Tuesday, 3 January 2012

The English Oratorio : a Celebration, Barbican

The Barbican celebrates the Englsih oratorio tradition, but in a bold new way. Handel of course is at the heart of the tradition, so the series started with Handel's Saul (read more here) and Walton's Belshazzar's Feast (read here). On 14th January, it includes Haydn's Seasons and continues with Elgar, Mendelssohn and Sir Michael Tippett. So the tradition hasn't stood still. Baroque aesthetics gave way to Victorian gigantism, as seen in this 1857 etching of a Handel experience at the Crystal Palace, London. "Concert" is hardly the right word.  At the Barbican, we'll be able to hear English oratorio in a setting that might favour the music rather than scale for its own sake, and perhaps gain new perspectives. Please read Claire Seymour's article on English Oratorio and the Barbican season.

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