Classical review

Where to see the Messiah

Date:25th November 2016. Picture James Hardisty. York Minster's advent wreath been assembled and then raised beneath the central Tower. The advent wreath measures four meters in diameter, and it's believed to be the largest suspended advent wreath in any cathedal or church in this country.

Sixty-odd years ago a music critic wrote, ‘you need special connections to attend a performance of the Messiah in Huddersfield Town Hall, for tickets are scarcer than an invitation to Buckingham Palace!’

Things have not changed much, though there are still a few seats remaining for this year’s second performance, the Huddersfield Choral Society partnered by the Royal Northern Sinfonia and conducted by Martyn Brabbins (December 21).

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How authentic is authentic? That’s always the question to be asked of Handel’s Messiah, the closest you will probably come to the original score can be heard next Monday when the Sheffield Bach Society Choir and Orchestra, conducted by Simon Lindley, offer their much acclaimed version (Sheffield Cathedral, 7pm).

Moving away from the grandeur of their yesteryears, the Leeds Philharmonic Chorus move to today’s fashionable use of a Baroque orchestra for their concert in Leeds Town Hall, David Hill conducting from the harpsichord (December 10, 7.30pm).

Your main priority maybe a perfect venue that would take you to Ampleforth Abbey for the Abbey’s choral group and local chamber orchestra (December 11, 7.30pm), or you might choose the magnificence of York Minster for the Minster Choir’s chamber version (December 10, 7pm).

For my taste I would take the Ripon Choral Society and the D’Amici Orchestra, who, under their conductor, John Dunford, never fail to communicate their sheer joy of singing (Ripon Cathedral, December 10, 7.30pm).