Advent begins when the announcer says so

A new series of blog posts for the festive season with a reflection on my start to the season: BBC Radio 3’s Choral Evensong.

My Christmas starts with Advent, signposted by the Sunday afternoon broadcast of Radio 3’s Choral Evensong. The broadcast is the starting point for a month of preparations, culminating in Radio 4’s Nine Lessons and Carols on Christmas Eve and a big warm Italian-influenced family get-together in leafy Purley soon after.

Both services hark back to childhood memories. My first experience of Nine Lessons was our school carol service – a seemingly grand affair in St Edmundsbury cathedral attended by every pupil and their parents. Those with a demonstrable ability to sing processed up the aisle to Once in Royal David’s City. Those without shuffled uncomfortably in the pews, bored by proceedings.

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Niklas Hoffmann wins Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition 2016

Twenty-six year German conductor Niklas Hoffmann won the 2016 Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition last night with a captivating combination of curiosity, boyish enthusiasm and self-assured musicality. He pockets £15,000 and two years as the LSO’s associate conductor. The final, recorded by Classic FM for broadcast on Thursday 24 November, concluded a gruelling three-day competition […]

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