Luke 1: 26-35; 38
The angel Gabriel salutes the Blessed Virgin Mary.
And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
The angel Gabriel salutes the Blessed Virgin Mary.
- Angelus ad virginemBarnett, Carol
SATB with divisi, unaccompanied, with optional tambourine. This is a spirited arrangement of the popular fourteenth-century carol, with an optional part for tambourine in the final verse.
- Ave MariaBiebl, Franz
SATB with SAT trio unaccompanied and plainchant intonations. Quite simply, once heard - never forgotten.
- Hymn to the Virgin, ABritten, Benjamin
SATB & SATB solo quartet. Composed by Britten at the age of 16 during a spell in the school sanatorium at Gresham's in Norfolk, this is a marvellous, atmospheric masterpiece.
- Rose of such virtueBullard, Alan
SSATB unaccompanied. This enchanting setting of the well-known medieval text combines expressive harmonies with gently interweaving lines for solo or soli voices. A beautifully written Advent miniature, Rose of such virtue will appeal to choirs and audiences alike.
- Ave MariaCaccini, Giulio
SATB & piano. Haunting and hypnotic, this setting has become very well-known in recent years, thanks to recording artists like Charlotte Church and Andrea Bocelli.
- Angelus ad virginemCarter, Andrew
SATB & organ. Traditional carol setting this Latin text in a lively and interesting arrangement by Andrew Carter.
- Maiden most gentle, ACarter, Andrew
SATB & organ. This pretty and effortless carol has a winning melody and good variety of texture. Words paraphrased from the Venerable Bede.
- Mary's MagnificatCarter, Andrew
Soprano Solo, SATB & organ. Written in 1986, this beautiful piece includes words by the composer himself, interspersed with the Magnificat verses from St Luke's Gospel.
- Angel Gabriel, TheChilcott, Bob
SS & piano. A charming and straightforward setting of a poetic text by Sabine Baring-Gould, this delightful carol is characterized by a simple and effective melody. The voices are in unison for much of the piece, dividing in the latter part to proclaim the marvel of Christ's birth.
- Christmas-tideChilcott, Bob
SATB & organ. A combination of tender, flowing melody, understated harmonies, and a simple accompaniment, this moving cradle-song describes Mary's love for her child from the perspective of another young mother and her newborn baby.
- Nova! Nova!Chilcott, Bob
SATB unaccompanied This gutsy folk-inspired Advent carol is original and contemporary without losing the raw fervour of its medieval model. With its rhythm punchy and driven, and its harmony strong and bare, the piece demands great energy from the performers.
- So fair and brightChilcott, Bob
SSAA & piano. This lively setting of the medieval 'Hymn to the Virgin' text has a sparkling piano accompaniment, syncopated rhythms, and real flair.
- Joys SevenCleobury, Stephen
SSAATTBB & organ. Unsurprisingly, a regular favourite in the King's College Cambridge Christmas carol service, this classic arrangement by Dr Cleobury is very singable, with straightforward organ accompaniment.
- Second EveGjeilo, Ola
SSAATTBB unaccompanied. The composer writes, "In some of my pieces, the text is somewhat more the servant of the music than the other way around, and Second Eve is one of those works. The music is mainly inspired by a breathtaking photography taken by one of my favorite photographers, Jake Rajs, featured in the book These United States (Rizzoli). It is a picture of Alaska's Mount McKinley, the highest mountain peak in the US, and I was looking at this photo throughout the writing process, making sure that the energy and atmosphere of the music corresponded with the feeling I got from looking at the picture. The Sancta Maria text seemed to kind of fit into what I was looking for in this piece, expressing something mystical, and kind of regal, which Mt. McKinley is in every way."
- I sing of a maidenHadley, Patrick
SS & organ. Beautiful, relaxed carol for upper voices and organ.
- Salve ReginaHowells, Herbert
SSATBB unaccompanied. A hymn to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Quite simply, lush!
- Blessed be that maid MarieIrving, Dominic
Winner in the 'A Carol for Christmas' competition, Blessed Be That Maid Marie has been beautifully scored for SATB chorus with divisions. The languid flow of the music with some harmonic twists hides within it several well-known carols and tunes that relate to each section of text.
