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A Winter Welcome

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You’ll find the lights blazing and the music playing for Christmas at Kings Place

December is that time of year when the nights draw in and we dream about gathering round the fire with friends and family – or travelling to Kings Place to hear the best seasonal music and shows at London’s most welcoming venue.

For the classical and traditional music lover there’s Handel’s Messiah, performed with gusto by one of the UK’s leading period orchestras, the Hanover Band (17 Dec). The OAE’s Rising Stars sing one of Bach’s Christmas Cantatas (16 Dec) in the Sunday morning series Bach, the Universe and Everything, while the golden tones of chamber choir Sonoro add lustre to festive choral favourites including Vaughan Williams’s Fantasia on Christmas Carols (16 Dec). There’s nothing gloomy about Tenebrae, under the direction of Nigel Short, as they perform a choice of traditional carols and ravishing 20th-century works by English choral composers such as John Tavener, Peter Warlock and Herbert Howells (13 Dec).

The Albion Christmas Band.

© Johnny Dent

For a snappier, more contemporary take on ‘Winterval’, there’s Juice Vocal Ensemble in Snow Queens, with songs taken from their latest album that conjure up snow, frost and ice. The singers have commissioned composers including Tarik O’Regan, Emily Hall, Benjamin Tassie and Alison Willis to write wintry wassails, but if these names aren’t familiar, you might recognise new Juice arrangements of rock classics by Kate Bush and the White Stripes (8 Dec).

The legendary Albion Band bring their irrepressible alehouse folk with a Christmas show full of traditional British customs (21 Dec), while musician Jim Causley takes the focus off the commercial side of Christmas with a journey into the past, performing medieval and secular carols from around Britain and settings of his relation Charles Causley’s moving Christmas poems (13 Dec).

‘Songs to conjure snow, frost and ice’

Non-churchgoers get four performances of their own Nine Lessons and Carols… Labelled ‘for Curious People’, this annual celebration of the season with Robin Ince combines experiments, ideas, science, songs and laughter, with special guests, and all profits to charity (14, 15, 19, 20 Dec).

Bring the whole family along to the premiere of a magical new musical, The Little Fir Tree, based on the Hans Christian Andersen story of the little tree that wished to be as tall as its neighbours. It’s reimagined and scored by Megg Nicol and David Stoll, and the gala performance, with a celebrity storyteller, cast and orchestra, will be a night to remember (18 Dec).

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