St John's Smith Square And Southbank Sinfonia Unveil Lineup For Easter Festival 2024

The festival offers a range of lunchtime and evening concerts brimming with the sentiments of the season: rebirth and new life. 

By: Feb. 07, 2024
St John's Smith Square And Southbank Sinfonia Unveil Lineup For Easter Festival 2024

Southbank Sinfonia at St John's Smith Square have announced the line-up for their Easter Festival 2024. The festival offers a range of lunchtime and evening concerts brimming with the sentiments of the season: rebirth and new life. 

The Easter Festival kicks off on Thursday 26th March with a free lunchtime concert from the outstanding Civil Service Choir, who are returning to St John's Smith Square with two charming, much-loved short mass settings by Schubert and Haydn. The Choir has been performing in St John's Smith Square for over ten years and has delighted audiences every time. Conducted by Stephen Hall, they will perform Schubert's Mass No. 2 in G major, this piece was composed in 1815, in less than a week, and is the best known of his short mass settings. They will also treat the audience to Haydn's Missa Brevis, written in 1775, which takes its nickname, the ‘Little Organ Mass', from the organ solo in the Benedictus.

That evening, The Purcell Singers will perform Mozart's stunning Requiem in a unique collaboration with Southbank Sinfonia, conducted by Mark Ford and Jonathan Schranz. Mozart wrote this piece close to his own death, for a commission by a mysterious, anonymous benefactor, leading his wife to believe he may have been writing it for his own funeral. 

On Thursday 28th March, Roger Sayer, St John's Smith Square's Organist in Residence, will give a lunchtime recital featuring Marcel Dupré's Symphonie-Passion, a dramatic work tracing the birth, death, and resurrection of Christ. The concert opens with the virtuosic Concert-Overture in C Minor by the blind organist Alfred Hollins, as well as one of Bach's organ masterpieces, the St Anne's Prelude and Fugue in E flat BWV 552.

The National Youth Choir will perform Faure's Requiem on the evening of Thursday 28th March. With its deep spirituality and ethereal beauty, the composer's most famous work offers a uniquely serene and tranquil view of death, bringing joy rather than sadness in its peace-filled conclusion. The National Youth Choir comprises some of the finest young singers from across the UK aged 18 to 25. Each year the Choir is invited to sing at some of the country's leading festivals and venues including international rugby matches at Twickenham and the 2023 Royal Variety Performance. St John's Smith Square's work championing emerging talent with The National Youth Choir section fits with their ethos of supporting new cultural journeys, to learn, experience and be inspired.

2024 marks the 300th anniversary of the first performance of Bach's St John Passion, and for this special year Stephen Layton and his simply superb (The Guardian) choir Polyphony are joined once again by the brilliance of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and an outstanding sextet of soloists.

2024 will also see the return of St John's Smith Square's annual London Festival of Baroque Music, with more details to follow.




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