Temple Church Choir to conclude Britten centenary year

The Temple Church Choir will be putting on two concerts in honour of Benjamin Britten this winter.

The concerts mark the 100th anniversary of the composer's birth and are part of a programme of special Britten events that have been taking place throughout the year.

The first concert on 20 November will take place at the choir's home church in London, the historic Temple Church, which 800 years ago was the regal chapel to the Knights Templar.

The programme for the evening will feature entirely the music of Britten, focusing on his magnificent St Nicolas cantata.

"In every choir I've conducted the children have always found Britten's music to be amongst their favourites. It seems most appropriate for the Temple Church Choir – and in particular its choristers - to be taking such an active part in the celebration of his centenary," said Roger Sayer, Director of Music.

The 50-minute cantata is a celebration of the life and miracles of St Nicolas, the patron saint of children and seamen, and was written to mark the centenary of Lancing College.

The Temple Church Choir comprises 12 choir men and 18 boy-choristers, and will be joined by the Aurora Orchestra and the Holst Singers.

Oboist Nicholas Daniel will feature in a performance of Britten's 6 Metamorphoses after Ovid, for oboe Op 49.

The second concert is a festive performance and takes place on 9 December at London's Cadogan Hall.

The choir will give a performance of Britten's A Ceremony of Carols Op.28, alongside works by Byrd, Gibbons, Elgar, Bach and Pärt.

The work explores childhood innocence and was inspired by a sequence of medieval texts picked up in a bookshop in Nova Scotia when Britten's ship docked en route to England.

It was written for children's voices accompanied by harp and is one of Britten's best-known works.

A Ceremony of Carols was premiered by the Fleet Street Choir, a women's choir, in December 1942.