The Full Works Concert - Thursday 19 December 2013

Christmas has well and truly arrived on the Full Works Concert as Jane Jones presents seasonal music from the past 450 years.

Tonight's Christmas concert kicks off with Howard Blake's suite from The Snowman. He wrote the music for the 1982 animated film which featured the song 'Walking in the Air', later turning the music into a best-selling album and a live narrated concert version. Tonight we hear his suite for string quartet played by the Pavao String Quartet.

Bryan Kelly's Improvisations on Christmas Carols really takes its carols through the hoops. The composer first heard Past three o’clock, one of his favourites, as a young boy in his native Oxford, at the city’s Lord Mayor’s Carol concert, an event he would later conduct himself. 

Ralph Vaughan Williams began collecting folk-songs and carols from local travellers in Herefordshire where together they rescued traditional songs that may well have disappeared forever. These songs and carols remind us of our childhood and the power and beauty of songs sung by those generations long before our own. Tonight we hear On Christmas Night.

Georg-Philipp Telemann's Festive Suite in A major is scored simply for first and second violins and bass, to which a continuo harpsichord is added. The piece is particularly French in style and Telemann even evokes the French bagpipe, or musette, an instrument immensely popular during Louis XIV’s reign to depict rustic and pastoral scenes and, thus by association, the watching shepherds of the Nativity.

The Nativity is probably the most popular work of Heinrich Schütz. In his twilight years, the great 17th-century German composer brilliantly combined Lutheran fervour with Italianate style. Paul McCreesh conducts the Gabrieli Consort and Players in tonight's performance.

Howard Blake: The Snowman – Suite
Pavao String Quartet 

Bryan Kelly: Improvisations on Christmas Carols
Gavin Sutherland conducts the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra

Ralph Vaughan Willliams: On Christmas Night
Richard Hickox conducts the City of London Sinfonia and the Joyful Company of Singers

Georg-Philipp Telemann: Festive Suite in A major
Alun Francis conducts the Northwest Chamber Orchestra of Seattle

Heinrich Schutz: The Nativity
Paul McCreesh conducts the Gabrieli Consort and Players