The prophet foretells the coming of the Saviour. LESSON TEXT
The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
SATB unaccompanied. Bennett's Five Carols all providing something fresh and uplifting for a carol service. 'Out of your sleep' is sprightly and energetic, and is sure to make an impact on singer and listener alike.
For unto us a child is bornHandel, George Frideric
SATB & organ. As an individual piece, this movement from Messiah is perfect for any Christian setting, especially during the Christmas season.
Creator of the stars of nightJackson, Gabriel
SATB & organ. This mellifluous Advent setting opens in a still and contemplative mood reminiscent of plainsong before a thrilling section heralded by the first entry of the organ. The piece finishes as it began - a perfect Advent blend of meditation and drama.
Carol of the BellsLeontovych, Mykola Dmytrovych
SATB unaccompanied. Ukrainian traditional carol. Christmas is here, bringing good cheer - Merry Christmas!
O OriensMcDowall, Cecilia
SSATB (with divisions) unaccompanied
A setting of one of the seven Advent 'O' Antiphons, O Oriens makes use of luxurious and exotic harmonies, creating a shimmering texture reminiscent of the biblical Morning Star referenced in the title. The focus on human enlightenment in winter's darkness means the piece is equally suitable for secular celebrations of Christmas. It was commissioned for the Choir of Merton College, Oxford, and in 2013 was shortlisted for a British Composer Award.
I heard the bells on Christmas DayNewton-Rex, Ed
Composer's note "There are already well-known settings of this text, most notably Bing Crosby's 1956 recording of Johnny Marks' interpretation; however, people (including Crosby) have tended to omit the central, more overtly historical verses. I wanted to write a setting that included these, as they are critical to the effect of Longfellow's poem, written as it was during the American Civil War and at a time of great personal difficulty for the poet, not long after the death of his second wife and the injury of his son in battle. The bells of the carol's title feature in the melodic spans of an octave and in the directional, often scalar movement between these extremities, taking inspiration from the art of change ringing; and not too much should be made of the irregular, alternating time signatures, which are merely intended to reflect the natural rhythm of the text." - Ed Newton-Rex
Amuworo ayi otu nwa (For unto us a child is born)Onyeji, Christian
SATB unaccompanied. This vibrant setting of Isaiah 9:6 draws on the rhythms and textures of modern Nigerian art music. The predominantly homophonic texture is interspersed with solo lines, in a setting full of dynamic contrast.
How beautiful upon the mountainsStainer, John
A sublime tune given to each part in turn in a short anthem which sits very happily next to the Old Testament readings. If you are put off by the 'Crucifixion', don't be - this is a beautiful piece to sing and listen to.
God is with usTavener, John
A Christmas proclamation for tenor (or baritone) solo, SATB choir and organ. This work was commissioned by Winchester Cathedral in tribute to Martin Neary for his work at Winchester Cathedral during the years 1972-1987. It was first performed in December 1987 by the Choir of Winchester Cathedral conducted by Martin Neary.
Alleluya, a new work is come on handWishart, Peter
SATB unaccompanied. This is a dazzling choral tour de force, composed in 1952 by Peter Wishart. Rapidly overlapping entries and sophisticated counter-rhythms, combined with luscious chord clusters, make this a brilliant fanfare.