THE 2020 York Early Music Christmas Festival will be not one, but two festivals, one at the National Centre for Early Music, the other online.
Festive concerts will be performed with Covid-secure safety measures in place in the mediaeval St Margaret’s Church, Walmgate, York, from December 4 to 12, complemented by a new online weekend festival to be enjoyed from the comfort of home.
After the success of the streamed York Early Music Festival, held remotely from July 9 to 11, the NCEM will present York Christmas At Home from December 11 to 13, with the Yuletide music concerts available on demand throughout the Christmas period until January 6 2021.
York Early Music Christmas Festival’s live concerts will be staged with socially distanced cabaret-style seating and the option to pre-order drinks, including a warming mulled wine. Tickets cost £20.
The line-up comprises:
Palisander, Mischief & Merriment, December 4, 4.30pm and 7pm;
The Marian Consort, The Great Mystery, December 5, 4.30pm and 7pm;
Illyria Consort, How Brightly Shines The Morning Star, December 7, 4.30m and 7pm;
Joglaresa, Bring Us Good Ale, December 8, 4.30pm and 7pm;
The York Waits, The Waits’ Wassail, Music for Advent & Christmas, December 9, 4.30pm and 7pm;
Bethany Seymour, soprano, Helen Charlston, mezzo-soprano, Frederick Long, baritone, and Peter Seymour, harpsichord, Bacchus Is A Pow’r Divine, December 12, 4.30pm and 7pm.
In addition, the 7pm concerts by Joglaresa on December 8 and The York Waits the next night will be live-streamed, with tickets available at £10.
The York Christmas At Home programme will feature many of the NCEM’s favourite artists, who have “worked tirelessly to deliver a joyful selection of music, guaranteed to lift the spirits”.
The concerts will include works by Bach, Mozart, Handel, Vivaldi, Purcell, Monteverdi, Dowland and many others, with harpsichords, recorders, lutes, trumpets, oboes, theorbos and glorious voices, plus verse by John Donne, George Herbert and others.
A York Christmas At Home festival pass costs £50, covering all nine concerts, while individual concerts cost £10.
Artists taking part are:
The Marian Consort in a programme of vocal music from Renaissance Italy;
The Chiaroscuro Quartet, performing Mozart’s late Prussian Quartets;
Palisander with their Mischief And Merriment programme;
Illyria Consort, performing seasonal music for the Nativity from across Europe;
Singers Bethany Seymour, Helen Charlston and Frederick Long exploring the theatrical genius of Purcell and John Blow with harpsichordist Peter Seymour;
Theorboist Matthew Wadsworth and cellist Kate Bennett Wadsworth, sharing an extravaganza of Venetian music;
Spiritato!, presenting The Leipzig Legacy with music by Bach and Fasch;
Steven Devine, continuing his 2020 project to share Bach’s Preludes & Fugues: Book 3;
Stile Antico, completing the weekend with a return to the Renaissance for their very own Nine Lessons and Carols.
Festival director Dr Delma Tomlin says: “The York Early Music Christmas Festival was created in 1997 to introduce audiences to the extraordinary wealth of music associated with Advent, Christmas and Epiphany, from the Medieval to the Baroque, intertwined with the sagas, stories and tales of the north.
“This year, I’m delighted to be able to carry on the tradition, welcoming audiences to our beautiful home, St Margaret’s Church. I’m also thrilled to spice things up, introducing our online festival York Christmas At Home, an array of amazing music, which can be enjoyed well beyond Christmas and into Twelfth Night.”
Full programme details for both Yuletide festivals can be found at ncem.co.uk. Tickets are on sale at ncem.co.uk/york-christmas-at-home/