Minced pies, mulled wine – and music: Magical Christmas festival begins this weekend

Highlights include a concert by Fieri Consort

Treat yourself to a festive evening or two away from the shoppers as the York Early Music Christmas Festival returns to take you on a magical journey into the past.

Music from a Georgian Country House Christmas, a celebration of Celtic Yule and a touch of Elizabethan mischief and mayhem are just a few of the things you can discover.

The festival will showcase yuletide music from different parts of the world and will finish with a stirring Christmas performance of Handel’s Messiah, performed by the Yorkshire Bach Choir.

Many pieces of early music were originally composed to entertain and unite people at this time of year, and they still do today.

Most performances will take place in the intimate surroundings of the National Centre For Early Music in St Margaret’s Church, off Walmgate, with mince pies and mulled wine at most concerts.

Here are a few of the highlights. For our full listings for York Early Music Christmas Festival go here. For all our National Centre for Early Music (NCEM) events visit here.

Tickets are on sale now and full programme details are available at the NCEM website.

Festival highlights

A Yuletyde Eve

Join this award-winning ensemble as they bring to life festive music of the Renaissance on recorders of all shapes and sizes.

Palisander

Sun, December 8 @ 12.30 pm - 1.30 pm
National Centre for Early Music
St Margaret's Church Walmgate
York, YO1 9TL United Kingdom
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A Georgian Country House Christmas

Enjoy Boxwood & Brass as they evoke the sounds of the lavish balls and parties the upper classes would throw at their country estates at Christmas in late 18th century England.

Boxwood & Brass

Mon, December 9 @ 7.30 pm - 9.30 pm
National Centre for Early Music
St Margaret's Church Walmgate
York, YO1 9TL United Kingdom
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The Shepherds of Bethlehem

Journey back to Christmas Eve in Rome in the year 1629 with Fieri Consort as they perform Giovanni Girolamo Kapsperger’s The Shepherds of Bethlehem.

Fieri Consort

Wed, December 11 @ 6.30 pm - 8.30 pm
National Centre for Early Music
St Margaret's Church Walmgate
York, YO1 9TL United Kingdom
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Burying The Dead

Take a look inside the head of composer Henry Purcell in his final illness as he suffers from feverish dream-like hallucinations in this brand new theatre show.

Ceruleo

Thu, December 12 @ 7.30 pm - 9.30 pm
National Centre for Early Music
St Margaret's Church Walmgate
York, YO1 9TL United Kingdom
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Christmas Frolics

Transport back to the time of Hardy and Dickens with The Mellstock Band as they perform songs, stories and poems from Wessex in period costume.

The Mellstock Band

Sat, December 14 @ 1.00 pm - 2.00 pm
National Centre for Early Music
St Margaret's Church Walmgate
York, YO1 9TL United Kingdom
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Handel Messiah

The Yorkshire Bach Choir are joined by Yorkshire Baroque Soloists as they perform this much-loved music that’s ‘essential listening’ for the festive season.

Yorkshire Bach Choir

Sat, December 14 @ 7.00 pm - 10.00 pm
The Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall
University of York
York, YO10 5DD GB
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