joyful affair, with a touch of the familiar mixed with some rarely-heard gems. Corelli’s Christmas Concerto needs little introduction; this popular piece by one of Italy’s leading 17th-century composers beautifully evokes the essence of Christmas in six perfectly crafted movements, ending with a sublime Pastorale intended to portray the stable scene in Bethlehem. With Isobel Rowland and Gill Davis (violins) and Alison Ingram (cello) providing strong leadership, this was a wonderful performance, with that Pastorale given a particularly fluid and heartfelt rendition.

Mozart’s Misericordias Domini is less familiar, written when the composer was in his teens, and is a delightful miniature, giving a tantalising glimpse of the choral masterpieces that flowed from his pen later on. The choir’s robust delivery, under conductor Paul Ingram’s clear and decisive direction, was everything I’ve come to expect form this choir; technically assured, with clear diction, crisp entries and endings, and secure intonation.

Italian composer Cimarosa was popular well into the 19th century but then, unjustly, faded into relative obscurity. Bampton Classical Opera helped spearhead a revival this summer with The Italian Girl in London, and here Woodstock Music Society jumped on the bandwagon with a couple of pieces that were a pure delight. The Concerto for Oboe and Strings started life as four harpsichord sonatas, and was adapted into concerto form by Arthur Benjamin in the 20th century. This radiant piece, with its operatic-style lyricism, was a joy, with impressive solo work from Alison Street. It was followed by Cimarosa’s glorious Magnificat, strongly delivered by the choir to ensure a wonderfully exultant finish to the first half.

The second half was given over to another unjustly neglected work, Hummel’s Mass in B Flat. Unusually, there are no soloists in this piece so the choir had to work exceptionally hard, but did so with seemingly unflagging energy, from the sublime Kyrie to the upbeat Dona nobis pacem. Wonderful.