Classical music always helps to uplift us. Here’s our roundup of the best from Oxfordshire’s erudite classical musical companies
Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra Coming up on 29th January is a largely Russian programme featuring Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings in C major, Op.48, Glazunov’s Alto Saxophone Concerto in E flat major, Op.109 and the world premiere of Libby Croad’s Suite for Strings, with guest conductor Yuri Zhislin. Then on 15th February there’s a treat for Mozart fans when Marios Papadopoulos conducts the Violin Concerto No.3 in G major (with soloist Charlotte Scott) and the Symphony No.29 in A major. Both concerts are free. www.oxfordphil.com
Witney Music Society has announced a change of programme for its next concert on 12th February. This concert will now be online and will feature violinist Eleanor Corr (see main pic), winner of the 2020 Royal Overseas League Music competition and a current PDGYA Young Artist, and prize-winning pianist Emil Duncumb. The pair will play Grieg’s Violin Sonata No.2 in G major, Mozart’s Violin Sonata in E minor, Lera Auerbach’s Prelude 15 and Ravel’s Tzigane. Tickets are only available to members of the WMS, but you can join for just £5. For full details of the concert and booking information are on the website. www.witneymusicsociety.org.uk
Music at Oxford has put together a fabulous New Year Uplifting Playlist on Spotify. This collection of 17 joyful, feel-good tracks should help to put a spring in your step. Highlights include saxophone sensation Jess Gillam performing Meredith Monk’s Early Morning Melody and Michael Nyman’s Where the Bee Dances, The Sixteen performing Bach’s Magnificat anima from the Magnificat in D major, baroque ensemble La Serenissima playing the Allegro from Sinfonia in C major by Vivaldi contemporary Antonio Caldara, Frank Bridge’s The Bee with acclaimed vocal ensemble Tenebrae.
Plus Mendelssohn’s evocative Fingal’s Cave performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, Vivaldi’s magnificent Gloria in Excelsis Deo with the Monteverdi Choir, Mozart’s glorious Exsultate, jubilate, the Rondo from Hummel’s delightful Trumpet Concerto in E flat and, to finish, the final movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 in D minor, ‘Choral’, which includes the wonderful Ode to Joy. www.musicatoxford.com
Instruments of Time and Truth, Oxford’s professional period instrument orchestra, recorded Charpentier’s Missa Assumpta Est Maria at the SJE last October, and this glorious work is now available to watch on YouTube. The piece is believed to have been given its first performance on 15th August 1702, on the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, at La Saint Chapelle in Paris, where Charpentier was working as the Maitre de Chapelle. Find out more about the piece in conductor Edward Higginbottom’s three introductory blogs, which you can find on the Instruments of Time and Truth website, along with a link to the YouTube performance. www.timeandtruth.co.uk
The Sixteen’s website has all kinds of digital treats for anyone with lockdown fatigue. Listen to a virtual performance of John Sheppard’s Libera Nos, which was recorded by the ensemble during last year’s lockdown. Or watch conductor Harry Christophers revisit some of his favourite pieces from 20 years of The Choral Pilgrimage, get some singing tips from Associate Conductor Eamonn Dougan, listen to some of the musicians’ favourite pieces in the Lunchtime Soundbite series, watch their video diaries of life during lockdown, listen to the playlists curated by the musicians and staff, and even get some cooking inspiration from the musicians in the Recipes for Isolation series.
You can also catch up with last year’s podcast series, Choral Chihuahua, in which Harry Christophers and Eamonn Dougan teamed up with I Fagiolini’s Robert Hollingworth to chat about favourite composers, choral works and performers, performance techniques, aspects of touring and recording, and much more. Baritone Roderick Williams and soprano Carolyn Sampson are among the performers to feature in the series.
Finally, last year’s Choral Odyssey concert series is available online until 31st March. This includes the concert at Magdalen College on 18th November, which featured works by Renaissance composers John Sheppard and Richard Davy. These are ticketed events; tickets can be purchased for a single concert or you can buy a season ticket for the whole series. https://thesixteen.com