Celebrating Advent, the time the church looks forward to the joy and excitement of Christmas, the Choir of Magdalen College, Oxford take the Blessed Virgin Mary as a focal point in the opening of their programme. Two settings of the plainchant hymn, Ave Maris Stella are set side by side — a hymn numerous Renaissance composers set to more elaborate polyphony. The motet Wachet auf by JCF Bach, the ninth son of the more famous JS Bach, fuses the well-known Lutheran chorale of the same name to inventive contrapuntal effect; for this evening’s concert, each of the three movements is separated by a short Christmas chorale setting on the organ. And finally we move into more familiar territory with well-known Christmas carols by Rutter and Darke amongst others, finishing with Ralph Vaughan Williams’ magical Fantasia on Christmas Carols.

 

Fantasia on Christmas Carols

Frescobaldi: Ave Maria Stella
Victoria: Missa Ave Maris Stella
JCF Bach: Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme
Selection of carols:  including Ding Dong Merrily on High and In the Bleak Midwinter
Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on Christmas Carols

DIRECTOR: Daniel Hyde
ORGAN: Alexander Berry & Anna Lapwood
PIANO: Ceri Owen
CELLO: John Myerscough