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Christmas with Brighton Consort 2004

Performance Details: Friday, 17th of December, 2004

Tonight's programme brings together a rare mixture of music and readings across the ages, exploring the different aspects of the Christmas season. Most of the music will be performed by the singers and players of Brighton Consort along with other musical friends, including Pastores viols and Andrew van der Beek on both serpent and bass sackbut. However, we hope you will all join in the carols where the words are provided.

More information

Concert Programme


Processional Chant - French, 13th Century - Veni Emmanuel
Hildegard of Bingen, 1098-1179 - O virga ac diadema

Green branch and imperial diadem, in your virginity enclosed as in shining armour, You branched, blossoming, in a fashion changed from that by which Adam produced the whole human race. All hail, from your womb came forth another life which Adam had stripped from his sons. O flower, it was not the dew that made you bud, nor drops of rain, nor did the wind waft over you, but the divine radiance brought you forth from the most noble branch. O branch, God foresaw your flowering on the first day of creation. And he made you, o virgin most worthy of praise, as a golden matrix for his Word.
Isaiah, Chapter 40, verses 1-11

Carol for choir and audience: French, 13th Century - O come, O come Emmanuel

O come, O come, Emmanuel!
Redeem thy captive Israel,
That into exile drear is gone
Far from the face of God's dear Son.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, thou Branch of Jesse! Draw
The quarry from the lion's claw;
From the dread caverns of the grave,
From nether hell thy people save.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, thou Key of David, come
And open wide our heavenly home;
Safeguard for us the heavenward road,
And bar the way to death's abode.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Hieronymus Praetorius, 1560-1629 - Ecce Dominus veniet

Behold, the Lord our God shall come, and all his Saints with him, and in that day there shall be a great light, alleluia.


Edwin Muir, 1887-1959 - Annunciation
Anon, 13th Century - Angelus ad Virginem

The angel, coming secretly to the Virgin, calming the Virgin�s fear, said: "Hail! Hail, Queen of virgins! You shall conceive the Lord of Heaven and Earth, and give birth, remaining a virgin, to the Salvation of mankind; you, made the Gateway of Heaven, the cure for sin."

"How shall I conceive, since I know not a man? How shall I break what I have resolutely vowed?" "The grace of the Holy Spirit shall perform all this. Fear not, but rejoice, confident that chastity will remain pure in you by the power of God."

Anon, 15th Century - There is no rose

Carol for choir and audience: Michael Praetorius, 1609 - A great and mighty wonder

Solo: A great and mighty wonder, a full and holy cure!
The Virgin bears the infant with virgin honour pure.
Repeat the hymn again:
To God on high be glory,
And peace on earth to men!

Choir: The word becomes incarnate and yet remains on high!
And cherubim sing anthems to shepherds, from the sky.
Repeat the hymn again:
To God on high be glory,
And peace on earth to men!

All: Since all he comes to ransom,
By all is he adored,
The Infant born in Bethlehem,
The Saviour and the Lord.
Repeat the hymn again:
To God on high be glory,
And peace on earth to men!

All: And idol forms shall perish,
And error shall decay,
And Christ shall wield his sceptre,
Our Lord and God, for ay.
Repeat the hymn again:
To God on high be glory,
And peace on earth to men!

Hieronymus Praetorius - 1560-1629 - Magnificat on the 5th tone
with interpolated carols "Joseph lieber, Joseph mein" and "In dulci jubilo"

The Magnificat, sung regularly at every Anglican Evensong as well as at Catholic Vespers, was the song of Mary on receiving the news from the Angel Gabriel of her forthcoming conception. Here, as was common in the Lutheran rite in 17th-century Germany, the verses are alternated with verses from two familiar Christmas carols. The first is a cradle song, "Joseph lieber, Joseph mein" (Joseph dearest, Joseph mine), and the second - in a mixture of German and Latin - is "In dulci jubilo" (With sweet jubilation). The Magnificat itself is in an "alternatim" setting, meaning that verses of polyphony alternate with verses of plainsong.


Ben Jonson, 1573-1637 - An Hymn on the Nativity of my Saviour Christopher Tye, 1500-73 arr. Richard Alison, c 1600 - While Shepherds watched
John Foster, 1752-1822 - While Shepherds watched

Carol for choir and audience: 14th Century, arr. Michael Praetorius, 1571-1621

Quem pastores laudavere

We thought we would leave this in the original Latin. Even if you are not familiar with Latin, just sing each word as you would in English - you won't be far wrong.

Quem pastores laudavere,
quibus angeli dixere,
"Absit vobis iam timere,
natus est Rex gloriae."

Ad quem magi ambulabant,
aurum, thus, myrrham portabant,
immolabant haec sincere
leoni victoriae.

