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and other Winter choral favourites
performed by candlelight
FRIDAY 20th January 2012 at 7:00pm

Featuring :Girls and Men of All Saints, with Rowena

Bass (Harp) and Roger Palmer (Organ & Piano), directed

by Lee Dunleavy


During the post-Epiphany season we perform a programme of music inspired by the Birth of Jesus Christ. The Girls’ Choir are joined by Rowena Bass to perform Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols. After three very successful years in America, Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears boarded a Swedish cargo vessel, the Axel Johnson, on the 16th March 1942 for their return to Britain. It was a long and boring journey that took nearly a month. U-boat activity was at its height so it was probably rather frightening too. At this time Britten had started Hymn to St. Cecilia and a piece for Benny Goodman. He intended to finish these on board but customs officials confiscated the manuscripts on the doubtful proposition that they could be a secret code. (Britten managed to restart and finish 'Hymn' but the Goodman Piece was lost forever). During the voyage they berthed at Halifax, Nova Scotia, where Britten came across a book of medieval poems and some of these he set

during the voyage as the 'Ceremony of Carols'. It is an unusual setting in eleven movements for upper voices and harp; one particular feature is that the first movement begins outside the Church, with the choir slowly processing in whilst singing the plainsong – Hodie Christus natus est!

The Girls’ Choir are joined by the pianist Roger Palmer to perform two settings of A New Year Carol by Britten and Howells, who set the same text for the same forces in quite different ways. They are joined by the Choral Scholars and Lay Clerks for a rare performance of Howells’ richly chromatic Tryste Noël, dedicated to Sir David Willcocks and John Rutter, and movements from Charpentier’s invigorating Messe de Minuit pour noël. The concert will last around 75 minutes without an interval.

Tickets cost £10 with £7 concessions (UB40, Student Card, Pensioners, proof must be provided at the door) and are available for purchase by credit or debit card on the website here. £5 tickets are available to members of the Friends of All Saints’ Music; these can only be purchased directly from the Music Department. Limited tickets will be available on the night from “doors open” at 6:30pm. The Church is wheelchair-accessible and has a suite of modern lavatories. For more information please contact the Music Department on 01604 623845 or e-mail


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