News Archives: 2015

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We are excited to be returning to the Barbican with the fabulous Brass and Percussion sections of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (“fizzing with vibrancy, crisp articulation and seamless dovetailing”) on Monday 21st December for Christmas in the City – a joyful celebration in carols for all the family, with plenty of audience participation. Hilary Davan Wetton conducts. Click here for more details and to book tickets.

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The City of London Choir is celebrating Christmas again in style – this year in more venues for ever including St John’s Smith Square, Central Hall Westminster, the Royal Albert Hall and the Barbican. For a taste of what’s in store, click here. Visit our concerts page for more details, and buy your tickets today!

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“A packed audience witnessed a packed platform. Hilary Davan Wetton – a Boult pupil and a conductor-prize-winner in 1967 – has a fifty-year career to look back on. But he is ploughing forward, for this concert marked the first of six collaborations between the City of London Choir (Davan Wetton its Artistic Director since 1989) and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra that will embrace the Mass settings that Joseph Haydn composed towards the end of his life. Each programme includes a Mozart Piano Concerto.

The opener was Mozart’s Regina coeli, composed when he was in his early-twenties. Lasting about five minutes, the chorus is supplemented by four vocal soloists with an orchestra of strings (without violas), oboes, trumpets and timpani, and organ. The City of London Choir impressed immediately in this exuberant and festive setting….

The laurels of the evening went to the Haydn and its rendition (using Breitkopf’s 1804 publication, which has added woodwind parts, seemingly approved by Haydn). The ‘Nelson’ Mass was thought to reflect his victory over Napoleon in the 1798 Battle of the Nile, but this was disproved by Haydn guru H. C. Robbins Landon in that such news only reached Haydn after the Mass’s completion. Nevertheless the Admiral (and Lady Hamilton) did attend a performance of it in 1801.

The great and prolific composer, with so much written, had nothing to prove, and Haydn’s final works are invested with experience and candour, and no lessening of genius. The ‘Nelson’ Mass reflects the anxiety of war-torn times in patrician musical terms. Tension, yes, but joy too. This was a notable account, Davan Wetton the master of the music, energising it, caring for it while ensuring strength of purpose. Whatever was needed Davan Wetton judged it just-so, and with minimal pauses between sections an onward flow (but never rush or impatience) created an unbreakable experience.

The City of London Choir was outstanding – honed and committed – the RPO consistently neat and stylish. In the “Qui tollis” of the ‘Gloria’ Darren Jeffery was imposing, the chorus pared down to a beautifully judged mezza voce and John Roberts contributed a beguiling oboe solo. By contrast, the ‘Credo’ was sung (and swung) with true belief, and fugal writing was brought off with brisk clarity. Trumpets play a significant part in the scoring, adding exhilaration or sounding a warning, and (here from on-high) enhancing the dramatic interruption to the ‘Benedictus’. Of the other vocal soloists, Rachel Nicholls, with much to do, was fearless and uninhibited.

Conducted with conviction and insight, and unflappable co-ordination, Hilary Davan Wetton brought out the inspiring and consolatory nature of this music, the final words, “Dona nobis pacem” (Grant us peace), made uplifting. This was excellent. Amen!

  • The second concert in this series is on 12 April 2016 at Cadogan Hall – Haydn’s Mass in Time of War and, with Leon McCawley, Mozart’s Piano Concerto 21″

Colin Anderson, Classical Source

For the full review, please click here.

Mawby recording Walton

“freshness, bloom, attentive diction and a palpable heart” (Daily Telegraph).

From Beethoven to Vaughan Williams, and including some wonderful and unusual Christmas music, our recordings have received high praise from critics and consumers alike. For more information click here, or here for details of cds, mp3s and reviews.


We are looking forward to taking part in the London Mozart Players’ concert ‘Mozart & the Sisters’ on Thursday 26th November at St John’s Smith Square, conducted by Hilary Davan Wetton. Paying tribute to Aloysia and Constanze Weber, the two sisters who were objects of Mozart’s affection, the programme features concert arias originally for Aloysia (by then his sister-in-law), and a performance of the great Mass in C Minor with a solo soprano part written for Constanze (by then his wife).

Previous collaborations between the LMP, the CLC and Hilary Davan Wetton include the release of ‘Flowers in the Field’ last year, an album that went straight to the top of the Specialist Classical Chart and was widely praised in the national press.

Guest soloists also include Robyn Allegra Parton (soprano), Marta Fontanals-Simmons (mezzo), Ben Thapa (tenor) & George Humphreys (bass).

