Festive favourites and mince pies
Christmas at Crystal Palace
Corelli Christmas Concerto
Concerto Grosso Op.6, No.8 Christmas Concerto
Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713)
Vivace – Grave – Allegro
Adagio – Allegro – Adagio
Allegro – Pastoral (Largo)
If a single composition were to demonstrate the perfection reached in the development of the musical form known as the Concerto Grosso, it would have to be the Christmas Concerto by Corelli. In no comparable work has a similarly ideal balance been achieved between the soloists (the concertino) and the orchestra (the concerto grosso) within the framework of such small and perfect dimensions and it is for this reason that Corelli’s most famous concerto has been admired for well over two centuries.
The concertino in the Concerto Grosso Op 6, No.8 consists of two solo violins and a solo cello. Corelli composed the work in 1712, a year before he died and two years before it was published in Amsterdam. The subtitle fato per la notte di natale (written for Christmas night), was added by the composer, though it is not certain whether the concerto was actually intended as a musical rendering of the Christmas story. The only movement obviously connected with Christmas is the Pastorale, the music of the shepherds, which comes as a surprise after what sounds like a final Allegro. In this piece, Corelli is said to have expressed a vision of the angels above Bethlehem. The adoration of the angels, kings and shepherds is the climax of the Christmas story if it is developed, as Corelli probably intended, backwards from the Crucifixion and the Pastorale should therefore be placed, as it is, at the end of the concerto – but there is another, more practical reason for its unusual position: The words ad libitum after the title Pastotrale indicate that this particular movement can be omitted in order to made the concerto grosso suitable for other occasions. The Pastorale is, of course, performed in this concert.
© Stefan de Haan
Once in Royal David’s City
Soloist: Oliver Hull
To help children understand the Apostles’ Creed words “who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary,” Cecil F. Alexander (b. Redcross, County Wicklow, Ireland, 1818; d. Londonderry, Ireland, 1895) wrote this text and published it in her Hymns for Little Children (1848). Five of her six stanzas are included; the third stanza is omitted.
A good mingling of the biblical story and Christian theology, the text sets the nativity of Christ into a much larger framework—the history of salvation. Alexander’s words enable us to look back and to look forward from this historic event. Stanzas 1 and 2 recall Christ’s humble birth. Stanza 3 focuses on Christ’s childhood and identity with humanity. Stanzas 4 and 5 look forward to the sharing of Christ’s glory with his children.
As a small girl, Cecil Frances Humphries wrote poetry in her school’s journal. In1850 she married Rev. William Alexander, who later became the Anglican primate (chief bishop) of Ireland. She showed her concern for disadvantaged people by traveling many miles each day to visit the sick and the poor, providing food, warm clothes, and medical supplies. She and her sister also founded a school for the deaf.
Alexander was strongly influenced by the Oxford Movement and by John Keble’s Christian Year. Her first book of poetry, Verses for Seasons, was a “Christian Year” for children. She wrote hymns based on the Apostles’ Creed, baptism, the Lord’s Supper, the Ten Commandments, and prayer, writing in simple language for children. Her more than four hundred hymn texts were published in Verses from the Holy Scripture (1846), Hymnsfor Little Children (1848), and Hymns Descriptive and Devotional (1858).
Henry J. Gaundett (PHH 104) composed IRBY for the text and published it in the pamphlet Christmas Carols, Four Numbers (1849) in a unison setting with piano accompaniment. Because of the hymn’s traditional use (since 1918) as a processional hymn for the annual lessons and carols festival at King’s College, Cambridge, various composers have provided glorious harmonizations for the tune, including the descant setting by David Willcocks (PHH 325) in the Psalter Hymnal and the Arthur Mann setting found in many modern hymnals. In the King’s College festival a boy soprano sings the first stanza unaccompanied—a stunningly beautiful effect!
Named after a village in Lincolnshire, England, IRBY is a graceful tune that returns to the tonic in five out of six phrases. It is in rounded bar form (AABA). This hymn is a good candidate for antiphonal singing. Try having the children sing stanzas 1 and 3, the choir or full congregation sing stanzas 2 and 4, and the entire group sing stanza 5 in unison, with the choir singing the descant.
