Brighter than the Sun

A Cantata for Christmas

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A miscellany of carols and scenes from the Mystery Plays on the theme of the Annunciation

Mary - soprano, The Angel Gabriel - tenor, Joseph - bass,  Choir - SATB, 

flute, horn, violin, viola, cello and harp       2011       38’

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This cantata, which takes as its theme the Annunciation, contains arrangements of four medieval carols for SATB choir with instrumental accompaniment (ad lib) and for which I have provided singing translations with the intention of making these beautiful pieces more accessible to contemporary choirs and audiences. The remaining movements are original and contain a semi-dramatic triptych: there are settings of two scenes extracted from the medieval mystery plays with the text freely adapted for musical purposes. A third, central scene is for Mary alone, in which she sings the Magnificat from the Book of Common Prayer. In addition, there are two short instrumental sonatas and a setting for sopranos and altos of the 13th century lyric known as a hymn to the Virgin. The work was created as a companion piece to the composer's English arrangement of Schütz' Christmas Story for a concert given by the Newbury Chamber Choir in December 2011. Although the cantata is designed to be performed as a whole, any sections from the work may be performed in any order.

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Recording of first performance, Newbury 2011 - Kristy Swift (soprano), Peter Wilman (tenor), Jeremy Hagan (bass), Newbury Chamber Choir & Players, conducted by Edward Lambert