Christmas at St George’s | Regent Records REGCD533

Christmas at St George’s

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Label: Regent Records

Cat No: REGCD533

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Christmas

Release Date: 16th November 2018

Contents

Artists

The Choir of St George’s Cathedral, Southwark
Frederick Stocken (organ)
Simon Desbruslais (trumpet)

Conductor

Norman Harper

Artists

The Choir of St George’s Cathedral, Southwark
Frederick Stocken (organ)
Simon Desbruslais (trumpet)

Conductor

Norman Harper

About

We are pleased to welcome the excellent Choir of St George’s Roman Catholic Cathedral in Southwark in their first recording on the Regent label. The recording is directed by Norman Harper – who retires from the Cathedral at Christmas 2018 – and is colourfully accompanied by the Cathedral’s organist, Frederick Stocken.

An unusual selection of choral music for Christmas, framed by four of the great Christmas hymns, and six Gregorian antiphons for the two main Masses of the nativity celebration – Christmas Midnight Mass and the Mass for Christmas Day.

The recording features first recordings of new carols and arrangements by Francis Duffy, Timothy Craig Harrison, Christian Strover, and Norman Harper, together with a rare recording of James MacMillan’s motet In splendoribus sanctorum with its virtuoso trumpet interludes, brilliantly played by Simon Desbruslais.

Gregorian chant is the traditional sung prayer of the Roman Catholic Church, and at St George’s Cathedral it forms a fundamental part of Sunday Solemn Mass and the great celebrations of the church’s year. Here we have included the Introit, Offertory and Communion antiphons for the Masses at Christmas Midnight and on Christmas Day.

The musical tradition which currently thrives at St George’s dates from 2000, when Nick Gale was appointed Director of Music. He built up a choral tradition based on a group of professional lay clerks and boys from various catholic schools within the Diocese of Southwark, and also north of the Thames. Provision was made for choral scholars, boys whose voices were changing and who would learn to sing alto, tenor or bass alongside the lay clerks. With these forces Solemn Mass was established as the main weekly choral service, with Gregorian Chant and polyphony at its heart, and with all Mass settings and motets sung in Latin, by a wide range of composers.

The Girls’ Choir was founded shortly afterwards, recruited from a wide variety of London schools, initially singing their own repertoire. Over the years the Boys’ and Girls’ Choirs have developed to the point where they exchange rôles, and sing together for special services, thus enjoying equal status within the Cathedral’s musical life.

Contents:
1. Dominus dixit - Introit antiphon (Midnight Mass)
2. O come, all ye faithful (JF Wade, arr. Norman Harper)
3. Of one that is so fair and bright (Francis Duffy, arr. Timothy Craig Harrison)
4. Out of your sleep (Richard Rodney Bennett)
5. While shepherds watched (Este’s Psalter 1592, arr. Norman Harper)
6. O magnum mysterium (Tomás Luis de Victoria)
7. Silent Night (Franz Grüber, arr Norman Harper)
8. Lætentur cæli - Offertory antiphon (Midnight Mass)
9. God is with us: A Christmas Proclamation (John Tavener)
10. In splendoribus sanctorum - Communion antiphon (Midnight Mass)
11. In splendoribus sanctorum* (James MacMillan)
12. Puer natus est nobis - Introit antiphon (Christmas Day)
13. Welcome Yule (Norman Harper)
14. The Virgin’s Last Slumber Song (Christian Strover)
15. O little town of Bethlehem (English trad., arr. Ralph Vaughan Williams & Thomas Armstrong)
16. Tui sunt cæli - Offertory antiphon (Christmas Day)
17. Glory to the Christ Child (Alan Bullard)
18. Viderunt omnes - Communion antiphon (Christmas Day)
19. Once in royal David’s city (HJ Gauntlett, harm. AH Mann, arr. Philip Ledger)

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