© Psalter Hymnal Handbook
Strauss Blue Danube
Johann Strauss Jr’s status as an internationally recognised Austrian icon began with the success of his waltz, ‘An der schönen, blauen Donau’ (The Blue Danube Waltz), at the Paris Exhibition of 1867. The Austrians, still smarting from their military defeat at the hands of the Prussians at Königgrätz in July of 1866, wholeheartedly supported Strauss’s music; when the ‘Blue Danube’ achieved a resounding success at the Paris exhibition, the Viennese felt they had shown the French that Austria, despite its recent military setback, was still an important cultural force. Writers even described Strauss’s triumph with military imagery, calling Strauss a “Napoleon among composers”.
Strauss’s international triumph in Paris makes it easy to forget that this was neither the first performance of the ‘Blue Danube’ nor representation of the piece’s original conception. Composed for the Wiener Männergesang-Verein (Vienna Men’s Singing Society), the waltz was originally scored for four-part choir and orchestra or piano. Josef Weyl (1821-95) supplied the text; it was in this version that the world first heard the ‘Blue Danube’ waltz in February 15, 1867, sung by the Wiener Männergesang-Verein, and accompanied by the orchestra of the Forty-Second Infantry Regiment, directed by Rudolf Weinwurm. The waltz was first performed without voices probably on March 4, 1867, and was certainly played in its familiar format on March 10, 1867, at a benefit concert for Strauss’s brothers.
The title ‘An der schonen, blauen Donau’ may have been derived from a poem by Karl Beck (1817-79) entitled, ‘An der Donau’; the poem, ‘Die feindlichen Brüder’ also contains the line, “An der schönen, blauen Donau liegt mein Dörfchen still und fein.” Strauss sold the ‘Blue Danube’ for only 250fl. to Carl Anton Spina (1827-1906), who published the work in 1867. Spina realised an exceptional return on his investment.
Like most of Strauss’s waltzes, the ‘Blue Danube’ features five distinct “mini-waltzes”, each with two sections. To modern listeners, the slow introduction to the ‘Blue Danube’ is the ultimate tease, delaying what seemingly all of us know in our sleep. At the Paris exhibition, however, the opening probably produced a different effect: a heightened sense of anticipation, and curiosity about when the actual dance will begin. Even after the orchestra reaches a waltz tempo there still is no real tune, and the music seems to amble without aim.
Strauss’s wealth of melodic material provides great contrast; waltz sections featuring melodies with large leaps give way to those with linear tunes within a narrow range. Quarter-note motion is juxtaposed with eight-note motion and, of course, there are contrasting keys. The D major first waltz follows an introduction on the dominant, A major, while the second half of the second is in B flat and the entire fourth waltz is in F. The coda partially summarises the entire piece, revisiting the first part of Waltzes two and four (again in F), and then Waltz one in D. Variations of the first waltz precede the work’s rousing close.
© John Palmer
Strauss Pizzicato Polka
Some of the characteristics of the polka appear in music performed by and written for Bohemian village musicians around 1800; aside from this, the dance’s origins are obscure. A couple-dance in 2/4 meter, it seems the polka developed in Bohemia as a type of round-dance with three short, heel-and-toe half-steps on the first three half-beats and a rest on the fourth. The name may be derived from the Czech ‘pulka’ (half) or ‘polska’, the Czech word for a Polish girl. Whatever its origins, it is certain that the polka first appeared in Prague in 1837. The dance was exported to Vienna in 1839 by a Bohemian regiment band, precipitating its rapid spread throughout Europe. By 1843-44 it was the favourite dance of Parisians and in May, 1844, it was the first perofrmed in the U.S.. Local musicians created variants of the dance, and in the 1850s in Vienna, the elegant Polka francaise and the lively Schnell-Polka developed. The polka was very popular in the late nineteenth century and examples were penned by nearly every major composer of dance music, performed by almost all military bands and distributed in the form of sheet musci throughout the world. A French dictionary of dance terms dating from 1847 describes the polka as having a tempot of 104 beats per minute with an emphasis on the second beat of the measure. It exhibits a ternary (ABA) form with eight-measure subsectins and sometimes includes an introduction and a coda.
With his brother Josef, Johann Strauss had composed the Pizzicato-Polka in 1869 for one of his several visits to Russia. Scored for strings and glockenspiel, the polka was published in Vienna the next year and became very popular, especially in Italy, where Strauss included it on the program of every one of his tours. Like other works on which Strauss collaborated with one or both of his brothers, the Pizzicato-Polka bears no opus number.
