Sussex Concerts

Concert Details

Title: A Feast of St Nicolas
Performed by: Mayfield Festival Choir
Promoted by: Mayfield Festival
Time: Sunday, 14 May 2017, at 7:30pm
Place: St Dunstan’s Church, Mayfield
Description: St Nicholas lived at the turn of the fourth century. Because of his penchant for secret gift-giving, by the 19th century he had morphed into the character of Santa Claus. And while the real St Nicholas had no direct contact with the British Isles, there are a disproportionate number of English churches dedicated to St Nicholas because of the Christian name of the only English Pope, Nicholas Breakspear, the 12th-century Adrian IV.

This concert presents two very different musical responses to St Nicholas. The young Haydn dashed off a mass in honour of his patron, Prince Nikolaus Esterházy, to be performed on St Nicholas’s day 1772. Always inventive and entertaining, Haydn was never more so that when he was writing at speed. Benjamin Britten, on the other hand, wrote his cantata St Nicolas at comparative leisure, for the centenary of Lancing College in 1948. A colourful canvas of birth, death, prison, a journey to Palestine, and pickled boys, Britten uses his orchestra’s strings, percussion, pianos, and organ to colourful effect. In this performance, Mayfield Festival Choir is joined by a semi-chorus from Mayfield School and the professional Primavera Chamber Orchestra. Britten was always keen that amateur musicians and young people should work side by side with professional musicians in order to keep the professionals on their toes and to encourage the amateurs to up their game. A worthy aim, which continues in Mayfield to this day.

Tickets: Ticket cost £24 (centre aisle), £20 (rear centre aisle) and £10 (all side aisles, unreserved) (half price for under 18s), available from 31 March 2017: online at; in person from Rosina Fabrics and Wools, High Street, Mayfield; by phone from 0333 666 3366 (This is a general booking line operated for us by TicketSource. Please be sure to say that you are booking tickets for Mayfield Festival Choir – A Feast of St Nicolas. A postage fee of £1.50 will be applied to each order.)
Contact: Charlotte Snee

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