Michael White’s classical news: Creation; Mass in Blue; Julius Drake; Islington Festival

Thursday, 7th July — By Michael White

Alex Oomens and Will Thomas with Ron Graham

HCS conductor Ron Corp, soprano Alex Oomens, Graham Brookman of ENO Harewood Scheme, and bass William Thomas

ORATORIOS aren’t always fun; but one that smiles from start to finish is Haydn’s radiant Creation, which tells the standard Bible story about the world began but in an 18th-century equivalent of dayglo colours and a childlike sense of wonder as the seven days roll on. As Haydn put it: “God has given me a cheerful heart”, and “never was I so devout as when I composed Creation… I felt impregnated with divine certainty”. All of which you’ll hear when Highgate Choral Society perform this most feelgood of pieces on July 9.

What’s more, they’re doing it at one of north London’s finest churches: All Hallows, Savernake Road, Gospel Oak, whose handsome, cathedral-like interior lends inspirational uplift to all that happens under its roof. So leave the miseries of Boris Johnson’s Britain behind, forget spiralling inflation for a couple of hours, and remember what it was like to be happy. Details: hcschoir.com

Midsummer is a time when all the choral societies get into gear, and another is Islington Choral who perform at LSO St Luke’s, Old Street, on July 10. They’re singing Will Todd’s jazzy Mass in Blue, a modern classic these days, alongside John Rutter’s easy-on-the-ear settings of African-American spirituals Feel the Spirit. With contralto soloist Jess Dandy, whose career is noticeably on the up, it’s an attractive programme. islingtonchoralsociety.co.uk

But there’s more. The London Classical Choir & Orchestra are at St Mary’s, Primrose Hill, on July 9 for a concert performance of Purcell’s chamber opera Dido and Aeneas. It’s in aid of homeless charities, so a good cause. londonclassicalchoir.com

And as a cherry on the choral cake, the supremely sophisticated Choir of King’s College, Cambridge comes to St Martin in the Fields, Trafalgar Square, on July 12, where its still fairly new director Daniel Hyde conducts a sweeping programme of English music from the 16th to the 21st centuries. stmartin-in-the-fields.org

• You can only wonder how it might have dented Haydn’s faith had he been around to witness, in his own Germanic homeland, the horrors of Nazi concentration camps. Among them was Theresienstadt, whose musical inmates were allowed to put on performances for propaganda purposes. And there’s a programme of songs from Theresienstadt on July 14 in Temple Church, curated by pianist Julius Drake. It won’t be cheerful like Creation, but it’s vital that this music is preserved and heard. templemusic.org

Looking ahead with diary dates, the great BBC Proms start on July 15, and I’ll say more about that in the weeks to come. But on a comparatively intimate scale, also starting July 15, is the Islington Festival which offers chamber music in venues like St Mary’s Upper Street, Christ Church Highbury, and the Little Angel Theatre. Trawling through the programme, which runs to July 24, you’ll find concerts for string quartet, violin & piano, lute songs, jazz… and there’s the added interest of a session where you can practice your skill in drawing musicians at work: a tricky proposition mastered by giants of the past like Degas. Do what he does in portraying flying arms and fingers, and you can call yourself an artist. islingtonfestival.com

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