Consisting of four melodies, the Pizzicato-Polka is arranged in ternary form. As the title suggests, the entirety of the piece is scored for plucked strings, although a glockenspiel appears for the first half of the central section. Possibly because of the limited instrumentation, Strauss seems to have attempted to provide as much contrast as possible in other ways, such as the rhythm and shape of melodies. After a brief introduction, the first eight-measure tune falls into two sections and outlines chords with alternating eighth and 16th note rhythms. The second melody is quite different, with its falling scales, constant eighth note pulse and occasional rests. A literal return of the first melody rounds out the A section. The central section features the glockenspiel in the first of its two melodies, which derives its identity more from colour than from melodic shape. Broken chords played on all instruments open the contrasting tune, the second half of which consists of descending scales. Each melody of the B section is repeated. A full return of section A and a brief coda of descending scales closes the piece.
© John Palmer
Vivaldi The Four Seasons
Concerto No. 4 in F minor L’inverno (Winter)
I Allegro non molto
Antonio Vivaldi was the teacher of orphan girls in the Venetian Pio Ospedale della Pietà, a renowned violin virtuoso and a pioneer in the composition of concertos of various types. He composed over 500, of which more than 230 are for solo violin. His innovations in this genre included regular use of ritornello form (tutti theme alternating with solo episodes) in the fast outer movements, higher virtuosic standards for soloists and new strong, descriptive effects, such as orchestral unison. Published in 1725 as part of a larger set (Il cimento dell’armonia e dell’inventione, Op. 8), Vivaldi’s most popular work, The Four Seasons, paints a picture of the passing of a year in the Venetto, with four concertos for solo violin, strings and basso continuo. The published version was accompanied by sonnets (possibly written by Vivaldi), repeated in the score where the description applies.
The frozen Venetto is laid out, ‘Frozen and trembling among the chilly snow’, as the orchestra enters slowly, one part at a time. Trembling is heard with trills on the violins. Running passages in the solo bring in the horrid winds; repeated notes, the feet stamping; soloist double stops, the teeth chattering.
The beautiful Largo describes the relief of a fireside and ‘contented peace (violin), while the rain outside pours in sheets’ (pizzicato strings).
In the final Allegro, the solo depicts a tentative walk on the ice. There are no supporting harmonies here and when the tutti enters, it too is afraid of falling. Solo and tutti try to stay upright, but keep falling with descending passages. A brief Lento brings the listener back to the cosy fireside and the comforts of home, although the north winds continue to roar outside.
It is not at all surprising that these wonderfully descriptive concertos have captured the imagination of all listeners and remain so popular today. It is too easy to listen to them glibly and not appreciate their extraordinary invention and powers of description.
© Elizabeth Boulton
The First Nowell
‘The First Nowell’ is a traditional classical English Christmas carol, most likely from the early modern period, although possibly earlier. Noel is an Early Modern English synonym of “Christmas”.
The First Noel is of Cornish origin. Its current form was first published in Carols Ancient and Modern (1823) and Gilbert and Sandys Carols (1833). Today, it is usually performed in a four-part hymn arrangement by the English composer John Stainer, first published in his Carols, New and Old in 1871.
The melody is unusual among English folk melodies in that it consists of one musical phrase repeated twice, followed by a refrain which is a variation on that phrase. All three phrases end on the third of the scale. It is thought to be a version of an earlier melody sung in a church gallery setting; a conjectural reconstruction of this earlier version can be found in the New Oxford Book of Carols.
The Annunciation to the shepherds and the Adoration of the shepherds are episodes in the Nativity of Jesus described in the second chapter of the Gospel of Luke (Luke 2). The Star of Bethlehem appears in the story of the Magi (the Wise Men) in the Gospel of Matthew; it does not appear in the story of the shepherds.
Hark the Herald
Charles Wesley (PHH 267) wrote this text in ten four-line stanzas and published it in Hymns and Sacred Poems (1739). Originally entitled “Hymn for Christmas Day” this most popular of Wesley’s Christmas hymns began with the following words:
Hark, how all the welkin [heavens] rings
Glory to the King of Kings.
George Whitefield changed the first line to “Hark! The herald angels sing” and published the text with additional alterations in his Collection (1753). In 1782 the revised opening couplet became repeated as the refrain. The text was extensively changed and shortened by various other eighteenth-century editors as well. With a few word changes the Psalter Hymnal version is essentially the same as the one published in John Kempthorne’s Select Portions of Psalms… and Hymns (1810).
