8th December 2018


Cirencester Parish Church 8th December 2018


What a fantastic start to the Christmas Season! Yet again the Cirencester Choral Society, ably conducted by Carleton Etherington, stunned a packed church with a beautifully crafted performance of J S Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. It was a spellbinding performance accompanied by the Corelli Orchestra and its renowned director, Warwick Cole, who were playing on original instruments, giving the music a mellow glow which is often lost with the brighter modern sound. The choir was joined by four soloists, Hannah Davey, Juliet Curnow, Nick Drew and Nicholas Perfect who all added to the performance with sublime singing, telling us of the Christmas story.

The Oratorio is written in six parts with each part originally intended for performance on one of the major feast days of the Christmas period. To perform all six parts would take around three hours and so we were treated to parts 1, 2, 3 and 6 sung in English with a clarity that meant we could hear every word and thoroughly enjoy the Christmas story as it unfolded from the Birth of Jesus through to the adoration of the Magi. The choir was resplendent in both its sound and unity, performing the Chorales with a real depth and richness that complemented perfectly the solos that came between them. An evening not to be missed and real treat for all who were lucky enough to be there!

Theresa Finzi

9 December 2018