A Tudor Christmas
A Tudor Christmas
Imagine yourself in the fine surroundings of the Great Hall of Christ Church, Oxford, with a programme of Tudor sacred and secular music including music by Henry VIII, one of Christ Church's founders, and choral works associated with Christ Church during its first century.
1. Pastime with good company Henry VIII (1491-1547)
2. Coventry carol 16th century
Soloists: Tom King, Brian Chapman, William Gaunt
3. Rorate coeli William Byrd (c.1540-1623)
Soloists: Nicholas Haigh, John Cotton, Adrian Lowe
4. Consort Henry VIII
5. Christe Jesu, pastor bone John Taverner (c.1490-1545)
6. Consort Henry VIII
7. This is the record of John Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625)
Soloist: Tom King
8. Ave Maria Robert Parsons (c.1530-1570)
9. Remember O thou man Thomas Ravenscroft (c.1590-c.1633)
Soloists: Nicolas Haigh, Alexander Thompson, William Gaunt
10. Consort Henry VIII
11. While shepherds watched Christopher Tye (c.1505-1573)
12. From virgin's womb William Byrd
Soloists: John Cotton
13. Consort Henry VIII
14. Laudate nomen Christopher Tye
15. O nata lux Thomas Tallis (c.1505-1585)
16. Magnificat from 1st Service John Sheppard (c.1520-c.1560)
17. Sweet was the song 16th century
Soloist: Alexander Thompson
18. Quid petis, o fili Richard Pygott (c.1485-1552)
Soloists: John Cotton, Tim Dallosso, Tom King, Brian Chapman,
Gabriel Vick, William Gaunt, Timothy Whiteley, Angus Wilson
19. Consort Henry VIII
20. Hosanna to the Son of David Thomas Weelkes (1575-1623)
The Choir of Christ Church, Oxford
Directed by Stephen Darlington
Libby Burgess, organ
Victoria Davies, harp
Recorded in Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford July 2004
Solo harp recorded at Jericho Farm Studios
Stephen Darlington and Christ Church Choir are represented by Val Fancourt Management:
Cover image: Minstrels entertaining at a feast from the workshop of Gerart Horenbout & Simon Bening (1483-1561) Book of Hours, or the Golf Book (c.1520)
P & C 2004 Classical Communications Ltd
Made in Great Britain
A Tudor Christmas
Although Christ Church Cathedral Choir is 500 years old, it is justly famous for the youthfulness of its sound and its daring and adventurous musical programming. Unique in the world as both Cathedral and College choir, the intimate acoustic of its musical home, Oxford's 12th-century Cathedral, has given it a relationship with early sacred music which is second to none.
There has been a choir at Christ Church since 1526 when John Taverner became Organist and Master of the Choristers. The statutes of Cardinal Wolsey's magnificent college, which he called 'Cardinal College', envisaged thirty singing priests and twenty clerks, in addition to sixteen choristers. Before the College could be completed Wolsey fell from favour and died in 1530. Henry VIII's new foundation uniting the See of Oxford with the College, was now called Christ Church, and became the Cathedral Church of the diocese.
The present choir consists of sixteen boy choristers and twelve men, of whom six are professional Lay Clerks, whilst the remainder are undergraduates (Academical Clerks) at Christ Church, reading for degrees in a wide variety of subjects. Under its director Stephen Darlington, the choir has maintained a position as one of the top Cathedral choirs in the country achieving particular recognition for music of the 16th and 20th centuries. Apart from Cathedral services, the choir has a busy programme of concert tours and recording both in the UK and abroad. This has led to the choir's recognition throughout the world for its excellence. It has performed regularly in all the major London concert venues, appearing at the Proms, the Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Royal Festival Hall and St. John's Smith Square as well as the London Palladium. There have been extensive tours throughout Europe (East and West), to America (North and South), and Australia.
The choir has a strong history of recording, involving collaboration with many orchestras such as the English Chamber Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, English String Orchestra, Hanover Band, English Concert, Academy of Ancient Music and London Musici. Discs include music by Aston and Ashwell, Byrd, De Monte, Esteves, Haydn, Janacek, Lassus, Martin, Palestrina, Poulenc, Purcell, Pygott, Sheppard, Taverner, Vaughan Williams, Victoria, Vivaldi and Weelkes, as well as important twentieth-century composers such as Britten, Goodall, Matthias, Tavener, Tippett and Walton. Several of these CDs have won awards: Vaughan Williams, An Oxford Elegy was nominated for a Grammy Award. Palestrina, Missa Dum Complerentur, Victoria Missa Dum Complerentur, Tippett and Walton Choral Works have also won prestigious awards. Recent releases, Haydn, Stabat Mater and De Monte, Masses and Motets have received Gramophone magazine recommendations.
The choir broadcasts regularly on television, and can be heard singing the theme tunes for 'Mr. Bean' and 'The Vicar of Dibley'. It was the subject of a recent Channel 4 television documentary in which it was hailed as 'one of the finest choirs on Earth'. The film was nominated at the prestigious Montreux TV Festival in the Arts Programme category - and has since been seen throughout the world. The choir has also featured on Howard Goodall's three BAFTA award-winning series 'Big Bangs', 'Great Dates' and '20th Century Greats' for Channel Four.
Christ Church Cathedral Choir