Containing biblical phrases from Luke John, and Paul, the text is a curious mixture of exclamation, exhortation, and theological reflection. The focus shifts rapidly from angels, to us, to nations. The text’s strength may not lie so much in any orderly sequence of thought but in its use of Scripture to teach its theology. That teaching surely produces in us a childlike response of faith; we too can sing “Glory to the newborn King!”
The tune is from the second chorus of Felix Mendelssohn’s (PHH 279) Festgesang (Op. 68) for male voices and brass; it was first performed in 1840 at the Gutenberg Festival in Leipzig, a festival celebrating the anniversary of Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press. Mendelssohn’s tune is similar to another that appeared one hundred years earlier in “The Song of Mars” from the John Pepusch opera ‘Venus and Adonis’.
Mendelssohn once wrote of this music, “It will never do to sacred words. ” William H. Cummings (b. Sidbury, Devonshire, England, 1831; d. Dulwich, London, England, 1915) may not have been aware of Mendelssohn’s opinion; he adapted the tune to Wesley’s text in 1856. When they were placed together in Hymns Ancient and Modern (1861), “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” became a very popular hymn.
Cummings had a lifelong love of Felix Mendelssohn, sparked when he sang at age sixteen in the first London performance of Elijah, which was directed by Mendelssohn himself. As a young boy, Cummings had been a chorister at St. Paul’s Cathedral and later sang in the choirs of the Temple Church, Westminster Abbey, and the Chapel Royal. Cummings became a famous tenor—he sang in oratorios and was especially known for his evangelist role in the Bach passions. He taught voice at the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal Normal College and School for the Blind in London and was also an accomplished organist. Cummings wrote books and articles on music history, wrote a biography of Henry Purcell and edited his music, and composed many choral pieces.
MENDELSSOHN is an excellent match for Wesley’s text. It is a rousing tune, even martial in some of its phrases. Sing with lots of enthusiasm; do not drown out the stanzas with too much organ—save that extra stop for the refrain and the final stanza. Let the final stanza soar with the descant and the alternate harmonization by David Willcocks (b. Newquay, England, 1919), published in Carols for Choir I (1961). Willcocks has had a highly distinguished musical career. A chorister at Westminster Abbey, he continued his education at Clifton College, the Royal College of Music, and King’s College, Cambridge, England. He was organist of Worcester Cathedral (1950-1957) and conductor of the Bradford Festival Choral Society (1955-1974). Under his leadership as director of music and organist of King’s College, Cambridge, from 1957 to 1974, the King’s College Choir began a series of recordings which, among other repertoires, made famous the annual Festival of Lessons and Carols. Beginning in 1960 Willcocks conducted the Bach Choir of London, and in 1973 he became director of the Royal College of Music. Mainly a composer of church music, Willcocks has also made arrangements of carols, many of which were published in the various Oxford’s Carols for Choirs publications. He makes frequent trips to North America for choral festivals.
Handel ‘Pifa’ from Messiah
GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL (1685-1759)
When Messiah was first performed in April 1742, the Dublin Journal described it as being ‘in the view of the greatest judges the finest composition that was ever heard’, but the view of the work as Handel’s masterpiece has been challenged in our own time, as a natural reaction against the uncritical and too often philistine piety of the nineteenth century.
What raises Messiah, as a whole, above all Handel’s other works is the splendour of its total design. If we ignore this architectural quality, it is not hard to find elsewhere airs and choruses in which he equals or even surpasses many things in Messiah, considered separately. Such indolent and superficial connoisseurship ignores both the profundity of the subject and the intellectual basis of all great music. In the whole Baroque era only the St. Matthew Passion matches the unbroken inspiration which carries the listener from the sombre E minor of the Overture to the final D major triumph of the Amen.
An important feature of the grand design of Messiah is its key-system, which influences our impression of the coherence of the work even though we may not be consciously aware of it. From the earliest performances, everyone recognised the beauty of the calm E major emerging from the Overture at the first words ‘Comfort ye, my people’, but what is less immediate, though fundamental to the whole great plan, is the predominance of D major as a centre of gravity. At the first prophecy of the coming of Christ, D is the key for the promise of salvation ‘O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion’. Though the related B minor we lose touch with D (‘For behold darkness shall cover the earth’), but it returns for the shepherds’ vision of the Heavenly host praising God.
