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York Early Music Christmas Festival 2019

Sat Dec 7 @ 6.30 pm - Sat Dec 14 @ 10.00 pm

York Early Music Christmas Festival 2019

The York Early Music Christmas Festival is back for another year! Guests will include Fretwork with soprano Elin Manahan Thomas, The Mellstock Band, Gesualdo Six, the Fieri Consort, Joglaresa and Boxwood & Brass with highlights including Ceruleo’s award-winning show ‘Burying the Dead’ and the Yorkshire Baroque Soloists presenting Handel’s Messiah.

National Centre for Early Music

Solomon’s Knot
Sat Dec 7 @ 6.30 pm – 8.30 pm £23.00 – £25.00
Making their much-anticipated debut at the York Christmas festival, Solomon’s Knot embraces the evocative sounds of these two masterpieces as angels and shepherds share their joy in anticipation of the arrival of Christ. Some of the most beautiful music ever composed for the festive season.

Solomon’s Knot is one of the most exciting baroque groups on today’s scene. Performing without a conductor and from memory, they describe themselves as ‘a group of singers and players who are prepared to take risks in order to communicate more directly with their audiences’.

Who better to open the 2019 festivities than these communicative storytellers, renowned for their expressive interpretations?

Sun Dec 8 @ 12.30 pm – 1.30 pm
£12.00 – £14.00
The way we celebrate Christmas has changed immeasurably over the last 500 years, but seasonal music remains a constant. Join this award-winning ensemble as they return to the NCEM after their acclaimed presentation in March, bringing to life festive music of the Renaissance, on recorders of all shapes and sizes. The concert includes works by Praetorius and Tye, as well as some more familiar carols.

The Gesualdo Six
Sun Dec 8 @ 6.30 pm – 8.30 pm
Advent is a time of mystery, reflection and wonder. Videte Miraculum takes you on a magical musical journey through the ages and across borders, weaving well-known Christmas carols, such as ‘Es ist ein Ros entsprungen’ by Praetorius, seamlessly into highlights from the 21st century, including Owain Park’s luscious ‘On the Infancy of our Saviour’.

The Gesualdo Six adds an international flavour to your Christmas celebrations, showing the true, universal nature of this very special time of year.

Boxwood & Brass
Mon Dec 9 @ 7.30 pm – 9.30 pm
Christmas in late-18th century England was a time for the upper classes to give lavish balls and parties at their country estates. Period wind ensemble Boxwood & Brass presents a taste of the elegant and diverting music that accompanied the festivities.

Tue Dec 10 @ 7.30 pm – 9.30 pm
Celebrate Yule effervescently with Joglaresa – and chase out the chill from the Celtic fringes of Europe – with traditional carols and wassails from Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales. Enduringly popular with NCEM audiences, Joglaresa rings in Christmas and New Year with carols, lullabies, dance tunes and wassails.

Fieri Consort
Wed Dec 11 @ 6.30 pm – 8.30 pm
Take a trip to Rome on Christmas Eve in the year 1629, where a performance of Kapsperger’s oratorio The Shepherds of Bethlehem is taking place in the lavishly decorated Vatican palace.

With a libretto by the future Pope Clement IX, this Christmas Play tells the story of the nativity through solos, duets, trios and full choruses, interspersed with instrumental and vocal pieces by Kapsperger and his contemporaries.

Thu Dec 12 @ 7.30 pm – 9.30 pm
Burying the Dead is a new theatre show for the 21st century which takes the audience on a fictional journey inside the head of composer Henry Purcell.

Purcell is in his final illness, suffering from the feverish dream-like hallucinations in which the past, present and fantasy collide, and his songs take on a life of their own, moving from the theatre of his mind to the actual theatre and beyond!

The show deals with various issues from his life, including his experience with the Great Fire of London and the Plague, as well as his relationships with his wife and actresses in the theatre.

Fri Dec 13 @ 6.30 pm – 8.30 pm
The Elizabethans enjoyed Christmas much as we do today, both as a religious event – a time of rejoicing and reflection – and as a time of drunkenness and misbehaviour. Whatever their mood, songs, accompanied by viols, were very popular and this beautiful programme interweaves the famous In Nomines of William Byrd around a seasonal mix of music by Holborne, Peerson, Weelkes and Gibbons – a thoroughly engaging blend of jollity and piousness.

The Mellstock Band
Sat Dec 14 @ 1.00 pm – 2.00 pm
An uproarious celebration of dance, drink and general misbehaviour as carried on at Christmas in many villages until about a hundred years ago – along with sobering admonitions from puritans, parsons and angels.

Alongside the revelry are carols dedicated to dancing, bellringing and cider, and the Devil’s own tunes, with parsons and preachers caught in the crossfire.

The stories and poems come from Thomas Hardy and William Barnes. With songs, tunes and tales from Hardy’s Wessex, in period costume and the band’s usual mix of early and modern instruments.

Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall

Yorkshire Bach Choir
Sat Dec 14 @ 7.00 pm – 10.00 pm
Messiah is surely essential listening for the festive season. Here Yorkshire Bach Choir is joined by an outstanding team of solo singers alongside the energy and skill of Yorkshire Baroque Soloists.

Returning to this much-loved music with fresh eyes, we will echo Handel’s London performances from the last decade of his life, including some rarely heard versions. The musical highlight of any Christmas!


Sat Dec 7 @ 6.30 pm
Sat Dec 14 @ 10.00 pm
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Various venues

Various venues
United Kingdom