Christmas Early Music Concert – Punch Card Concert

Patrick Ayrton, conductor

Robin Blaze, vocal coach

Student of the Early Music and Vocal department

Henry Purcell

Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem, Z46

“Hail! Bright Cecilia” Z.328 (Ode to St. Cecilia)

The Royal Conservatoire will end the year with its customary Christmas concert. This year’s afternoon concert will be given by the students of the Early Music department. You’re in for a real surprise and enjoy a little bit of Christmas during these dark days of winter.

Henry Purcell died on 21 November 1695, the eve of the feast day of St. Cecilia. He was only 35 years of age and joined the list of composers who died at a young age, a list that includes Schubert, Mozart and Mendelssohn, all geniuses who made such an unimaginable contribution to our musical heritage in the short time allotted to them.

Ode to St. Cecilia is therefore a nice symbol of this background, which, because of its unusual form tells a lot about the composer’s conscious use of the strength of music. On the one hand, a sort of “young person’s guide to the orchestra of the 17th century”, with beautiful solo parts for instruments. On the other, he makes surprising use of forms of dance and variation. In addition to the spotlighted instruments, the vocal duets and arias are a particular joy to hear. In that respect, the work is an unparalleled ode to fin de siècle music and a majestic opening for his successors, such as Handel, who made grateful use of his predecessor’s work.

The Early Music department of the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague is one of the most prestigious in the world. Since the department was founded by Frans Brüggen in the second half of the 1960s, the Conservatoire has established its reputation as one of the leading institutes for historical performance practice, organising ground-breaking initiatives and major projects in partnership with professional orchestras, ensembles and companies to give students the possibility of learning from the masters in the craft.

Punch Card Concerts
Due to the success of the series in recent years, this season the Royal Conservatoire is organising its seventh series of afternoon concerts in combination with the Musical Punch Card. It is your chance to attend a series of marvellous concerts while at the same time saving for free admission to a concert by the Residentie Orkest. Your card will be punched as you enter the hall and when it has been punched four times you will be entitled to attend one of the concerts being given by the Residentie Orkest on Saturday 11, Saturday 25 or Sunday 26 May with a discount. For further details, see



Thu 13 December 2018 16.30


Arnold Schönbergzaal, Royal Conservatoire

Entrance fee

Admission is free