With the Nativity, flat keys prevail (B flat and F) for the sequence that includes the ever-wonderful ‘He shall feed his flock’ (surely Beethoven’s inspiration for the slow movement of the Pastoral Symphony) and leads into the Passion-music that is no less profound than Bach’s, though very different in its non-personal approach. It is not by chance that the culmination of these airs and choruses, in which the events centred on the Crucifixion are so superbly pictured without direct reference, should be in the key of the Overture (‘Behold and see’ is in E minor).
D major is regained for ‘Let all the angels of God praise him’ and, of course, for the majestic triumph of ‘Hallelujah’. The old though still voiced complaint that this chorus is worldly shows a failure of comprehension. It is meant to be, expressing as it does the rejoicings on earth of all who are redeemed by the sacrifice of Christ. ‘The kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord.’
There could scarcely be a more subtle yet vivid contrast than that between the keys of D and E, and the latter, not heard since ‘Every valley’, is restated for the fulfilment of prophecy in the words of Job, ‘I know that my Redeemer liveth’, to which Jennens with a notable stroke of imagination adds those of St. Paul, ‘For now is Christ risen from the dead’, thus uniting in a single air the Old and New Testaments. D major is the trumpet key, so naturally it takes over for ‘The trumpet shall sound’ and for the closing expression of praise and thanksgiving; but Handel, with a sense of tonal architecture scarcely paralleled in his period, interposes a section in E flat and G minor to balance the earlier use of those keys, in two groups, the first centred on ‘Behold the Lamb of God’, the second on ‘How Beautiful are the feet’.
The more we study this most familiar of all great works of music, the more we must marvel at its indestructible combination of emotional truth and intellectual grandeur of design, the one and only realisation of Tolstoy’s demand that a great work of art should be universally comprehensible.
Ding Dong Merrily on High
The present setting of Ding dong! merrily on high is the well-known one with words by G R Woodward and a catchy sixteenth-century French tune harmonized by Charles Wood. The tune is taken from a dance manual called Orchésographie, published in Langres in 1588 by a canon named Jehan Tabourot, who used as a pseudonym the anagrammatic form, Thoinot Arbeau. In the book the dance is described as a ‘branle de l’official’—implying particular vibrancy and exuberance. Charles Wood (1866–1926) was a product of the Royal College of Music and studied composition with Sir Charles Villiers Stanford whom he succeeded as professor of music at Cambridge in 1924. Vaughan Williams was among his pupils. His best-known pieces are his anthems, which include O Thou the central Orb and Expectans expectavi.
Wadham Sutton © 1993
Shepherds Pipe Carol
Tchaikovsky ‘March’ and ‘Waltz of the Flowers’ from The Nutcracker
Tchaikovsky – Nutcracker Suite No. 1
1. Miniature Overture
3. Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy
5. Arabian Dance
6. Chinese Dance
7. Dance of the Mirlitons
8. Waltz of the Flowers
The Nutcracker is universally popular, and (probably) the best-known of all music. As such, it probably “needs no introduction” – but it’s going to get one anyway!
Tchaikovsky, a shy, fatalistic neurotic, was inevitably going to have more than his fair share of ups and downs. In 1877 he was morally blackmailed into marriage by an admiring but mentally unstable pupil. Their opposed “preferences” soon precipitated a disastrous end to their relationship. Of course, it was far more complicated than that, but the upshot was nose-grindingly simple: Tchaikovsky was left in a state of nervous breakdown, relieved by the generosity of the mysterious, wealthy widow Nadezhda von Meck. For the next three years her patronage enabled him to devote himself entirely to his art. At the end of 1890, illness forced Mme. von Meck to terminate their strange alliance. Tchaikovsky was, naturally, very upset, but was otherwise enjoying some success: conducting in Germany, France and England, a very satisfactory visit to the USA (1891), and attending a performance of his Eugene Onegin under Mahler in Hamburg (1892).
We have a tendency to marvel at composers who produce joyful music whilst in dire straits (for instance, Mozart and Beethoven), presumably because we think that a composer’s creativity should be stimulated by his personal circumstances. That this is utter tosh is borne out by countless examples. In 1892, while he started work on his Sixth Symphony, arguably his most sorrowful score, Tchaikovsky was completing his Nutcracker, arguably his happiest. Moreover, apparently he had no enthusiasm for the libretto, so here we go again, this time marvelling at how masterpieces can be born out of a sense of duty, and ignoring how often composers are inspired to produce dross! (Though not Tchaikovsky, I hasten to add).
