A Concert For St Nicholas’s Day To Be Held At Beverley Minster

East Riding County Choir Entertain Packed Minster

will be performing A Concert for St Nicholas’s Day on Saturday 6th December at Beverley Minster.

Janet Tierney, Publicity Secretary for East Riding County Choir said;

“6 December is the feast day of St. Nicholas, the 4th century bishop of Myra, in what is now Turkey.”

“Nicholas, who is the patron saint of both Russia and Green, is also, very appropriately for a Christmas concert, the original Father Christmas – Santa Claus being a corruption of his name.”

“Joseph Haydn wrote the St. Nicholas Mass to be performed for the Name Day of his patron, the fabulously wealthy and intensely musical Prince Nicolaus Esterhazy of Hungary, and the choir will be singing this joyous work on the 242nd anniversary of its very first performance on 6 December 1772.”

“It was one of the few choral works that Haydn wrote before his 50th birthday; most of his output at the time was either orchestral or instrumental, with his great choral masterpieces being written during the last 15 years of his life.”

“In complete contrast to the mass, the choir will be performing Benjamin Britten’s St Nicolas Cantata. This was written to celebrate the centenary of Lancing College in Sussex and had its first (unofficial) performance at the very first Aldeburgh Festival in June 1948.”

“The part of Nicolas was sung by Britten’s partner, Peter Pears, an old boy of Lancing. The cantata tells the story of the life and works of the beloved bishop, some real, some legendary, centred around his care of the poor and downtrodden.”

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“One of these tales – where Nicholas resurrects three small boys who, in a time of dreadful famine, had been murdered and pickled in brine by a wicked butcher – was the basis for the tradition of giving presents to deserving children.”

“The soloists for the St. Nicholas concert will be the distinguished Irish tenor, Ross Scanlon (who will be singing the part of Nicolas in the Britten cantata) Judith Cunnold (soprano) Rachel Wyllie (contralto) and Benedict Williams (bass).”

“The ‘pickled boys’ will be sung by four boys from Hull Collegiate School. East Riding County Choir will be conducted by its musical director, Colin Wright, and accompanied by the East Riding Sinfonia leader Patricia Mitchell.”

Tickets for the concert are priced at £16, £12 and £8, and are available from Beverley Tourist Information Centre, , Beverley or by calling 01482 391672.

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