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Handel and Haydn

21 January 2023, 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
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Concert programme

In late August 2022, Duncan Saunderson, our Music Director, sent the following email to all SCS choir members:

This concert includes some of my favourite music to sing and conduct. Haydn’s fabulous Nelson Mass (or Missa in AngustiisMass for troubled Times) has been described as arguably his greatest work. The title refers to the havoc Napoleon was creating in Europe, with Vienna under direct threat. At the time of writing, Nelson landed a stunning victory over Napoleon on the Nile, with its vital trade routes to Britain. The timing, and Nelson’s subsequent meeting with Haydn in Esterhazy, led to the nickname ‘The Nelson Mass’.

I’ve been singing Handel’s sublime Coronation Anthems for almost 40 years, and lucky enough to have sung them to the Queen twice. The first occasion in 1984 was as part of a choir of 700 music students in The Royal Albert Hall under the baton of Sir David Willcocks. (I still have an 8-sided seating plan from an old typewriter!)

Another time was 10 years later in The Rudolphinum, Prague with the Choir of New College, Oxford and The King’s Consort under Robert King. Afterwards, when lined up to meet the Queen and the Duke (who didn’t recognise me!), we were so star-struck that many of us wondered who the unfamiliar face was with them. It turned out be Václav Havel, last president of Czechoslovakia, leader of The Velvet Revolution (the non-violent toppling of Communism in 1989) and distinguished playwright. I’ve tried to make amends for this youthful ignorance by reading some of
his work. He enjoyed the Handel enormously!

We very much hope to see you on 21 January 2023 for this glorious concert of Handel and Haydn, and SCS, at their best!

Best wishes,


On 24 January 2023, after the performance, Duncan sent the following message to all SCS choir members:

Dear SCS member,

Thank you for a terrific concert on Saturday! The preparation and hard work on Thursdays always pays off. An easy rehearsal in the afternoon and a wonderful and memorable performance in the evening.

Thanks also for encouraging and nurturing a very loyal audience. They are immensely appreciated and a delight to see and talk to.

Very happy soloists and a lovely comment from Will Anderson, the managing director of the orchestra:

‘I’m so glad the concert was a success – I spoke to a few people at Christ Church on Sunday who had attended and they were very complimentary about the choir!’

As a nice reminder: here’s the leader and others you might recognise accompanying one of the finest countertenors in the world: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=BsCf5XKatUE&ab_channel=AcademyofAncientMusic

On another note, last call for Brasov chamber choir singers! Numbers are looking good and accommodation is being booked. https://www.summertownchoral.org.uk/brasov-2023/ For choosing repertoire, I’d like to draw up a cast list soon.

Enjoy an evening off this Thursday!

Best wishes,


Date: 21 January 2023
Time: 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
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Venue Name: St Andrew’s Church, Oxford
Address: Linton Rd
Oxford, OX2 6UG United Kingdom
Phone: +44 1865 311212