St Nicolas at St John’s

Andrew Mackenzie Wicks. Photo: Ben Ealovega.
Andrew Mackenzie Wicks. Photo: Ben Ealovega.

BUXTON Musical Society will reveal more about the enigma of Father Christmas when they perform the cantata St Nicolas by Benjamin Britten in a concert at St John’s Church, Buxton, on March 18.

The cantata was written for the centenary of Lancing College in Sussex, where Britten’s partner Peter Pears was educated.

Buxton Musical Society. Photo:

Buxton Musical Society. Photo:

In a continuation of tradition, Buxton Musical Society will perform the work with the Chamber Choir of King’s School, Macclesfield.

The tenor solo, originally performed by Pears, will be taken by Andrew Mackenzie-Wicks.

There are also two points in the cantata when the audience is invited to join in to sing the well-known hymns ‘All People That on Earth do Dwell’ and ‘God Moves in a Mysterious Way’.

Eric Crozier, who wrote the libretto, includes accounts of various tales of St Nicolas’ life, and towards the end the choir sing his praises, including the poignant words ‘We keep his memory alive in legends that our children and their children’s children treasure still’.

In the first half of the concert the orchestra of Buxton Musical Society will perform Grieg’s Holberg Suite and later the choir and soloist will join them for the Liebeslieder Waltzes by Brahms.

In this anniversary year – for St John’s Church as well as Her Majesty - the Holberg Suite is another work that was written for an anniversary, that of the Danish-Norwegian playwright Ludvig Holberg.

It was written to reflect the dance music of Holberg’s time including a stately sarabande and a graceful gavotte.

The Brahms Liebeslieder waltzes were also written to reflect different musical styles, those of his homeland in Northern German and his adopted home of Vienna, notably the traditional Austrian dance, the ländler.

Tickets, priced £12 (£10.50 concessions), are available from the Buxton Opera House box office on 0845 127 2190, from or on the door 30 minutes before the concert. Children of school age are admitted free.