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Musings from the Artistic Director

Musical Weekly: The Twelve Days of Christmas, A Narrative of Carols

Enthusiasm is building for our holiday  concerts, “The Twelve Days of Christmas: A Narrative of Carols,” THIS WEEKEND!  I’m pleased to say that the readers for each concert (there are 12 readings, one for each “Day”) include David Rutherford, conductor of the Stratus Chamber Orchestra and former “Sacred Classics” host on KVOD, as well as my wife MB Krueger (who is not a singer in this repertoire due to scheduling conflicts.  I knew many of you would be disappointed not to see her face in the choir), as well as one more mystery individual (a request is pending due to one intended reader having had to back out…).

Here’s a list of the pieces in the concert, again, to whet your holiday appetite:

Ave Maria, Franz Biebl (1906-2001)
Audience Sing Along: “The Angel Gabriel” [Gabriel’s Message]
Beata viscera Mariae, William Byrd (1543-1623)
Magnificat, Eriks Esenvalds (2006)
Puer natus, Gregorian chant
Audience Sing Along: “O little town of Bethlehem” [St. Louis]
“A spotless rose,” Herbert Howells (1892-1983)
O magnum mysterium, Morten Lauridsen
In dulci jubilo, arr. Robert L. Pearsall (1795-1856)
Gloria in excelsis, Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Audience Sing Along: “O come, all ye faithful” [Adeste fidelis]
Abendfeier, Clara Schumann (1819-1896)
Videntes stellam, Francis Poulenc (1899-1963)
Audience Sing Along: “We three kings” [Three Kings of Orient]
The Three Kings, Healey Willan (1880-1968)
Vox in Rama, Mikolaj Zielinski (1560-1620)
Audience Sing along: “Lully, lullay” [Coventry Carol]
Nunc dimittis, Charles Wood (1866-1926)
The Twelve Days of Christmas, Traditional, arr. Copper (1976)

Some familiar favorites, some out-of-the-way curiosities, and some soon-to-be favorites, all arranged in a narrative of the nativity.  The perfect choral complement to anyone’s holiday season!

  • Fri, Dec. 20, 7:30pm – St. John’s Episcopal Cathedal, Denver
  • Sat., Dec. 21, 7:30pm – First Plymouth Congregational, Cherry Hills Village
  • Sun., Dec. 22, 3:00pm – Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Wheat Ridge

The last Evensong before Christmas (and, by the way, there will be NO Evensong on Thurs., Dec. 26) marks the Feast of St. Thomas, one of the 12 apostles.  Thomas can probably identify with anyone who has a birthday within a few days of Christmas, his feast day being Dec. 21, and therefore totally ignored by 99% of Christians!  There will be about 12 singers at this service, accompanied by organ, and the very pleasant Walmisley Mag and Nunc in D major (not his more famous D minor service, but wonderful nonetheless).

December 19, 2019, 5:45pm, Choral Evensong: St. Thomas (anticipated)
Responses: Herbert Sumsion (1895-1974)
Canticle of Light: Hail Gladdening Light! bu Charles Wood (1866-1926)
Psalm: 126 – plainchant
Service: Thomas Walmisley (1814-1856) in D major
Anthem: “O Lord, increase our faith” by Henry Loosemore
Office Hymn: 209 (St. Botolph)

And on the last Sunday before Christmas (the Fourth Sunday of Advent), the focus is on the Virgn Mary and the Annuciation.  Here’s the music for this Sunday’s anticipation of Christmas Eve:

December 22, 2019, Advent 4
*Introit: “The Angel Gabriel,” Basque carol, arr. David Willcocks (1975)
Anthem: “The Lord will come” by Henry G. Ley (1887-1962)
Fraction Anthem: “Given for us” by Tomas Luis de Victoria (1548-1611)
Communion motet: “People look east,” Besançon Carol, arr. W. Stanley Vann (1984)
Hymns: 56 (Veni Emmanuel), *72 (Richmond), 54 (Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland), 66 (Stuttgart)
*11:00 only