Autumn 2023 and Spring 2024 highlights

With new partnerships and a rich and varied programme of events, all performed in the superb acoustic and beautiful surroundings of one of London’s landmark buildings, St Martin-in-the-Fields is becoming recognised by artists and audiences alike as a leading venue for outstanding choral and baroque music. St Martin’s plans for the 2023-4 season again reflect the growing stature of this unique venue where outstanding music-making helps to support the wider work of the church in its important social and community work.

Chris Denton, Chief Executive, commented: “I am immensely proud to announce our vibrant new season of concerts. We are delighted to be welcoming back many distinguished artists and ensembles who are now making St Martin-in-the-Fields an essential part of their performing schedules and of course, Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the wonderful Monteverdi Choir and Orchestras who have made St Martin’s their London home. With such a prestigious series of concerts on offer, the transformation of our music programme and artistic reputation is well underway.”

HIGHLIGHTS AT A GLANCE:

  • Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique perform a full Beethoven Symphony Cycle – plus a rare performance of the mighty Mass in C.

·       The Monteverdi Choir celebrates its 60th anniversary by performing two extraordinary Handel masterpieces with the English Baroque Soloists – L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato and Israel in Egypt – conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner.

·       The English Concert and an outstanding cast present a rare performance of Handel’s Amadigi di Gaula.

·       Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet: performers from Streetwise Opera and The Choir with No Name, whose lives have been impacted by homelessness, join the Gavin Bryars Ensemble to mark the composer’s 80th birthday.

·       Countertenor Hugh Cutting and historical-performance specialists the Dunedin Consort in an evening of Bach masterpieces.

·       Vocal consort The Gesualdo Six are joined by trumpeter Matilda Lloyd in music ranging from Hildegard of Bingen to James MacMillan.

·       I Fagiolini, The Sixteen, Ex Cathedra, Tenebrae and The King’s Singers in a series of festive Christmas concerts.

·       Rising stars, The Consone Quartet (the first BBC New Generation Artist period instrument quartet), perform music of Haydn, Brahms and the London Premiere of a Gavin Bryars work on period instruments.

·       St Martin’s Voices present a series of ‘Choral Discoveries’ concerts – beautiful but lesser-known choral repertoire.

·       Ed Balls presents an evening of music by one of his favourite composers, Herbert Howells – performed by Nicholas Chalmers and the BBC Singers.

·       An unmissable sequence of choral masterpieces for Lent and Holy Week Festival, including Duruflé’s Requiem (The Sixteen), Joby Talbot’s The Path of Miracles (Tenebrae), Handel’s Israel in Egypt (Monteverdi Choir) and Bach’s St John Passion (Dunedin Consort).

·       Season opens with the return by popular demand of the acclaimed immersive event ‘Secret Byrd’ in the crypt, featuring The Gesualdo Six and Fretwork and created by Bill Barclay.

Sir John Eliot Gardiner with the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestras – Beethoven Symphony Cycle and Handel masterpieces

As he celebrates his 80th year, and the Monteverdi Choir celebrates its 60th, Sir John Eliot Gardiner conducts the Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists and Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique at St Martin’s (the London home of his Monteverdi Choir and Orchestras) in a series of concerts that promise to be a highlight of London’s musical calendar. A full Beethoven Symphony Cycle with the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique (13 – 18 May 2024) and landmark performances of Handel’s masterpieces L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato (31 October) and Israel in Egypt (22 Mar 2024) with the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists dominate the autumn and spring season.

Gavin Bryars – 80th birthday

Another 80th birthday to celebrate, and Gavin Bryars’ iconic masterpiece Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet (9 Nov) features a range of performers that epitomise St Martin’s social and community values  the Choir with No Name and Streetwise Opera – who join Bryars’ own ensemble in a double bill with the composer’s other classic work, The Sinking of the Titanic. Taking the theme of a homeless man singing quietly to himself, Jesus’ Blood is one of the most moving and original pieces of 20th-century music. The London premiere of Bryars’ String Sextet, The Bridges of Konigsberg (17 Oct) is performed by the Consone Quartet – the first BBC New Generation Artist period-ensemble quartet – in a programme that also features Haydn and Brahms.

Christmas Festival: variety and quality

St Martin’s celebrates Christmas in the company of a variety of music from a selection of the world’s finest choral groups, from The Sixteen’s Messiah (5 December) to The King’s Singers When You Wish Upon a Star (21 Dec)In between, candlelit concerts from Ex Cathedra (12 Dec) and Tenebrae (15 Dec) bring magical moments of traditional reflection, as well as a one-of-a-kind baroque Christmas pantomime from the ever-imaginative I Fagiolini (8 Dec).

Lent and Holy Week Festival: masterpieces old and new

St Martin’s annual Lent and Holy Week Festival features four towering pinnacles of the choral repertoire. It opens with a performance of Bach’s St John Passion by the Dunedin Consort, with an outstanding British cast featuring Nicholas Mulroy as both director and evangelist. The festival continues with the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists’ performance of Handel’s epic oratorio, Israel in Egypt, with its Lenten theme of release from exile into joyful celebration. Tenebrae take us on another spiritual journey in the form of Joby Talbot’s choral classic Path of Miracles, inspired by the pilgrim’s journey to Santiago de Compostela. Finally, the Passiontide odyssey ends as Harry Christophers conducts The Sixteen in Duruflé’s unforgettable Requiem, alongside a rare performance of Poulenc‘s haunting Litanies à la Vierge noire.

London’s home of choral music

St Martin’s growing reputation as the home of choral music in London is reflected in a roster of concerts featuring some of the very best choral ensembles. The Gesualdo Six (8 Sep, 12 Oct), the Carice Singers (22 Sep), SANSARA (6 Oct),  BBC Singers (17 Nov), The Sixteen (5 Dec, 23 Mar), I Fagiolini (8 Dec), Ex Cathedra (12 Dec), Tenebrae (15 Dec, 26 Mar) and The King’s Singers (21 Dec) are joined by St Martin’s very own professional choral ensemble, the St Martin’s Voices (various dates) in a season that celebrates the widest range of choral repertoire – from Byrd to Pärt; Haydn to Ligeti and featuring new music by living composers. Celebrating 800 years of sacred choral music from Poland, the Joy & Devotion festival returns for a third year with leading British choirs including The Brabant Ensemble, The Carice Singers and Epiphoni Consort (7-11 November).

Choral Discoveries Series

A new strand of concerts by St Martin’s Voices is designed to introduce lesser-known, but nonetheless utterly beautiful choral music to audiences for just £10 per ticket. A selection of concerts throughout the season (12 Sep, 3 Oct, 14 Nov) include works by Rutter, Bray, Lauridsen, Gjeilo, Larsen, Parry and other composers whose work deserves greater prominence.

Chamber music

In two ‘Brahms plus’ chamber concerts, clarinettist Michael Collins and friends perform clarinet quintets by Brahms and Mozart (10 Oct), and the Consone Quartet pairs Brahms’s Sextet No. 2 with a new Sextet for period instruments by Gavin Bryars. In contrasting programmes by outstanding new generation pianists, Leeds piano competition winner Jayson Gillam performs a beautiful Chopin programme (5 Oct) and rising star George Fu displays the innovative programming and outstanding musicianship that is winning him critical acclaim (2 Nov).

For further information and booking, please visit
https://www.stmartin-in-the-fields.org/autumn-winter/