Thursday, September 24, 2020

Rejoice! Music for Christmas

Rejoice! Music for Christmas 

Saturday 28 November 7:30 pm
Dunedin Town Hall

SOLOISTS: Lois Johnston (soprano), Caroline Burchell (soprano), Claire Barton (alto), Andrew Grenon (tenor), James Harrison (bass)
DUNEDIN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA with Helen Webby (harp), Johnny Mottershead (organ)

City Choir Dunedin presents a programme of choral music for the Christmas season. The programme includes Bach's Magnificat, Benjamin Britten's A Ceremony of Carols, and Charpentier's Messe de Minuit. City Choir is delighted to welcome our accomplished soloists and the DSO to the stage.

Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s delightful Messe de Minuit pour Noël (Midnight Mass for Christmas) dates from around 1690 and was probably composed for the great Jesuit church of St. Louis in Paris, where Charpentier held the important post of maître de musique. His idea of basing a whole mass on French Christmas carols was completely original. Altogether there are eleven noëls, most of which are joyful and dance-like in character, reflecting the carol’s secular origins. 

Benjamin Britten’s hugely popular A Ceremony of Carols was inspired by his discovery of "The English Galaxy of Shorter Poems". It is an unusual setting for treble voices and harp. The “carols” are largely the product of 15th and 16th century writers, most of whom are anonymous. They retain their unique flavour by Britten's extensive use of old English language. 

The breath-taking Magnificat was composed by J.S. Bach in 1723. The impact of this great choral work derives essentially from Bach’s remarkable ability to balance, yet at the same time to exploit to the full, the spiritual and dramatic elements of the concise text of the Magnificat. It is a sublime pearl from an era rich in choral glory.

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