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A Christmas showcase for contemporary and women composers

Our Christmas Gala Concert 2019 is, as always, a fantastic mix of festive music which spans the centuries. We are particularly pleased this year to include many pieces by contemporary composers including three women.

The imaginative programme includes Ben Parry’s arrangement of Jingle Bells, Jonathan Dove’s Seek him that maketh the seven stars, three close harmony pieces by Peter Gritton and, including a piece by a member of the choir!

Judith Bingham – Corpus Christi Carol

Judith Bingham is an award-winning contemporary composer; she studied at the Royal Academy of Music, winning the Principal’s Prize, and has also been awarded BBC Young Composer of the year, the Barlow Prize and two British Composer awards.

We will be singing her Corpus Christi Carol in our concert. The words to this piece are anonymous; they were found in 1504 by Richard Hill, who included them in his ‘memorandum’ book of medieval carols and poems. They tell of a wounded knight with a maid weeping at his bed side, possibly representing Jesus, bleeding for the world.

Esther Kay – Tribus Miraculis

Esther Kay, one of our altos, read Music at Oxford, where her special subject was History of Wind Instruments with performance on an 18th century flute. In Herefordshire she teaches flute, clarinet, singing and theory in local schools, with a particular interest in coaching ensembles from wind quartets to ceilidh bands. She plays flute for the cabaret group “Alive and Brel” and is also a member of the Ringerike ceilidh band. She is currently working on a cantata based on the life of the Virgin Mary.

Tribus Miraculis was written for the Hereford Cathedral Voluntary Choir and their Director, Peter Dyke in 2016, and first performed as part of the Hereford Cathedral Epiphany Carol service in 2017.

The three miracles are announced in declamatory style. The first miracle depicted is the brilliant star leading the dogged steps of the Wise Men to their goal – the crib. The second miracle is the exuberant bubbling over of water changed to wine at the Wedding at Cana. The third miracle is an echo of the first, as Jesus makes his way to baptism, the beginning of His journey to our salvation. The final Alleluia bubbles over like the wine at the wedding.

Annabel McLaughlan Rooney – Gaudete

After studying music at Christ’s College, Cambridge (receiving an instrumental award on the cello), Annabel McLaughlan Rooney completed a MPhil and PhD in eighteenth century opera. She now works as a composer, mainly of choral music, as well as performing as a soloist and with ensembles.

We will be singing her setting of Gaudete. The text was published in Piae Cantiones in 1581 and follows a standard pattern of four lines preceded by a two-line refrain.

We do hope that you will join us to listen to these wonderful pieces, full programme list below! Tickets are available from Ticketsource .

Anton Bruckner – Virga Jesse

Arranged by Peter Gritton – Have yourself a very merry little Christmas

Herbert Howells – Sing Lullaby

Hector Berlioz – Shepherd’s Farewell

Judith Bingham – Corpus Christi Carol

Esther Kay – Tribus miraculis

Annabel Rooney – Gaudete

Arranged by Ian Humphris – The 12 days of Christmas

Giovanni Gabrieli – Hodie Christus natus est a 10

Peter Gritton – Follow that star

Michael Head – The Little Road to Bethlehem

Arranged by Ben Parry – Jingle bells

Arranged by David Willcocks – Sussex carol

Jonathan Dove – Seek him that maketh the seven stars

Luca Marenzio – Magnificat a 8

Arranged by Peter Gritton – Chestnuts roasting on an open fire

Arranged by Arthur Warrell – We wish you a merry Christmas

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