The Suite No.1 is what is commonly referred to as “the” Nutcracker Suite, which has been instrumental in sparking a love of music in many children down the years, though I doubt, regretfully, that it still continues this estimable service in these days of “street wisdom”. No matter, the real wonder of this music is not that it should appeal to children as such, but that it does appeal to the fabled “child” in all of us. Who can at home play the record, or now face this wonderful, living orchestra, without the anticipatory thrill of being transported back, through a haze of nostalgia, to the wide-eyed magic of Christmas Past? The very air seemed to tingle and sparkle, and the chill world seemed to glow in luminous expectancy. Tchaikovsky’s miraculous blend of toytown tunes and wrapping-paper orchestration conjures the very same enchantment. How he does it is a constant source of wonder, but wonderful it is, and in this day and age it is a wonder for which I for one am increasingly grateful.
Although a reminder is scarcely necessary, here is a brief resumé of the movements: Miniature Overture – skips delicately, the atmosphere of charmed fantasy heightened by omitting bass instruments; March – an exciting profusion of fanfares and swirling strings; Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy – the perfect application of the newly-invented celesta; Trepak – a fast and furious Russian folk-dance, spinning ever more dizzily; Arabian Dance – slow, sinuous, exotic (and just a touch erotic?); Chinese Dance – full of flute flourishes; Dance of the Mirlitons – before which there will be a short pause while you unwrap your Fruit & Nut; Waltz of the Flowers – brimming with grace and elegance, Tchaikovsky’s most inspired foray into the form of the French Valse.
© Paul Serotsky
O Come All Ye Faithful
In this well-known and loved Christmas hymn, we are invited as God’s faithful people to go to Bethlehem and adore Christ the Lord (st. 1). We sing words borrowed from the Nicene Creed to express the Christian faith about the incarnation (st. 2). Then after exhorting the angels to sing their praise (st. 3), we greet Christ on his birthday (st. 4). The text has two unusual features for such a popular hymn: it is unrhymed and has an irregular meter.
John Francis Wade (b. England, c. 1711; d. Douay, France, 1786) is now generally recognized as both author and composer of this hymn, originally written in Latin in four stanzas. The earliest manuscript signed by Wade is dated about 1743. By the early nineteenth century, however, four additional stanzas had been added by other writers.
A Roman Catholic, Wade apparently moved to France because of discrimination against Roman Catholics in eighteenth-century England—especially so after the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745. He taught music at an English college in Douay and hand copied and sold chant music for use in the chapels of wealthy families. Wade’s copied manuscripts were published as Cantus Diversi pro Dominicis et Festis per annum (1751). The translation in the Psalter Hymnal is based primarily on the work of Frederick Oakeley (b. Shrewsbury, Worcester, England, 1802; d. Islington, London, England, 1880), who translated the text for use at the Margaret Street Chapel (now All Saints’, Margaret Street) in London (1841). It is also based on translations found in both F. H. Murray’s A Hymnalfor Use in the English Church (1852) and William Mercer’s (PHH 357) Church Psalter and Hymn Book (1854).
Educated at Christ Church, Oxford, England, Oakeley was ordained in the Church of England in 1826. He served at Balliol College, Lichfield Cathedral, Whitehall, and Margaret Street Chapel in London. Influenced by the Oxford Movement, Oakeley and Richard Redhead (PHH 255), organist of Margaret Chapel, instituted “high” liturgies there, eliciting the charge of “Romanism.” Oakeley also asserted in a pamphlet that even though he would not “teach,” he certainly should be allowed to “hold” all Roman Catholic doctrines. These views caused him to be suspended from his office. Rather than retract his statement, he joined the Roman Catholic Church in 1845 and associated himself with John Henry Newman. Following his reordination in the Roman Catholic Church, Oakeley worked among the poor in the Westminster area of London. In his writings he defended the Roman theology and practices of worship. He also wrote four volumes of verse as well as Historical Notes on the Tractarian Movement (1865).
Some scholars have suggested that Wade fashioned ADESTE FIDELES from melodic fragments of stage music. In the original Wade manuscripts the tune was in triple meter. It was changed to its present form by 1782 and published in the elder Samuel Webbe’s (PHH 112) Essay on the Church Plain Chant.
