6 September 2022 – 28 January 2023

  • Powerful concerts that resonate with the work of St Martin’s with vulnerable people, including the music of sanctuary with SANSARA and a concert exploring the life and music of Auschwitz survivor Éva Fahidi with Benjamin Appl
  • Extraordinary events for the Crypt include world premiere performances of immersive, theatrical ‘Secret Byrd’ production and a haunting ‘Death Speaks’ event for Halloween
     
  • Outstanding choral and baroque music from BBC Singers, English Baroque Soloists, Fretwork, The Gesualdo Six, La Serenissima, London Adventist Chorale, Monteverdi Choir, Rodolfus Choir, The Sixteen, Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir and Tenebrae
     
  • Continuing residency for John Eliot Gardiner and Monteverdi Choir and Orchestras
     
  • New series of concerts with St Martin’s Voices reflecting on universal themes with speakers including human rights lawyer Philippe Sands and art historian Neil MacGregor
     
  • HP Futures series brings vibrant array of innovative and fresh artists
     
  • Other soloists include Isabel Faust, Rachel Podger, Matthew Rose and Antoine Tamestit
     
  • Important UK and world premieres including works by Houtaf Khoury, David Lang and Marek Raczyński and Caroline Shaw, plus contemporary music by Judith Bingham, Hildur Guðnadóttir, Cecilia McDowell, James MacMillan, Joby Talbot, Judith Weir and others
     
  • Joy & Devotion, the festival of Polish sacred music, returns with top-class UK choirs
     
  • Christmas at St Martin’s includes Bach’s complete Christmas Oratorio with Monteverdi Choir, Handel’s Messiah with The Sixteen, festive gospel with the London Adventist Chorale and Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir, and world premiere of new carols by Bob Chilcott

St Martin-in-the-Fields continues to invigorate London’s classical music scene with outstanding concerts this autumn, strengthening its place as one of the capital’s leading venues for choral and baroque music, as well as for fresh programming which makes the most of the historic church’s warm acoustic and stunning spaces.

 CONCERTS OF CONSCIENCE REFLECTING ST MARTIN’S WIDER WORK

St Martin’s is famous for its important and progressive work with homeless and vulnerable people, providing a place of opportunity, sanctuary and support for everyone, no matter who. The church’s concerts, commercial and cultural activities are all an important way for St Martin’s to reflect its values and ethos. In addition, they all help, through the income they generate, to support the important work of the church.

It is fitting then that one of the notable events announced today [21 Jun] is a powerful concert of choral and instrumental music on the timely and enduring themes of refuge and displaced peoples. Award-winning vocal collective SANSARA joins forces with the United Strings of Europe and Syrian oud player Basel Saleh for Music of Solidarity and Sanctuary. The programme features music by renowned Icelandic composer Hildur Guðnadóttir and a European premiere by Pulitzer prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw. Herstriking six-movement cantata To the Hands, a response to Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu Nostri, reflects on the ‘suffering of those around the world seeking refuge, and of our role and responsibility in these global crises’, says the composer. The concert is completed with the world premiere of The Journey by Lebanese composer Houtaf Khoury, commissioned by the United Strings of Europe [25 Nov].

Also pertinent to the wider work of the church is a concert with baritone Benjamin Appl, in the first of three appearances by him in the 2022-23 season, a residency in which Appl imaginatively explores themes that are dear to his heart. The opening concert is a poignant musical journey of reconciliation and healing through the extraordinary life of Holocaust survivor and refugee Éva Fahidi, whose happy childhood and dreams of studying music were ended by deportation from Hungary and the horrors of Auschwitz. It’s a 20th-century story of the loss of family and identity; of memory and silence; of survival, and the rediscovery of hope. Èva herself speaks alongside music that was important in her life. The evening includes music by (amongst others) Schubert, Bach, Eisler, Krása, Schumann and Mahler [6 Oct].

Maya Youssef – ‘Queen of the Qanun’ and Songlines Best Newcomer Award in 2018 – explores themes of Finding Home as part of theHP Futures series (a collaboration between St Martin’s and arts agency HarrisonParrott which reflects the shared desire of both organisations to introduce audiences to some of the freshest and most exciting international talent). She performs music from her album of that name alongside her 10-piece ensemble. The qanun (a 78-stringed plucked instrument from the Middle East) is at the heart of Maya’s evocative sound world, which is infused with a sense of loss for her Syrian homeland and inspired by a more universal sense of home. Her intense and emotional music explores the healing qualities of music, building bridges between the Arabic classical tradition, jazz, Western classical and Latin styles [1 Nov].

