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Christmas from Magdalen College, Oxford

Christmas from Magdalen College, Oxford

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Deo Gracias Anglia!

Ref: CDG1268

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The Choir of Magdalen College, Oxford present a programme of carols, anthems and organ music for Christmas which will inspire and uplift in equal measure. The sounds of boys’ voices soar in the warm and resonant acoustics of the fifteenth-century college chapel, with wonderful soloists drawn from the choir in an atmospheric selection featuring some of the greatest Christmas music of past and present.

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1 A Song of Peace (1909)
Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924)+
2 Hide not Thou Thy face from us, O Lord
Richard Farrant (c. 1530-80)
3 Ave Maria
attrib. Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611)
4 Fuga sopra il Magnificat ‘Meine Seele erhebt
den Herren’ BWV 733
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)*
5 Rorate caeli William Byrd (c. 1540-1623)
6 E’en so, Lord Jesus, quickly come
Paul Manz (1919-2009)
7 I am the Day (1999) Jonathan Dove (b. 1959)
8–13 Canonic Variations on ‘Vom Himmel Hoch’
BWV 769 Johann Sebastian Bach*
14 This is the truth sent from above
Trad. arr. Christopher Robinson (b. 1936)^
15 Hereford Carol Trad. arr. Christopher Robinson^
16 A Tender Shoot Otto Goldschmidt (1829-1907)
17 I saw three ships
Trad. arr. Simon Preston (b. 1938)+
18 What sweeter music (1995) John Rutter (b. 1945)^
19 No small wonder (1983) Paul Edwards (b. 1955)+
20 Look up, sweet Babe (1954)
Lennox Berkeley (1903-89)^
21 The Shepherds’ Farewell (1854)
Hector Berlioz (1803-69)+
22 Chorale Prelude on ‘In dulci jubilo’ BWV 729
Johann Sebastian Bach*
23 Spring in Winter (2001) John Woolrich (b. 1954)
24 O Holy Night
Adolphe Adam (1803-56) arr. Dudley Buck
25 Ding Dong Merrily On High
Trad. arr. Mack Wilberg (b. 1955) and
Peter Stevens (b. 1987)+
The Choir of Magdalen College, Oxford
Daniel Hyde, Informator Choristarum, Organ*
Benjamin Giddens, Sub Organist+
David Gerrard, Organ Scholar^

Cover image: The Adoration of Christ Stephen
Lochner (fl.1442–1451)/Alte Pinakothek/
Interfoto/The Bridgeman Art Library
P & C 2012 Classical Communications Ltd
Made in Great Britain

The nature of Oxford University terms is such that Christmas Day itself falls outside the College Choir’s usual pattern of choral services. Instead it is Advent which takes precedence – that wondrous season of expectant mystery, steeped in the devotion which Dr Rowan Williams has characterised as ‘pure sitting and breathing in the presence of the question mark’. For this reason much of the first part of this recording is dedicated to music suitable for Advent, looking forward to the coming of Christ in tones sometimes hushed and quiet, sometimes imprecatory and urgent. The idea is that the music follows that most familiar of Advent themes: that of turning darkness into light. We then turn to the repertoire of our carol services, contemplating the incarnation in a series of carols, some very familiar, some less so, but all redolent of the mystery and joy of the nativity of Christ. Within the mix, there are three pieces of solo organ music from J. S. Bach’s mammoth output, played by the College’s Informator Choristarum, Tutorial Fellow and Organist, Daniel Hyde.

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