Some Protestant hymnals have published ADESTE FIDELES as a setting for other texts; for example, Ira D. Sankey (PHH 73) used this tune for “How Firm a Foundation.” But the tune and text are now commonly used together, and “O Come, All Ye Faithful” remains one of the most-loved Christmas hymns.
The tune is a fuguing tune; it begins chordally and uses some imitation in the refrain. The harmonization in the Psalter Hymnalis from The English Hymnal (1906); the descant is from Hymns Ancient and Modern (revised ed., 1947). Sing the stanzas in unison and the refrain in parts.
© Psalter Hymnal Handbook
Anderson Sleigh Ride
Leroy Anderson and his wife Eleanor first came to Woodbury, Connecticut in 1946 to spend the summer in a cottage on Painter Hill Road. The cottage was on land owned by Eleanor’s mother and her two sisters who planned to retire there. During a July heat wave and drought, Leroy was digging trenches to try to find some old pipes coming from a spring.
He began composing several tunes, including Sleigh Ride (Sleðaferð), in which he envisioned as a musical depiction of the winter season long ago.
After the summer of 1946 was over, Leroy and Eleanor moved to New York City where they lived at 19 Parade Place in Brooklyn in an apartment that had been rented by Eleanor’s uncle who recently died. Leroy Anderson completed Sleigh Ride in Brooklyn on 10 February 1948. Sleigh Ride received its premiere on 4 May 1948 with Arthur Fiedler conducting the Boston Pops Orchestra at Symphony Hall in Boston. According to BPO Conductor Keith Lockhart, Sleigh Ride is the Pops’ signature work.
Meanwhile, Eleanor’s mother and aunts decided to have an old barn on their Painter Hill Road property converted into a house. When the house was completed, Leroy and Eleanor moved to Painter Hill Road in 1949, making Woodbury their permanent home.
According to the composer’s widow Eleanor Anderson, “Leroy didn’t set out to write a Christmas piece when he wrote Sleigh Ride. His intentions were to convey the entire winter season through the imagery of a sleigh ride, much in the way that Mozart did with his piece of the same name.”
Composer’s intentions aside, this winter composition quickly became associated with the holiday. Eleanor Anderson remembers hearing Sleigh Ride in New York City department stores right after the first recording was released in 1949.
© The Leroy Anderson Foundation
Thank you to all the string players from Cypress School who are playing with us tonight.
Esther King Smith
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Leader sponsored by Debbie Beckerman & Keith Jones
Leader sponsored by Anonymous
Co Leader sponsorship vacant
First Violin 3 sponsored by Liz and Alistair Milliken
First Violin 4 sponsored by John and Rosalind Crosby
First Violin 5 sponsored by Christine Robson
First Violin 6 sponsored by Della Brotherston
First Violin 7 sponsorship vacant
First Violin 8 sponsorship vacant
Principal Second Violin sponsored by Geoffrey Shaw
Second Violin 2 sponsored by The Angel Family
Second Violin 3 sponsored by Keith Ball
Second Violin 4 sponsored by Alastair Fraser
Second Violin 5 sponsorship vacant
Second Violin 6 sponsored by Catherine Shaw
Principal Viola sponsored by Mark and Vanessa Petterson
Co Principal Viola sponsored by Raymond Calcraft
Viola 3 sponsored by Gill Cox
Viola 4 sponsored by Stuart & Joyce Aston
Principal Cello sponsored by Anonymous
Co Principal Cello sponsored by Jeffrey and Sophie Prett
Cello 3 sponsored by Gillian Noble
Cello 4 sponsored by Richard Morgan
Cello 5 sponsored by Colin and Helen Snart
Principal Double Bass sponsored by John Clarke
Co Principal Double Bass sponsored by The Bristow Family
Principal Flute sponsorship vacant
Sub Principal Flute sponsored vacant
Principal Oboe sponsored by Pat Sandry
Co Principal Oboe sponsored by Sean Rourke
Sub Principal Oboe sponsored by Geoffrey & Joy Lawrence
Principal Clarinet sponsored by Derek and Deirdre Lea
Sub Principal Clarinet sponsored by Graham Harman
Principal Bassoon sponsored by Sandra and Anthony Linger
Sub Principal Bassoon sponsored by Barbara Tower
Principal Horn sponsored by Chris Harman
Sub Principal Horn sponsored by Julia James
Principal Trumpet sponsored by Ishani Bhoola
Sub Principal Trumpet sponsored by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
Principal Trombone sponsorship vacant
Sub Principal Trombone sponsorship vacant
Principal Timpani sponsored by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
Principal Percussion sponsorship vacant
Born in London in 1979, Ruth Rogers began violin lessons at the age of five. In 1997 she was awarded a Foundation Scholarship to the Royal College of Music to study with Itzhak Rashkovsky, where she won many major prizes and awards. Ruth graduated in 2001 with First Class Honours and was awarded the Tagore Gold medal – the College’s highest accolade – by HRH The Prince of Wales. Further study followed in the Netherlands with Herman Krebbers.