 St Martin’s Voices, the Church’s own professional vocal ensemble, begins a new series of six hour-long concerts with programmes exploring universal themes of philosophy and discovery, each with a distinguished guest speaker. Songs of Justice features musical responses to injustice by James MacMillanPhilip MooreCecilia McDowallĒrik EšenvaldsJessica Curry and Rhiannon Randle with human rights lawyer Philippe Sands the guest speaker [3 Nov].

EXTRAORDINARY EVENTS FOR THE CRYPT

The Crypt at St Martin’s has long been considered a jewel in London’s café culture and is a much-loved destination for late-night music events. With its stunning vaulted ceilings of exposed brick, and historic tombstones lining the floor it makes an extraordinary setting for intimate and powerful music making.

An evocative event for Halloween, Death Speaks, features haunting and beautiful songs of death – appropriate for the historic tombstone-clad space – with mezzo soprano Lotte Betts-Dean and young artists from City Music Foundation. The programme includes Dido’s famous Lament by Purcell, Schubert’s Death and the Maiden and Dowland’s In Darkness Let me Dwell. A particular highlight is the UK premiere of David Lang’s Depart, originally conceived as an installation for the morgue in the Raymond Poincaré Hospital in Garches, France, and performed live by St Martin’s Voices. Lang’s poignant song cycle Death Speaks gives the event its title [31 Oct].

400 years after the death of William Byrd, his Mass for five voices is theatrically staged as it was meant to be heard: by secret worshippers under threat of persecution in Tudor England. For these world premiere performances of Secret Byrd – an event co-commissioned by St Martin-in-the-Fields – Fretwork and The Gesualdo Six create a candlelit community with the audience, breaking bread and celebrating Byrd’s ravishing masterpiece. Conceived by Bill Barclay and Concert Theatre Works, Secret Byrd will later tour to some of England’s most historic recusant houses, known strongholds of Roman Catholic families in Protestant England [27 & 28 Jan 2023].

CHORAL MUSIC IN STUNNING SETTING

Playing to the strengths of St Martin’s warm and spacious acoustic, choral music forms the backbone of the season.

The Sixteen and Harry Christophers begin St Martin’s autumn season with a performance from their Choral Pilgrimage 2022: An Old Belief, a powerful programme of English choral music centered on Hubert Parry’s emotional Songs of Farewell [6 Sep]. The Sixteen returns with Handel’s Messiah as part of Christmas at St Martin’s [6 Dec].

At the heart of Christmas at St Martin’s is John Eliot Gardiner and the Monteverdi Choir, who return to their new London home for a performance of J.S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio across two concerts [13 & 15 Dec].

Also for Christmas at St Martin’s St Martin’s Voices give an hour-long choral reflection on the Christmas story from the perspective of Mary. The programme includes the world premiere of Mary, Mother, a new carol sequence by Bob Chilcott with poetry by Georgia Way as well as music by Bruckner, Britten and Rutter [18 Dec]. St Martin’s Voices is joined by Academy of St Martin in the Fields for Christmas at the Academy, including Finzi In terra pax and Vaughan Williams Fantasia on Christmas Carols [22 Dec]. Also featuring in the seasonal programme are Gospel concerts with the London Adventist Chorale [2 Dec] and Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir [19 Dec].

Tenebrae, the award-winning choir conducted by Nigel Short, returns for two major concerts. The first features the powerful and evocative work by Joby Talbot, Path of Miracles (2005), the first major work commissioned by Tenebrae [20 Oct]. The acclaimed ensemble returns to give Rachmaninov’s Vespers in a special candlelit concert, bringing its enormous precision and skill to a work regarded as among the most challenging to perform in the a capella repertory [20 Jan].

Virtuoso choirs PolyphonyThe Gesualdo Six and Rodolfus Choir bring eight centuries of exquisitely beautiful Polish sacred music to life with the second edition of Joy & Devotion. The UK’s annual Festival of Polish Sacred Music, presented by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, follows its acclaimed launch last year with a programme of three concerts including the world premiere of a new setting of the Latin Mass by Marek Raczyński,  a rising star of Poland’s choral music scene, and 20 UK premieres, among them two motets to Mary, Mother of God, by the late Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, known to millions worldwide for his Symphony of Sorrowful Songs, and Festival Artistic Director Paweł Łukaszewski’s glorious Missa Sancti Papӕ Ioannis Pauli Secundi Magni, a centenary tribute to Saint John Paul II [8-11 Nov].

