'I am delighted to welcome some marvellous artists into our Church once again, and to share this beautiful space with new audiences in the lead up to Christmas. Our Winter Festival goes from strength to strength, and we are looking forward to an unforgettable – and immensely varied – week of music. '
Robin Griffith-Jones, Master of the Temple
14 December, 7.30pm: London Community Gospel Choir
We launch this festival in style with a dazzling array of music from Britain’s first and pioneering gospel choir formed in 1982. Sometimes seen in Wembley Stadium (FA Cup Final), The Royal Albert Hall and at Glastonbury, the members of this adaptable choir are equally at home performing with Madonna as they are for their local congregations.
Stile Antico’s programme is a delightful mix of the formal and the informal, of sophisticated polyphony and folk-like dances. Alongside a glorious, richly-scored Christmas mass by the Flemish composer Clemens non Papa, Stile Antico performs traditional old-German carols and motets, many of them still familiar today.
Following the success of their William Byrd Tour in 2012, The Cardinall’s Musick are committed to performing the complete works of Thomas Tallis around the UK and this concert marks the grand finale of this tour. The programme they present in this festival certainly plays to the groups’ strengths.
Eo Nomine formed in 2013 at the Genesis Sixteen scheme and is part of an exciting new generation of vocal ensembles. Combining evocative pieces from the 16th century and familiar festive carols, Eo Nomine present a programme swathed in the scent of Christmas. Cinnamon, allspice, frankincense, and perfumes from the East join motets rejoicing in the birth of the newborn babe.
In the 150th anniversary year of his birth, this programme features as its main work Nielsen’s imposing Commotio, his last completed work and an imposing tour de force for the organ. Alongside it are seasonal works by another Danish composer, Dietrich Buxtehude and his pupil, Nikolaus Bruhns, as well as music by Johan Roman (the “Swedish Handel”) and awe inspiring Estonian Arvo Pärt as he celebrates his 80th birthday year.
Continuing the Nordic theme Temple Church Choir and Temple Brass present an eclectic mix of music by Nordic composers, combined with works from the British Isles, France, Germany and the USA. Einojuhani Rautavaara is perhaps the most prolific Finnish composer after Sibelius and his combination of melodic line and austere harmony give his music a great, mystical quality.
We are thrilled that the London Community Gospel Choir open our festival this year with a programme of festive favourites. Their infectious joie de vivre guarantees to have you up on your feet and singing along! We then welcome Stile Antico with a programme of Flemish and German Christmas music – a delightful mix of sophisticated polyphony and folk-like dances including some traditional old-German carols. The Cardinall’s Musick join us with a festive programme of works by Thomas Tallis. We then have two lunchtime concerts – first from Eo Nomine, an up and coming group who have been championed by the recently retired Hilliard Ensemble. They will perform a programme swathed in the scent of Christmas combining 16th century masterpieces with familiar festive carols. The associate organist of the church, Greg Morris will give us a captivating programme of Nordic music, culminating in a performance of Nielsen’s impressive Commotio, the composer’s last completed work.
Finally, to round the week off, we have Temple Church Choir again delighting us with a wonderful programme of Nordic music. A combination of more and less known works taking us on a rural adventure of Nordic soundscapes.
Do join us for this third Temple Winter Festival, which as always promises to be an unforgettable week of festive music to get us into the Christmas spirit.