Christmas Concert 2006

Hodie Christus Natus Est
by Cheryl Camm


Cheryl Camm was born in Worksop, England, and travelled to New Zealand in 1987, after completing an honours degree in Composition at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. She has since completed Master of Music and Doctor of Music degrees (both specialising in composition) at Auckland University. Between 1993 and 1994, the Arts Council of New Zealand employed Cheryl as their Composer in Schools, firstly in Auckland, then Dunedin. It was during this time she completed Hodie Christus Natus Est. During 1996, Cheryl was the Mozart Fellow (a fellowship for established composers) at Otago University in Dunedin and is currently resident in Northumberland, England.

Coventry Carol
Trad. (16th Century)
Modern version by Martin Shaw

The Coventry Carol is a Christmas carol dating from the 16th Century. The author is unknown, but the carol has been performed in Coventry as part of a play called The Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors. The play depicts the Massacre of the Innocents, an episode from the Gospel of Matthew in which Herod orders all male infants in Bethlehem to be killed.

Richard Rodney Bennett


Richard Rodney Bennett was born in Broadstairs (England). He has been an active performer, especially as a jazz pianist/singer. He is a prolific composer of a wide range of styles. This lilting cradle-song is sung by the women of the Southern Consort of Voices.

Three Christmas Carols
Vinicius Grefiens

Vinicius Grefiens was educated, and later taught score reading at the Budapest Conservatory. Grefiens composed mostly choral music, which is characterised by a harnmonically modal treatment of original folk tunes with asymetric meters (5 or 7 beats). The first two of Grefiens’ Three Christmas Carols belong to his cycle “The Time of Caroling”. The final piece is part of another group of “Carols from Romanaţi”. These are all carols with a religious connotation, without necessarily being sacred.

Ave Maria
by Franz Biebl

In 1964, Biebl was approached by a fireman from his church choir and asked to compose something for a choral competition that the fire station choir was to perform in.  Biebl wrote the Ave Maria for a double male choir. The Ave Maria has subsequently been rearranged to suit other vocal groupings. The piece gained practically no attention in Germany for many years. When the American group Chanticleer recorded it, it became a hit in the US and then also in Germany.

Cantor: Peter Tozer (Bass)
Semi-chorus: Cherie Stayner, Kathryn Whitwell (Soprano), Alison Tait, Ulrika Harris (Alto), Andrew Moore and Rhys Thorn (Tenor).



Los pastores a Belen
Trad. (Spanish)
arr. Gregory Rose

Los pastores a Belen is a traditional Spanish Christmas carol telling of the shepherds running to Bethlehem to see Jesus in the manger. This is the fifth carol in a set of five arranged by Gregory Rose.


Es ist ein Ros entsprungen
(16th century)
harmonised by Michael Praetorious

Michael Praetorious included this harmonisation in his collection entitled Musae Sioniae (1609). The text first appeared in the Al­te Ca­thol­ische Geist­liche Kirch­en­ge­säng (Köln, Ger­ma­ny: 1599). The first version has two verses, but there have been several more added over time. Theodore Baker provided an English translation in 1894. It is commonly sung as the hymn “A great and might wonder”.

Past Three a clock
Trad. (English)
harmonised by Charles Wood


The tune for  “Past three a clock” was printed in the 3rd edition of The English Dancing Master (1665) as a simple tune called “The call of the London waits”.  The London waits were town watchman in the middle ages and then became a band of civic musicians in the 17th century. William Chappell supplied  the (authentic) words to the first section of the call. Charles Wood took the London call from Chappell, reharmonised it, and G. R. Woodward set words to the verse section.
Soloist: Peter Tozer (Bass)


Ceremony of Carols  op.28
Benjamin Britten (1913-1976)
Arranged by Julius Harrison

The Ceremony of Carols was inspired by Britten’s discovery of “The English Galaxy of Shorter Poems”, which he purchased in Nova Scotia.  He composed seven of the carols during the remaining voyage to Britain in 1942. The final version was completed in 1943 and premiered by the Morriston Boys’ choir on December 4th. The immense popularity of “A Ceremony of Carols” led later to the SATB version heard today arranged by Julius Harrison and published in 1955. The choir also marks the 30th anniversary of Britten’s death (December 4th, 1976).

2. Wolcum Yole
3. There is no rose
4b. Balulalow                             Soloist: Cherie Stayner     (Soprano)
5. As dew in Aprille
6. This little babe


L’Adieu des Bergers (Shepherds farewell)
Hector Berlioz from L’Enfance du Christ


The chorus of shepherds in the second part of L’ Enfance du Christ was the origin of the work. Composed casually, on the corner of a table during a party, it was attributed to Pierre Ducre, director of music at the Sainte Chapelle in 1679. Warmly welcomed at its first performance, the chorus was augmented by the addition of two other pieces, to make up the Fuite en Egypte (The Flight into Egypt). In 1854 Berlioz added the Songe d’ Herode (Herod’s Dream) and the Arrivee a Sais (Arrival at Sais), giving the work its definitive form.


Sussex Carol
Trad. (English)
Arranged by David Willcocks

Sussex Carol is a Christmas carol popular in Britain. Its words were first published by an Irish bishop, Luke Wadding in a work called Small Garland of Pious and Godly Songs. Both the text and the tune to which it is now sung were discovered and written down by Cecil Sharp and Ralph Vaughan Williams, who heard it being sung by a Harriet Verrall of Monk’s Gate, Sussex (hence “Sussex Carol”). The tune Williams took down from Mrs Verrall was published in 1919.