BBC Singers with Conductor Lionel Sow also return for a performance of the much-loved Duruflé Requiem [4 Nov], while Academy of St Martin in the Fields join St Martin’s Voices for Mozart’s Requiem [19 Nov].

Andrew Earis and St Martin’s Voices also being their new series of hour-long concerts on universal themes of philosophy and discovery with Serenade to Music, for which they’re joined by London Mozart Players. Exploring the ethereal harmony of the music of the spheres by composers including Ralph Vaughan WilliamsCheryl Frances-HoadOla Gjeilo and Caroline Shaw, the concert is introduced by a short video reflection from art historian Neil MacGregor [13 Oct].

THE BEST BAROQUE AND CLASSICAL MUSIC

La Serenissima celebrates the music of the fascinating English violinist and composer Nicola Matteis the Younger, whose Italian father was a close friend of Henry Purcell but who spent most of his career in Vienna. As well as some of Matteis’ own vibrant ballet music and virtuoso music for violin, the concert includes orchestral music by Purcell, Conti, Telemann, Brescianello and Vivaldi, all of whom were personally known to and probably influenced by Matteis [29 Sep].

In an HP Futures concert, The Teyber Trio – comprising three exceptional young soloists Tim Crawford (violin), Timothy Ridout (viola) and Tim Posner (cello) – perform Bach’s Goldberg Variations in the arrangement by Dmitri Sikovetsky [17 Nov].

 In another coming together of outstanding talent in the continuing HP Futures series, tenor James Way leads The Assembled Company – an ensemble uniting top-level period and modern instrument performers and formed by Way with a vision of revitalising repertoire. Handel’s delightful Nine German Arias feature soprano Rowan Pierce alongside a virtuoso solo violin part played by Rachel Podger. They’re joined by James Way for Italian cantatas by Handel featuring familiar music in a less familiar guise: his Messiah cantatas, containing recognisable versions of favourite music from the great oratorio.

John Eliot Gardiner and English Baroque Soloists are joined by leading soloists Isabelle Faust (violin) and Antoine Tamestit (viola) to present some of the best-known works by Haydn and Mozart. The programme includes Haydn’s Symphony No. 84, Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante and famous ‘Linz Symphony’, No. 36 [13 Jan 2023].

FORWARD-LOOKING, FRESH AND BOLD

St Martin’s aims to present a season not just of impeccable quality, but also one which offers audiences bold and imaginative programming of great range and depth. 

Innovative programmes such as those by Benjamin Appl/Éva Fahidiand SANSARA are part of this.

Contemporary music – including UK and world premieres by Caroline Shaw, Houtaf Khoury, David Lang and Marek Raczyński, and music by Hildur Guðnadóttir, Joby Talbot – is also vital.

London Mozart Players build on this, putting Judith Bingham’s new Clarinet Concerto, commissioned by the ensemble and performed here by Jonathan Leibovitz, at the heart of their first concert this season. The concert also features music by Judith Weir, Holst and Elgar [16 Sep]. The ensemble return later for an evening of Piazzolla with accordion player Samuele Telari, centred on Four Seasons of Buenos Aires [21 Oct].

St Martin’s is also broadening its range of performances by presenting music that reaches beyond the Western classical tradition.

These include the concerts with SANSARA and Maya Youssef. Also bringing together different traditions is French-Sri-Lankan pianist Shani Diluka, who is joined by musicians from the great Hindustani Agra Gharana tradition to fuse Beethoven’s greatest piano sonatas with ragas for the first time in London [18 Oct]. The lunchtime concert series (to be announced in due course) continues to feature a monthly Indian Classical Music Wellbeing concert, programmed in association with Darbar Arts Culture and Heritage Trust.

St Martin’s partnership with arts agency HarrisonParrott for HP Futures reflects the shared desire of both organisations to introduce audiences to some of the freshest and most exciting talent from around the world. As well as the concerts with the outstanding Teyber Trio and Maya Youssef, HP Futures also brings the London recital debut of Queen Elizabeth Prize-winning cellist Victor Julien-Laferrière and pianist Marie-Ange Nguciwith sonatas by Fauré, Britten and Franck [15 Nov].

