Verbum caro factum est: Advent and Christmas Music from Portsmouth | Herald HAVPCD407

Verbum caro factum est: Advent and Christmas Music from Portsmouth


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Label: Herald

Cat No: HAVPCD407

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Christmas

Release Date: 12th October 2018



‘Verbum caro factum est’ is an album of beautiful music for Advent and Christmas by the Choir of Portsmouth Cathedral directed by David Price, recorded at the Cathedral’s Carol Services in December 2017.

This setting of the Matin Responsory by Sarah MacDonald, Director of Music at Selwyn College, Cambridge, was written for the college’s chapel choir at Advent 2016. MacDonald uses a quartet of SSAT soloists to sing each of the verses, whilst the choir is used sparingly to sing the refrain ‘Tell us, art thou he that should come to reign over thy people Israel?’ This gives the impression of longing, with the choir serving as the people of Israel awaiting the birth of a Redeemer.

Andrew Carter’s setting of the 15th-century French hymn tune Veni Emmanuel uses various combinations of the choral forces available to reflect the ancient text - with a strong, forte tenor and bass verse singing of ‘Satan’s tyranny’ and a lighter, more gently accompanied soprano verse talking of ‘Dispersing the gloomy clouds of night.’ The final verse sees the altos and sopranos in a powerful descant which, combined with the tierce de Picardie at the end truly enforces the idea of ‘Rejoice!’

The 19th-century French composer Adolphe Adam’s O Holy Night remains one of the most treasured of all carols and here, in John Rutter’s arrangement, it takes on a new lease of life. With the verses passed around the choir, the climax of the work comes just a few bars from the end with a soaring top B flat from the first sopranos to mirror the word ‘glory’.

David Price is Organist and Master of the Choristers at Portsmouth Cathedral. Before he came to Portsmouth he was Assistant Organist of Ely Cathedral having previously held Organ Scholarships at Rochester Cathedral and Croydon Parish Church.

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