A 25th birthday calls for a rousing celebration, and we intend to mark it in suitable style. As we kick off a year of birthday events, we invite you to join us for an all-Bach extravaganza, with concerts pairing two of his most powerful and richly scored cantatas with some of his finest instrumental music. This is music of depth and solemnity but also of salvation and celebration, movingly performed by a cast of Dunedin Consort regulars and friends. Like all good birthdays, this one involves a great party. We hope you will join us afterwards at The Queen’s Hall for a slice of cake, a glass or two of bubbles and a late-night celebration.
Exquisitely restrained yet indescribably intense, Arvo Pärt’s Passio is a modern masterpiece. This hour-long setting of St John’s Gospel draws upon some of the earliest settings of the passion story to reframe and distil its message for modern listeners. Interpolating passages for solo voices and choral ensembles, we are never far away from familiar passion territory and yet, with Pärt’s characteristic vocal candour and pared-down orchestration, it is a work that somehow remains timeless. In a Dunedin Consort first, we are delighted to be joining forces with Hebrides Ensemble in presenting this meditative and inescapably moving work to audiences across Scotland.
Over the years, our celebrated interpretation of Bach’s Matthew Passion has earned us five-star reviews, coveted awards and taken us around the world. It has become one of the cornerstones of our season. But in 2020, for the first time in our history, the concert halls fell silent and our annual performances were cancelled. It was a strange and sombre Easter without Bach’s music for comfort.
This year, we return to Edinburgh and Perth with one of Bach’s most heart-rending works, a piece that feels more powerful now than ever. With that silent Easter behind us, we look forward to rejoicing once more in Bach’s glorious music, and its message of hope, togetherness and salvation.
Nicholas Mulroy director & tenor
Pippa Murphy composer
‘I encounter millions of bodies in my life; of these millions, I may desire some hundreds; but of these hundreds, I love only once…’
— Roland Barthes
In love, as in music, we find ourselves in a multitude of hazy, transcendental states, neither here nor there. ‘We are enchanted, bewitched: we are in the realm of sleep, without sleeping; we are within the voluptuous infantilism of sleepiness: this is the moment for telling stories.’ So says Roland Barthes in his sweeping and ecstatic examination of human love, A Lover’s Discourse. Join us for a unique and transformative experience, as we pair Barthes’ vivid recitations with madrigals by Monteverdi, Rore and Gesualdo, in a compelling multimedia performance bound together by Pippa Murphy’s evocative new score.
Please note, there will be no interval.
It’s all too easy to take Handel’s Messiah for granted. This extraordinary and enduring work has become a staple of the Christmas season, with its glorious arias and choruses ringing out in concert halls around the world. But with Dunedin Consort, it never loses its magic. Performed by our lithe ensemble of just 12 singers and 15 instrumentalists, Handel’s music remains as crisp, powerful and uplifting as it was at is first performance. Christmas just wouldn’t be complete without it.
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.
Please note that this performance will also be attended by school children participating in our learning and participation programme.
Our Children’s Messiah performances are generously sponsored by Baillie Gifford.
Nicholas Mulroy director
In times of isolation we find ourselves longing for community — for acts of kindness, understanding, and generosity of spirit. Few texts seem more fitting just now than the opening of the Lamentations of Jeremiah: ‘How lonely sits the city that was full of people! How like a widow has she become, she who was great among the nations!’
As we come to terms with a prolonged period of social isolation, we reflect upon these themes in music from the Renaissance to the present day. From Orlande de Lassus’s exquisite five-part Lamentations and William Byrd’s haunting Ne irascaris Domine and Civitas sancti tui, to the contemporary voices of James MacMillan and Cecilia McDowall. A new work from Ninfea Crutwell-Reade, specially commissioned for our a cappella consort during the period of lockdown, completes the programme.
Presented in association with Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.
For centuries, music has mirrored nature. From delicate birdsong to rushing rivers, and the shifting sounds of the seasons to the rustle of the undergrowth, this intimate programme for soprano and orchestra celebrates nature’s voice in music, tracing its presence through some of the pillars of the Baroque repertoire.
With the Royal Botanic Garden marking its 350th anniversary in 2020, these performances promise to be a fitting celebration, set alight by the voice of soprano Rowan Pierce.