Click here for more details.

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We are delighted to unveil our plans for the new season beginning in September 2015. Visit our concerts page to find details of performances in the Royal Albert Hall, Cadogan Hall, Barbican Hall, St John’s Smith Square and beyond. We look forward to a series of concerts with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and to an exciting array of soloists, all under the baton of our Principal Conductor, Hilary Davan Wetton. There is very limited space in the choir for sopranos, and limited space for altos, tenors and basses. Potential applicants should visit Joining the Choir and complete an on-line application form at the earliest opportunity.


The CLC is delighted to announce the appointment of soprano Rachel Nicholls as its official Vocal Consultant. This is a really exciting development for the choir and we look forward to benefiting from Rachel’s great skills as both singer and teacher.

Our concert with the RPO at Cadogan Hall on 2nd November will provide an unmissable chance to hear Rachel as soloist, performing Mozart’s concert aria Ch’io mi scordi di te and with the choir in Haydn’s celebrated Nelson Mass.

Rachel began her career as an acclaimed singer of Baroque Music. Now she is widely recognised as one of the most exciting dramatic sopranos of her generation. She made her début at The Royal Opera, Covent Garden in 2001, after training at the Royal College of Music. Since her international concert début in Halle in 2000, her career on the operatic stage, in concert and as an international recording artist has taken her all over the world, from her native UK, throughout Europe all the way to the USA and the Far East.

For more details, please visit Rachel’s website.

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The City of London Choir is proud to present with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra a series of concerts at Cadogan Hall conducted by Hilary Davan Wetton celebrating some of the finest achievements of the classical period: the six great masses of Haydn, each paired with one of Mozart’s late piano concertos.

The series opens on Monday 2nd November 2015 with Haydn’s intensely dramatic Nelson Mass (Missa in Angustiis, Hob. XXII:11) paired with Piano Concerto no. 23 in A (K488), featuring Mozart at his most ebullient in the outer movements and most intense, in the slow movement. Choir and orchestra open the concert with Mozart’s jubilant Regina Coeli (K 276), and his celebrated concert aria Ch’io mi scordi di te (K 505) will give full rein to the outstanding talents of pianist Tom Poster and soprano Rachel Nicholls. For full details, please click here.

The second concert in the series will be on Tuesday 12th April 2016 at Cadogan Hall, featuring Haydn’s Paukenmesse (Missa in tempore belli, Hob. XXII:9) and Mozart’s Piano Concerto no. 21 in C (K467) with soloist Leon McCawley. For details, please click here.

Haydn composed a mass in each of his six final years (1796-1802) as Kapellmeister to the Esterhazy family to mark the name day of the reigning Prince’s wife – a great highlight of the court’s social calendar – providing the world with some of the greatest works ever written for choir and orchestra. Haydn’s reputation throughout Europe was unsurpassed – except by his close friend Mozart. The younger man’s undisputed genius and personality are revealed nowhere as clearly as in the piano concertos written in 1782-1784 – everyone a masterpiece, yet written at a time when Mozart’s life (in sharp contrast to Haydn’s) was in disarray and relative poverty.

For press tickets and further information, please contact Chris Evans, Director of Press and Marketing, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra:      


Exactly two hundred years ago the Congress of Vienna was in full swing, re-establishing the boundaries of Europe in the hope of lasting peace after the ravages of the Napoleonic Wars. The Congress’s ‘Final Act’ was signed nine days before Napoleon’s final defeat at Waterloo on 18 June 1815. Beethoven, at the height of his success as a composer, was commissioned to write a cantata to celebrate the occasion, for performance before the assembled crowned heads in Vienna. The result was ‘ Der glorreiche Augenblick (“The glorious moment”) – a ‘peace cantata’ on the scale of Ode to Joy but somewhat lost in the mists of time… until its recording by the CLC and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for Naxos three years ago. Highly acclaimed, it received a full five stars from BBC Music Magazine and was described in The Guardian as ‘thrill-a-minute stuff that draws you in and sweeps away any scruples you may have’.

See the reviews and read more about it here

Fame Painting by Giovanni Giacomo Sementi; Fame Art Print for sale

The glorious combination of Choir and Royal Philharmonic Brass put to magnificent effect in ceremonial settings from Venice’s golden age, with striking 17th and 20th/21st Century British compositions for the same forces. Thursday 25th June, St John’s Smith Square. For more details, click here.