Chris Denton, Chief Executive of St Martin-in-the-Fields, said:

“With our excellent acoustic, famous architecture and central location, St Martin-in-the-Fields seeks to build upon its emerging reputation as a vibrant cultural hub in the heart of London and one of London’s key destinations for outstanding classical music and arts. We are proud, therefore, to present an extraordinary season of prestigious ensembles, imaginative programming and concerts featuring some of the world’s freshest and boldest young artists, and we look forward to welcoming both regular audiences and those discovering St Martin’s for the first time, to enjoy it.”

AUTUMN LISTINGS:

All concerts begin at 7.30pm unless otherwise stated

6 Sep    The Sixteen: Choral Pilgrimage 2022: An Old Belief
A programme of English choral music centred around Hubert Parry’s Songs of Farewell
The Sixteen/Harry Christophers

16 Sep  London Mozart Players: Best of British
Programme includes Judith Weir’s I Give You the End of a golden String and Judith Bingham’s Clarinet Concerto alongside music by Holst and Elgar
Jonathan Leibovitz (clarinet); London Mozart Players

29 Sep   La Serenissima: An Englishman Abroad
Music by Nicola Matteis the Younger alongside Vivaldi, Purcell and Telemann
La Serenissima/Adrian Chandler

6 Oct     Éva Fahidi & Benjamin Appl: I know for certain that I’ll see you again
Life, Loss and Hope in words and music
Éva Fahidi (narrator); Benjamin Appl (baritone); Daan Boertien (piano); Jennifer Wynton (introduction)

8 Oct    HP Futures: Handel the Cosmopolitan
Handel’s nine German arias in a new English translation by Jeremy Sams plus familiar Handel in unusual guises.
Rachel Podger (violin); James Way (artistic director/tenor); Rowan Pierce (soprano); The Assembled Company

13 Oct    St Martin’s Voices: Serenade to Music (6.30pm)
With a video introduction to the concert by art historian and former Director of the British Museum Neil MacGregor, the concert explores music of the spheres by composers including Ralph Vaughan Williams, Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Ola Gjeilo and Caroline Shaw.
Neil MacGregor (speaker); St Martin’s Voices; London Mozart Players/Andrew Earis

18 Oct    HP Futures: Cosmos – Beethoven & Indian Ragas
Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight’ and ‘Appassionata’ Sonatas combined with ragas of the Hindustani tradition
Shani Diluka (piano); Mehboob Nadeem (sitar); Mitel Purohit (table)

20 Oct    Tenebrae: Path of Miracles
Joby Talbot Path of Miracles
Tenebrae/Nigel Short

21 Oct    London Mozart Players: Tango Night
Piazolla’s colourful Four Seasons of Buenos Aires as well as his Libertango and Oblivion, alongside music by Villoldo, Albéniz and Teresa Carreño
Samuele Telari (accordion); London Mozart Players

 31 Oct   Halloween in the Crypt: Death Speaks (8pm)
An evening of hauntingly beautiful songs of death including works by David Lang, Purcell, Dowland, Schubert and Radiohead.
Lotte Betts-Dean (mezzo-soprano); City Music Foundation artists; St Martin’s Voices/Andrew Earis

1 Nov    Maya Youssef: Finding Home
The ‘queen of qanun’ performs music from her latest album Finding Home in an HP Futures concert
The Finding Home Ensemble; Maya Youssef (qunan)

3 Nov    St Martin’s Voices: Songs of Justice (6.30pm)
Musical responses to injustice by James MacMillan, Philip Moore, Cecilia McDowall, Ērik Ešenvalds, Jessica Curry and Rhiannon Randle, with an introduction from human rights lawyer Philippe Sands.
Philippe Sands (speaker); St Martin’s Voices/Andrew Earis

4 Nov    BBC Singers: Duruflé’s Requiem
Programme to include Duruflé Requiem
David Briggs (organ); BBC Singers/Lionel Sow

8 Nov    Joy and Devotion – Polyphony: Music for a Polish Pope
A programme of UK premieres dedicated to the much-loved John Paul II by their composers.
Rupert Jeffcoat (organ); Polyphony/Stephen Layton

10 Nov   Joy and Devotion – The Gesualdo Six: Polish Music for the Virgin Mary
Devotional music for Mary, Mother of God, including UK premieres of works by Górecki and others. The programme is threaded around the world premiere of a specially commissioned new Mass by Marek Raczyński.
Rupert Jeffcoat (organ); The Gesualdo Six/Owain Park

