Concert Series 2019

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Since 2011 St James’ has hosted an exciting annual Concert Series. These present a hugely varied repertoire ranging from early to contemporary music and involve some superb instrumentalists as well as the renowned Choir of St James’.

Music at St James’ presents the 2019 Concert Series, ENCOUNTERS
Encounter experiences and expressions of captivity, freedom, emotional states of mind, connections with the past, and lavish celebrations through music by grand renaissance and classical masters, and established and emerging English and Australian composers. One of Australia’s oldest musical establishments, The Choir of St James’, leads a varied programme of music for everyone, in Sydney’s oldest church building in the heart of the city. We are pleased to welcome The Choir of Trinity College, University of Melbourne, in early July, and our concerts will include artistic input and skill from BachBand@St James’, and the Orchestral of St James’.

5:00pm, Saturday 6 April
St James’ Church
The Choir of St James’

The Choir of St James’ performs music for Lent, and explores themes of captivity and freedom, personal struggle and renewal, with music by William Byrd, Philip Moore, and many others.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was executed in a Nazi concentration camp in April 1945, only weeks before the camp was liberated. Philip Moore’s sensitive settings of excerpts from Bonhoeffer’s Letters and Papers from Prison capture the author’s faith and doubt, hope and despair. Similarly, the whole gamut of human emotion is on display in Byrd’s setting of Savonarola’s meditation on Psalm 51, Infelix ego, as the Italian priest endured horrific torture and faced imminent death.
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Download the Media Release here

5:00pm, Saturday 25 May
St James’ Church, King Street, Sydney
The Choir of St James’ and BachBand@StJames’
The Choir of St James’ and BachBand@StJames’ present a rare performance of George Frideric Handel’s beautiful L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato (‘The Cheerful, the Thoughtful, and the Moderate Man’). As Handel immersed himself in London life and moved away from writing Italian Opera to concentrate on the demands of the English audience, be combined popular poetry by John Milton with some of his most ravishing music of extraordinary freshness and beauty to express man’s place in the world.
Vocal soloists include Amy Moore (soprano) and Richard Butler (tenor)
Media Release
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5:00pm, Saturday 6 July
St James’ Church, King Street, Sydney
The Choir of Trinity College, University of Melbourne
A young Herbert Howells and his school friend Ivor Gurney, inspired by the first performance of Vaughan Williams’s sublime Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, roamed the streets of Gloucester, unable to sleep because they were so affected by the music. Howells moved to London shortly afterwards and was soon immersed in the music of the renaissance at the newly build Westminster Cathedral. The recently unearthed gems of renaissance polyphony inspired Howells, Vaughan Williams, Holst and many other composers to write modern polyphony. In this concert, the Choir of Trinity College, University of Melbourne celebrates and explores this encounter across the centuries, with music by the great writers of the English renaissance, Tallis and Byrd, paired with the 20th century composers who wrote their polyphony for Westminster Cathedral 400 years later. 
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5:00pm, Saturday 27 July
St James’ Church, King Street, Sydney
The Choir of St James’
In celebration of our Patronal Festival, and inspired by the wedding of Queen Mary I of English to King Philip II of Spain on St James Day (25 July) 1554 in Winchester Cathedral, we present a sumptuous programme of music that brings together the music of the Castillian and English Royal Chapels. Philip’s band of musicians travelled to English to combine with those of the Chapel Royal and the Cathedral to peform music by the greatest composers of the two countries in what was, by all accounts, a truly magnificent occasion. The concert will feature works by the great Tudor composers, Taverner, Tallis and Byrd, interspersed with pieces by Cabazon, Guerrero and Morales.
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5:00pm, Saturday 12 October
St James’ Church, King Street, Sydney
The Choir and Orchestra of St James’
Joseph Haydn’s famed oratorio, recounting the beginning of time, is performed by The Choir and Orchestra of St James’ to mark the beginning of the our bicentenary celebrations After his visits to London, Haydn was inspired by the larger oratorio choral works of Handel. Creation was first performed in Vienna in 1798 when Haydn was already in his sixties. It was such a success that the invitation-only aristocratic audience had to be brought under control by police. Excerpts of Creation were first performed in Australia from as early as 1834. The Friends of Music will host an Open Rehearsal on the evening of Friday, 11 October.
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5:00pm, Saturday 7 December
St James’ Church, King Street, Sydney
The Choir of St James’
What is your perfect Christmas? A cold, dark and possibly snowy Christmas spent huddled in front of the first, roasting chestnuts and keeping warm? Or a hot, sun-based Christmas on the beach with seafood, a barbie and beach cricket? Experience and Anglo-Australian Christmas at St James’. This concert contrasts the lush warmth of a traditional English Christmas containing 20th century music for choir and strings by the likes of Elgar and Vaughan Williams with a fresh, young antipodean experience. New works written by our own composers provides you with a unique experience and brightens the cheer of the Christmas season.
The concert will be followed by the Friends of Music at St James’ annual Christmas Party. All are welcome to attend. Tickets available through the Friends of Music.
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For tickets, visit or phone (02) 8256 2222, or book in person at City Recital Hall Box office.
You are also welcome to visit the Parish Office and subscribe to all 6 concerts at a 20% discount (no booking fees). Friends of Music subscribers receive a further discount. 
The Parish Office is located on Level 1, St James’ Hall, 169-171 Phillip Street, Sydney.