Soprano Mhairi Lawson joins us for an intimate programme of song, a genre that Purcell firmly made his own. With his flair for drama and extraordinary gift for bringing words to life, Purcell poured many of his most creative ideas into his songs — each of them miniature masterpieces, equally as captivating as anything he would compose for the stage. They are paired here with some of his most exquisite and intricately wrought instrumental works, shining examples of Baroque dialogue at its most eloquent.
Every year we perform Bach’s Matthew Passion in the days leading up to Easter and every year we discover its riches anew. This extraordinary retelling of the passion story has the power to move and inspire us like no other, a journey that is by turns heartrending and uplifting from the opening chorus to the last. This year, we welcome back Kristian Bezuidenhout, a central figure in the field of historically informed performance, to direct Dunedin Consort in our revelatory one-per-part interpretation.
In a Dunedin Consort first, we team up with our friends at the Scottish Ensemble to perform James MacMillan’s searing setting of the dying words of Jesus Christ. Premiered by Scottish Ensemble 25 years ago, it has since acquired a central place in the repertoire, connecting with audiences the world over through its astonishing emotional power. Whatever your beliefs, hearing Seven Last Words from the Cross is a transformative experience, one that lingers long after the final note sounds. Juxtaposing moments of aching intensity, heart-rending beauty and raw, keening desolation, this is music that is at once both intensely personal and magnificently universal.
Presented in association with Greyfriars 400 — celebrating the 400th anniversary of this historic Edinburgh Kirk.
So named because they were dedicated to the Margrave of Brandenburg in 1721, Bach’s six Brandenburg Concertos contain some of the most sumptuous and virtuosic instrumental writing in all of his output. Each is composed for a different line-up, from the intimacy of concertos 3 and 6, composed for strings alone, to the bombastic splendour of Nos. 1 and 2, with their blazing trumpet and horns. Join us as we explore these astonishing instrumental jewels, presented in their entirety (in Edinburgh and Madrid), alongside two of Bach’s best-loved alto cantatas with soloist Meg Bragle (in Philadelphia and Washington), and with our wind soloists taking centre stage (in Perth and Glasgow).
‘For all the debates on historically informed performance, the most persuasive aspect of this concert was the sheer sense of joy’ — The Times
It’s no surprise that Handel’s Messiah continues to draw audiences back year after year. Put simply, there is nothing quite like it. Although the Hallelujah chorus has become its best-known excerpt, Handel wrote every note to impress and astound his listeners. Its choruses are as grand as anything Handel ever composed, the solo writing profoundly moving, the drama powerful and compelling. Performed ‘the Dunedin way’ as Handel would have first heard it, with a small orchestra, a team of twelve singers and soloists who step out from the chorus, there are few more uplifting ways to celebrate the festive season.
‘An interpretation of Handel’s Messiah that makes the listener aware of both the work’s musical and liturgical sophistication is a special thing, yet that is what the Dunedin Consort routinely achieves’ — The Herald
Fun for all the family is guaranteed in our interactive 45-minute concerts specifically devised for children which will include all the best tunes from Handel’s Messiah. You can even expect an appearance from Handel himself to introduce his most famous melodies…!
No age restriction. Adults with tickets to the evening performance of Handel’s Messiah go free to this event.
This autumn, we return to Dunedin’s roots to present another series of performances given by our a cappella consort. Directed by Nicholas Mulroy, one of Dunedin’s core singers, the programme is centred around sixteenth-century Spanish composer Tomás Luis de Victoria’s hauntingly beautiful Requiem, and includes music by his contemporaries Alonso Lobo and Orlando Gibbons. Works by living composers James MacMillan, Roderick Williams and Cecilia McDowall complete the programme, offering contemporary reflections on the inescapable and intrinsic themes that define our human existence.