Christmas Concert
Event 13
Friday 15th December, 8:00pm 
Little Missenden Church

The Longest Night - A Norwegian Fable
The Society of Strange
and Ancient Instruments

Clare Salaman nyckelharpa, hurdy gurdy, tromba marina  Benedicte Maurseth Hardanger fiddle, vocals  Jean Kelly triple harp, bray harp, clarsach

This year, our renowned Christmas Concert will be presented by The Society of Strange and Ancient Instruments, who will celebrate...

The Longest Night...when spirits, gnomes and trolls roam the land

In Norway, the festival of Lussinatten celebrates the longest night of the year - typically the 13th December. Legend has it that on this night Lussi, a feared enchantress, punishes anyone who dares to work and, from Lussinatten until Christmas, spirits, gnomes and trolls roam the land. The Society of Strange and Ancient Instruments celebrates The Longest Night with devilish tunes, ancient Norwegian and English folk songs and other musical treats.


Award-winning Norwegian Hardanger fiddle player and singer, Benedicte Maurseth, The Society of Strange and Ancient Instrument’s director, Clare Salaman, and harpist, Jean Kelly, play an array of beautiful and unusual instruments – Hardanger fiddles, Swedish nyckelharpa, hurdy gurdy, celtic and triple harps and an astonishing two-metre-long tromba marina. Their collaboration has resulted in a repertoire of songs, dances and instrumental pieces which includes music by Playford and Purcell alongside traditional Norwegian Hardanger fiddle tunes and ancient songs.


Daphne - composed by Benedicte, based on a 17th Century John Playford tune


We would like to acknowledge the financial assistance given by Music Norway towards Benedicte's costs in travelling to the UK to rehearse and perform at the Festival. The project would have been very difficult to realise without this support.

La Société des Instruments Anciens

The Society of Strange and Ancient Instruments take their inspiration from a group of musicians, La Société des Instruments Anciens, who gave a series of ‘historical performances’ in the Salon Pleyel in Paris in the years around 1900. They played a collection of what were then considered wildly ‘exotic’ instruments; hurdy gurdy, viola d’amore, viola da gamba and harpsichord. To add to the atmosphere of a bygone age the concerts were usually given by candlelight. The programmes that they played were a strange mixture of what might now be described as “easy listening baroque”. Choice, single movements were abstracted from instrumental works and juxtaposed with well known arias from cantatas in a thoroughly entertaining and varied programme. The intention was to enthral the audience with unusual and fresh presentation of music that would have been mostly familiar to them.  
Tickets : £20, £15, £8