Celebrating Epiphany – when a star led the Magi to Bethlehem – this concert is full of joy and hope to reflect on the meaning of Christmas and kick off the new year with a festive selection of music and carols spanning the centuries.
Dating from the time of Mary I, Missa Puer natus est nobis by Thomas Tallis was unusual at the time. Written for 7 voice parts, rather than 5 and without switching between solo and chorus, the mass provides a rich sound with dramatic effects throughout.
Twentieth century delights include Bethlehem Down by Peter Warlock, written in 1927 together with poet Bruce Blunt, apparently to raise some money for Christmas drinking funds! John Tavener(the modern one) also took the words of a poem and set William Blake’s the Lamb to music in just 15 minutes, packing it full of unconventional harmony and interlocking lines.
Morten Lauridsen, the American mystic composer, sensitively and spiritually tells the story of the birth of Jesus in his composition O Magnum Mysterium, based on a Gregorian chant traditionally used for vigil on Christmas Day. Just slightly more contemporary, written in 2000, we sing the joyful and uplifting carol Romance of the Epiphany by Howard Goodall.