus natus est (English Today Christ is born) an Antiphon to the Magnificat, sung on the vespers on Christmas Day. All this, plus two carols sung with audience participation!