The Consort of Twelve offers first Chichester concert since December 2019

The Consort of Twelve are delighted to return to live concert-giving after nearly two years away.

Wednesday, 15th September 2021, 7:05 am
Lynden Cranham

Their last concert was in St John’s Chapel, Chichester on December 1 2019.

And it is to St John’s that they return for their comeback concerts – two on the same day, one at 3pm and one at 6pm on September 19. Tickets are £12 on 02392 214494 and online at

The programme will be the same in each of the concerts, and the performances will be given without an interval.

Internationally-acclaimed violinist Julia Bishop will be returning to direct a programme called Beyond the Seasons: Vivaldi and Bach.

It includes an absorbing Vivaldi concerto for two violins and cello, with soloists Julia Bishop and Sara Deborah Timossi violins and Lynden Cranham cello, and Bach’s classic concerto for oboe and violin with American baroque oboist Gail Hennessy and Julia on violin.

There will also be such favourites as the Air (on a G string) by Bach and his Brandenburg Concerto No 4, with Sophie Middleditch and William Summers recorders and David Pollock harpsi-chord.

Lynden believes their December 2019 concert was perhaps their best ever. Little did they know what lay ahead.

“We did an early Christmas concert with an amazing violinist.

“I am so lucky that I worked with all these orchestras. I can get fantastic players to come down and play with us and have a nice weekend in the country and coach the players.

“We had Kati Debretzeni and it was a wonderful concert.”

For 2020, the Consort had three concerts planned. None of them happened.

“We were supposed to be doing Matthew Passion in April, and we were literally listening to Boris’ announcement on the night and the Portsmouth Choral Union told us that the concert was off. That should have been in April.

“And then we had a huge Festival of Chichester concert organised with Julia Bishop in St Paul’s and that was cancelled. And then for September we were going to do a concert in Bosham with an amazing violinist called Simon Standage. We were hanging on for as long as possible hoping that we would be able to do it, but we had to cancel it.”

So they rescheduled the concerts for this year, hoping for better things that didn’t happen.

“We rescheduled Matthew Passion for March and that had to be cancelled and we rescheduled Simon Standage for May and that had to be cancelled.

“By then we had already decided that we would do a concert for this year’s Festival of Chichester, and that concert had to be cancelled as well.”

But now at least they have got the Julia Bishop concert – which should have happened last year – in their sights.

And they are taking a different approach.

Rather than one big concert, they have cut out some of the smaller pieces and will offer two hour-long smaller concerts without intervals.

“With the musicians we have asked them to wear masks when they are moving around during rehearsals and to bring their own food and to try to limit interaction.

“We have also told them on the day of the concert to come in their concert clothes. Usually in St John’s we are packing and changing in there, but we are trying to avoid that this time.

“We have just streamlined everything as much as possible.”

As for next year, they are making plans again: “We have rescheduled Simon Standage’s concert for May, and then we are hoping to do Israel in Egypt for next year’s Festival of Chichester.

“And then next September we are hoping to do a concert with Catherine Martin.

“We have to try to organise things so long in advance.”