- There is no roseJoubert, John
SATB unaccompanied. Possibly the most effective setting of these anonymous 15th-century words. The vocal lines have a wonderful, singable shape to them.
- There is no roseMcGrath, Ethan
SATB unacc (with divisi). Expressive and rich, both harmonically and emotionally. The melodies have a chant-like quality and the metrical changes create a compelling ebb and flow. This carol is evocative of an ancient choral tradition, while at the same time offering a fresh choral sound.
- Angel Gabriel, TheMoore, Philip
SATB & organ. Commissioned by Daniel Hyde and the Choir of King's College, Cambridge, for A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, Christmas Eve 2019. In Memoriam Sir Stephen Cleobury (1948-2019)
- Ave maris stellaPark, Owain
SATB with divisi, unaccompanied. An original setting of an anonymous plainsong, dedicated to the Richard III Society, George Haynes and the St. Peter's Singers.
- Ave MariaParsons, Robert
SAATB unaccompanied. Of course, there are any number of settings of Ave Maria, but this may be the most well-known from the Tudor period, with a sublime 'Amen'. Parsons was an English composer who died by drowning in the River Trent in Newark, Notts.
- Angel Gabriel, ThePettman, Edgar
SATB unaccompanied. Straightforward and familiar four-part setting of this favourite carol.
- As Joseph was a-walkingPott, Francis
SATB unaccompanied. As Joseph was a-walking is a beautifully serene and atmospheric setting of traditional words on the prophecy of Christ's birth as told to Joseph by an angel. With rich harmonies, striking chromatic moments, and appealing contours, this is an ideal carol for more able choirs.
- Bogoroditse DyevoRachmaninov, Sergei
SATB unaccompanied. An extract from the All-Night Vigil Op. 37, this is a moving Eastern Orthodox setting of the text more familiarly known in its Latin version, Ave Maria.
- I sing of a maidenRutter, John
SATB and organ or piano or orchestra. Setting a well-loved medieval text, this effective piece paints the story of Jesus through lyrical melodies and beautiful harmonic surprises. The vocal lines offer both powerful intensity and skilful dialogue, and are supported by a pulsing keyboard part.
- There is no roseSmith, Alan
SATB unaccompanied. Alan Smith provides a lush, floating, contemporary setting to this traditional text. Gentle and with a captivating melody, this highly accessible anthem is a true gem for the Christmas season and provides a welcome addition to the repertoire.
- There is no roseSpicer, Paul
SATB with divisi. These well-known words seem endlessly fruitful for the composer and conjure up such lovely images which strike each of us in our own way. For Paul Spicer it was the beauty of the language with its flower imagery which made him want to set the words with richly warm harmony and to temper that with gently imitative refrains. The result is a beautifully expressive and approachable short carol which would be a welcome alternative to other well-known settings of this text.
- As Joseph was a-walkingThurlow, Jeremy
SATB with divisi, unaccompanied. These words of this carol, full of colours and rich in symbolism, are from the Cherry Tree Carol, a popular folk carol telling a legend which goes back at least as far as the Coventry Mystery Plays. The main tune should have an easy-going lilt, which turns into light, sprightly dancing for the refrain.
- Blessed be that maid MarieTreseder, Gareth
SSATB unaccompanied. "Blessed be that Maid Marie" was premiered by the BBC Singers at St Giles' Cripplegate, and broadcast on BBC Radio 3 broadcast in December 2012."Blessed be that Maid Marie" is essentially a traditional strophic carol. Whilst the choruses remain unchanged, subtle melodic variants in each successive verse give the work a jaunty and bright dance-like character.
- Hymne a la ViergeVillette, Pierre
SATB unaccompanied. A lush and resonant hymn to the Virgin. Very French, very lovely indeed.
- Of one that is so fair and brightWhitbourn, James
Carol for SATB, words 13th century.
- Angelus ad virginemWillcocks, David
SATB & organ. Latin text, jaunty arrangement, including a fine organ accompaniment.
- Angelus ad virginemWillcocks, David
SSA & organ. Latin text, jaunty arrangement, including a fine organ accompaniment. NB - links are to mixed voices recordings.