11 Nov    Joy and Devotion – Rodolfus Choir: Masters of Polish Polyphony
Atmospheric choral and organ music by ancient and modern Polish masters from the 13th century to the present day, including several UK premieres.
Rupert Jeffcoat (organ); Leo Popplewell (cello); Rodolfus Choir/Ralph Allwood

15 Nov    Romantic Cello: London recital debut of Victor Julien-Laferrière
In an HP Futures, Victor Julien-Lafaerrière makes his London recital debut in Fauré Cello Sonata No. 2 in G minor; Britten Cello Sonata Op. 65; Franck Sonata in A major
Victor Julien-Laferrière (cello); Marie-Ange Nguci (piano)

17 Nov    Bach’s Goldberg Variations
J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations arranged for string trio by Dimitri Sikovetsky in an HP Futures concert.
The Teyber Trio: Tim Crawford (violin); Timothy Ridout (viola); Tom Posner (cello)

19 Nov    Mozart Requiem
Mozart Requiem
St Martin’s Voices; Academy of St Martin in the Fields/Andrew Earis

24 Nov     Matthew Rose sings Winterrreise
Schubert’s Winterreise
Matthew Rose (bass); Tom Poster (piano)

25 Nov    SANSARA: Music of Sanctuary and Solidarity
A powerful sequence of choral and instrumental music on the timely and enduring themes of sanctuary, solidarity and displaced peoples. With music by Hildur Guðnadóttir, the programme includes the European premiere of Caroline Shaw’s striking To the Hands andthe world premiere of The Journeyby Lebanese composer Houtaf Khoury, commissioned by United Strings of Europe. 
Basel Saleh (oud); United Strings of Europe; SANSARA/Tom Herring

2 Dec     Christmas at St Martin’s – London Adventist Chorale – A Gospel Christmas
A range of range of well-known spirituals and seasonal songs
London Adventist Chorale/Ken Burton

6 Dec     Christmas at St Martin’s – The Sixteen – Messiah
Handel’s The Messiah
The Sixteen/Harry Christophers

13 Dec    Christmas at St Martin’s – Monteverdi Choir – Bach Christmas Oratorio
Parts 1-3 of J.S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio – Parts 1, 2 and 3
Monteverdi Choir; English Baroque Soloists/John Eliot Gardiner

15 Dec    Christmas at St Martin’s – Monteverdi Choir – Bach Christmas Oratorio
J.S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio – Parts 4, 5 and 6
Monteverdi Choir; English Baroque Soloists/John Eliot Gardiner

18 Dec    Christmas at St Martin’s – St Martin’s Voices: A Spotless Rose (6.30pm)
St Martin’s Voices give an hour-long choral reflection on the Christmas story from the perspective of Mary. The programme includes works by Bruckner, Britten and Rutter, together the world premiere of Mary, Mother, a new carol sequence by Bob Chilcott with poetry by Georgia Way.
St Martin’s Voices/Andrew Earis

19 Dec    Christmas at St Martin’s  – Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir: A Gospel Christmas (6.30pm)
An hour of sublime gospel classics, alongside traditional carols with a soulful twist, including When You Believe, Joyful Joyful, Joy To The World and O Come all ye Faithful.
Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir

22 Dec   Christmas at St Martin’s – Christmas with the Academy
Including Finzi In terra pax and Vaughan Williams Fantasia on Christmas Carols
Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields and St Martin’s Voices/Andrew Earis

13 Jan    Mozart & Haydn from John Eliot Gardiner & English Baroque Soloists
Haydn Symphony No. 84 in E flat major; Mozart Sinfonia Concertante; Mozart Symphony No. 36 ‘Linz’
English Baroque Soloists/John Eliot Gardiner

26 Jan Tenebrae: Rachmaninov Vespers by candlelight
Rachmaninov Vespers
Tenebrae/Nigel Short

27 & 28 Jan  Secret Byrd – in the Crypt: An Immersive Staged Mass On the 400th anniversary of William Byrd
Byrd’s Mass for 5 Voices, composed for secret Catholic worship, is theatrically interspersed with his virtuosic music for strings.
The Gesualdo Six; Fretwork
Created by Bill Barclay and Concert Theatre Works

Full details and booking at smitf.org/concerts