Brighter than the Sun

A Cantata for Christmas

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’

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.

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