As a soloist, Ruth’s playing has been described as “not calculated in any sense, her performance style and technique so assured that the music flows as a natural consequence of innermost understanding. Ruth Rogers must be one of the most gifted young violinists in Britain.” (Musical Opinion.) Winner of the prestigious Manoug Parikian Award and chosen as a 2004 Young Artist by the Tillett Trust, Ruth also reached the Finals of the YCAT competition, Royal Overseas League, and the BBC Radio 2 Young Musician of the Year. She gave her London debut recitals at the Wigmore Hall and the Purcell Room in 2003 and has also appeared as a soloist at the Royal Albert Hall, St John’s Smith Square and many other venues.
From 2008 until 2012 Ruth was the co-leader of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Ruth also performs with the John Wilson Orchestra. In March 2015 Ruth was appointed as one of the Leaders of the London Mozart Players. She regularly guest leads the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Aurora Chamber Orchestra and has appeared in principal roles with the Hallé, Philharmonia and RLPO. She has led orchestras under the batons of such maestros as Lorin Maazel, Daniele Gatti, Sir Colin Davis and Sakari Oramo, and has performed concertos with the City of London Sinfonia, City of Oxford Orchestra, London Strings, and New London Soloists Orchestra.
As chamber musician, Ruth has performed at the Aldeburgh and Bath Festivals with the Tate Ensemble and with pianist John Lill in Shostakovich’s piano quintet. She is a member of the Iuventus String Quartet and the Aquinas Piano Trio and has appeared at the Wigmore Hall with the Nash Ensemble. In February 2009 Ruth reached the final of an International Duo Competition with Martin Cousin – the Franz Schubert and Modern Music International Competition which took place in Graz, Austria. They were one of five duos in the final, chosen from thirty-seven participating duos.
Ruth was chosen personally by Lorin Maazel to perform with the tenor Andrea Bocelli in a series of concerts, which has led to television and radio broadcasts and further concerts worldwide at such venues as the Pyramids in Cairo, the Acropolis in Athens, and the Piazza del Campo in Siena. They performed together at the Royal Albert Hall with the English Chamber Orchestra for the Classical Brit Awards. Ruth has given recitals at the Brighton, Buxton, Harrogate and Warwick Festivals thanks to the Tillett Trust. She has given recitals with Martin Cousin in Indonesia and Thailand.
In 2006 Ruth played to orphans, refugees, malaria patients and land-mine victims on the Thai-Burma border and in 2008 she went back there again with the Iuventus Quartet. In February 2006, Ruth’s debut recital CD was released. Recorded with pianist Sarah Nicolls, it features works by Handel, Elgar, Ginastera, Massenet, Fauré, Kreisler and Kroll. The CDs are £10 each and you can order copies by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, address, telephone number, and the number of copies requested. Proceeds from the CD sales will go to help those in need on the Thailand-Burma border. Ruth has also recorded Piazzolla’s ‘History of the Tango’ with guitarist Morgan Szymanski, and released several discs as a member of the Aquinas Piano Trio.
Croydon Bach Choir
The choir continued under the batons of Roy Massey, Michael Fleming, Adrian Adams and then Peter Nardone.
Tim Horton, previously the choir’s accompanist, led the choir from 2001 until 2019 and returned in 2021.
Simon Wallfisch stepped in during Tim’s absence, until the Covid-19 pandemic halted gatherings and public performances in March 2020.
John Hancorn then led the choir into the new territory of online rehearsals for our 2020-2021 season.
The choir has provided a platform for music-making for over sixty years now, through the enthusiasm and dedication of its many singers, the hard work and commitment of its voluntary office-holders and the quality of musicianship of its successive music directors and accompanists.
London Mozart Players
Registered No: 8882717
Registered Charity No. 290833
020 8686 1996
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