Sunday 28 December 2008

Christmas Music

We spent Christmas in Canterbury and managed to attend a couple of services at the Cathedral. The cathedral choir does amazing work at this period, in the 25 hours from 3pm on Dec 24th to 4pm on Christmas day they sang a carol service, evensong, matins, sung eucharist and finally evensong again. An amazing tally.

For Christmas eve Evensong they did the Lloyd Responses (second set), the Nunc Dimittis from Wood in B flat and Praetorius's Omnis mundus jucundetur. The Magnificat was sung plainchant, preceded and followed by the Antiphon O Virgo virginum, the previous 10 days having been devoted to all the great O anthems. Wood in B flat was unfamiliar to me but proved to be sung in Latin and richly romantic.

On Christmas day we were treated to a crisp performance of Poulenc's Hodie Christus natus est, a wonderful account of RVW's Te Deum and Walton's Jubilate. This latter was striking and also unknown to me. The anthem was Britten's Sycamore Tree. All were given in strong performances which made due allowance for the cathedral's acoustic and formed a moving start to Christmas day.

We did not wait for Sung Eucharist (and hence missed the Archbishop's sermon). The setting for the service was Mozart's Spaurmesse.

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