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13 April 2024
O Magnum Mysterium: Music for Christmas from Clifton Cathedral

Choir of Clifton Cathedral
Christopher Walker (conductor)
John Gibbons (organ)

This collection of Christmas carols and organ music mixes together both the well-known and the relatively unknown. It ranges across the centuries – from the ancient Coventry Carol through to Poulenc’s radiantly beautiful setting of O Magnum Mysterium. The inclusion of Jacob Handl’s Resonet In Laudibus, Sweelinck’s Hodie Christus Natus Est and In Dulci Jubilo reflects the choir’s consistent championship of music from the Renaissance era as well as more modern influences.
The remainder of the programme is made up of largely well-known carols, though occasionally in an arrangement that throws unexpected new light on to these favourites. Spread amongst the choir items are four Chorale Preludes by J.S.Bach. Two from the Schübler collection and two from the Orgelbuchlein – a large collection of Chorale Preludes for every season of the year. The two chorale preludes from the Schübler collection are not Christmas pieces but instead call people to prepare for the birth of Christ. They are both arrangements by Bach of movements from two of his Cantatas. The final piece is a Noël by Daquin, a Parisian who wrote a collection of twelve Noëls based on ancient country dances.


J. Handl: Resonet In laudibus

W. J. Kirkpatrick, transcr. G. Mendham: Away in a manger

English trad. transcr. David Willcocks: Sussex Carol

Johann Sebastian Bach: Wachet Auf, BWV 645

Francis Poulenc: O magnum mysterium

Johann Sebastian Bach: Gelobet Seist Du, Jesu Christ, BWV 604

Der Tag, Der Ist So Freudenreich, BWV 605

Coventry Carol (original 1591 version)

J. P. Sweelinck: Hidie Christus natus est

Johann Sebastian Bach: In dulci jubilo, BWV 608

Old German Tune, transcr. R. Pearsall: In dulci jubilo

F. Gruber, transcr. C. Walker: Silent Night

Johann Sebastian Bach: Kommst du nun, Jesu, vom Himmell, BWV 650

H. Darke: In the bleak midwinter

P. Warlock: Bethlehem Down

Cölner Gesangbuch 1623, transcr. D Wulstan: Echo Carol

Louis-Claude Daquin: Noël Suisse

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