Film: BFI London Film Festival Guide


Christmas Concerts in London 2019

Candlelight, Handel’s Messiah and carols aplenty

We round up the highlights of London’s Christmas Concert season, from grand orchestras to intimate choir services. Think candlelight, Handel’s Messiah and carols aplenty…

Christmas is just around the corner! London suits the festive season - it wears a wintry outfit well - and to really kickstart your festivities why not indulge in some festive caroling. As locations go it doesn’t get much grander than St Paul’s Cathedral, where you’ll find a wealth of concerts from free, unticketed services to more official concerts including, of course, Handel’s Messiah. Make sure you turn up good and early for the free events, as space is at a premium, while tickets for the concerts are released in batches - so you’ll need to be quick. Check the website for full details.
All the major players in London’s classical scene are hosting yuletide celebrations. The Royal Albert Hall have a whole season of events, with the joyous London Community Gospel Choir returning on 14 December after last year’s sell-out concert, accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic. You can also see the Royal Philharmonic perform alongside the Trinity Boys Choir and Brighton Festival Chorus, at the Royal Festival Hall on 15 December as part of The Glory of Christmas. Meanwhile, at the Barbican, the LSO Brass Ensemble accompany a multitude of choirs for A Choral Christmas as part of a 2,000-strong ensemble performance, also on 15 December. 
The Royal Philharmonic, resident orchestra at Chelsea’s Cadogan Hall, are having a busy December. They perform their annual Christmas Crackershow twice on 14 December. Cadogan Hall is a gorgeous 950-seat concert hall, and the perfect setting to hear the Philharmonic in all their splendour. Over at Wigmore Hall, the Tenebrae choir perform a selection of classic and contemporary Christmas music on 1 December, while King’s Place also have a busy Christmas programme. We like the sound of Awake Arise - A Christmas Show on 20 December, which sees two top British folk acts perform a number of wintry traditional songs. Our final hall of choice is Wilton’s Music Hall, where on 20 December Nicky Gayner’s Unashamedly Christmas concert sees the vocalist perform songs from her extensive repertoire of pop classics, festive tunes and a few surprise numbers. 
For a more intimate gathering, St. John’s Smith Square host the Choir of Trinity College Cambridge, who perform Bach’s Christmas Oratorio on 22 December. It’s sure to be a magical evening and a beautiful way to wind down over the weekend, before the big day itself. St. Martins in the Field have a plethora of festive concerts throughout December. We’re particularly taken by the sound of Carols by Candlelight throughout the month and, of course, Handel’s Messiah, also performed by candlelight on 19 December. St. Martin’s is a gorgeous location, and especially worth visiting during Christmas - it’s an oasis of calm amidst busy Central London.