Clitheroe Concert Society’s Christmas production proved not only unusual, but highly enjoyable with music from the 17th Century introduced and played by two lecturers from the Royal Academy of Music in London.
Nicolette Moonen, who also founded the Bach Players, brought along five different violins, each tuned differently and one even older than the music. Prize-winning baroque organist, Pawel Siwczak, is a soloist in his own right and has been presented amongst many other prizes with the award of the Polish Ministry of Culture.
The audience were immediately involved by singing the carol "Oh Come, Oh Come, Immanuel". This was followed by the first two sonatas from Heinrich Biber’s series of "5 Joyful Mysteries", which describe in music the birth and life of Jesus. These were given the names "The Annunciation" and "The Visitation". Not programme music as such, but Nicolette described how the events seem to be illustrated by the music. With a break from Biber, Buxtehude’s "How lovely shines the morning star", based on Psalm 45 was appropriate. Biber’s third Sonata "The Nativity" completed the first half of the concert, after which the audience continued the mood by enjoying mince pies and a Christmas drink. The second half brought Biber’s fourth and fifth sonatas, separated by Pachelbel’s "Fugues upon Magnificat". The concert finished with the audience singing "Oh Come, All Ye Faithful" and then with the lights dimmed, the playing of the violin solo Passacaglia 16, "The Guardian Angel", also by Biber, was a fitting end to an extraordinary and wonderfully enjoyable evening of Christmas music, expertly played and described.
The society’s next concert will be on February 5th at Clitheroe Royal Grammar School, in York Street, when the Dobrinsky Brown violin and guitar duo play. Anyone requiring more details of this concert and others in 2020 should log onto www.clitheroeconcerts.org.