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05 December 2019The Twelve Days of Christmas
06 February 2020Lapis Lazuli:Pursuit of a Celestial Stone
05 March 2020Grinling Gibbons - Carver to the Crown
02 April 2020Chagall - Wandering Jew or Citizen of the World
07 May 2020Miniatures in the Wallace Collection
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The Twelve Days of Christmas Peter Medhurst Thursday 05 December 2019

The celebration of the period following Christmas can be traced back several millennia, and to at least two cultures - neither of them Christian. One of them is the southern Roman Feast of Kalends on the 1st January, and the other, the northern Nordic festivals of Yuletide surrounding the celebrations of the Winter solstice. However, it was Pope Julius I who decided to subvert the gluttony, drunkenness and sun worship to Christian purpose, and by choosing the 25th December to celebrate the birth of Christ, he neatly bridged these cultures and paved the way for Future Christmas festivities. And so it is that many of our modern Christmas customs and carols bear references to traditions that have nothing to do with the birth of Christ. Nonetheless, each year, Christ’s birthday on 25th December signifies the beginning of twelve festive days of celebrations and music making. In this lecture-recital Peter Medhurst explores the wealth of Christmas music, traditions and curious legends that are connected with them. Music performed includes: Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly, the Coventry Carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas, the Wassail Song, The Three Kings - Cornelius.