Christo regi, Deo nato,
per Mariam nobis dato,
merito resonet vere
laus, honor, et gloria.

Unto him whom the shepherds praised, told by the angels "Be not afraid: the King of Glory is born!";

Unto him to whom the Magi journeyed, to whom they brought gold, frankincense and myrrh, to whom, the victorious Lion [of Judah], they offered these things with sincerity

Unto him, Christ the King, the Son of God, given to us through Mary, let "Praise, Honour and Glory!" right worthily resound.

-- Interval --

Nativity and Mystery

Clemens non Papa, c.1510-1556 - O magnum mysterium
William Blake, 1757-1827 (From Songs of Innocence and Experience, 1789) - The Lamb
Giovanni Gabrieli, 1555-1612 - O magnum mysterium

O great mystery, and wondrous sacrament, that the animals should see the newborn Lord lying in the manger. Noel!

Carol for choir and audience: Collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams from Mrs Verrall of Monk's Gate, near Horsham, 1904

The Sussex Carol (On Christmas night all Christians sing)

Choir: On Christmas night all Christians sing, To hear the news the angels bring,

Audience: On Christmas night all Christians sing, To hear the new the angels bring

All: News of great joy, news of great mirth, News of our merciful King's birth.

Choir: All out of darkness we have light, Which made the angels sing this night,

Audience: All out of darkness we have light, Which made the angels sing this night:

All: "Glory to God and peace to men, Now and for evermore. Amen.'"

John Hill, c.1730-1800

Hymn for Christmas Day

William Byrd, 1540-1623 from Songs of sundry natures, 1589 - From Virgin's womb


Giovanni Gabrieli, 1555-1612 - Canzona
Anon, 17th Century Scottish - Sir William Keith's Paven and Galyard


T S Eliot, 1888-1965- Journey of the Magi
John Sheppard, 1515-58 - Reges Tharsis

The kings of Tharsis and the islands shall offer presents. The kings of the Arabia and of Saba shall bring gifts. And all kings shall adore him: all nations shall serve him. Because he shall deliver the poor from the mighty: and the poor which had no helper. He shall spare the poor and needy: and he shall save the souls of the poor.

Carol for choir and audience:

John Henry Hopkins, 1820-90 - Three Kings of Orient

Choir: We three kings of Orient are
Bearing gifts we traverse afar.
Field and fountain, moor and mountain,
Following yonder star.

Audience: O Star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect Light.

Solo: Born a king on Bethlehem's plain,
Gold I bring to crown Him again,
King forever, ceasing never
Over us all to reign.

Solo: Frankincense to offer have I.
Incense owns a Deity nigh.
Prayer and praising all men raising,
Worship Him, God most high.

Solo: Myrrh is mine: its bitter perfume
Breathes a life of gathering gloom.
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding dying,
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb.

Choir: Glorious now behold Him arise,
King and God and Sacrifice.
Heaven sing 'Alleluia!';
'Alleluia' the earth replies.

Herod and the slaughter of the innocents

Anon, c.1550 Mark this song, for it is trewe
William Byrd, 1540-1623 - Lullaby
Pageant of the Shearmen and Taylors, Coventry mystery plays, 16th Century - Coventry carol


Thomas Hardy, 1840-1928 - Under the Greenwood Tree
Collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams & Cecil Sharp in Gloucestershire, 1900-1920 - Wassail! Wassail all over the town!

Carol for choir and audience: English traditional

We wish you a merry Christmas
We wish you a merry Christmas,
We wish you a merry Christmas,
We wish you a merry Christmas
And a happy New Year.

Glad tidings we bring
To you and your kin;
We wish you a merry Christmas
And a happy New Year.

Now bring us some figgy pudding,
Now bring us some figgy pudding,
Now bring us some figgy pudding
And bring it us here!

O we won't go until we've got some,
No, we won't go until we've got some,
We won't go until we've got some
So give it us here!

O we all like figgy pudding,
Yes, we all like figgy pudding,
We all like figgy pudding,
So bring it out here!

After the concert there will be a collection on behalf of the Friends of the Nigel Porter Unit for breast Care, Royal Sussex County Hospital. Funds are needed to provide modern equipment, to refurbish the unit, to fund further research, to provide staff training and to produce information for patients, their families and friends. Please give generously!

Brighton Consort (Musical Director: Deborah Roberts)

Penny Acton Ellen Behrens
Sue Clough
Miranda Cobb
Jacqui Gough
Mirella Marlow
Sally Morris
Yvonne Whitley-Jones

Elspeth Barnett
Jenny Clemens
Jason Field
Heide Hughes
Marion Pilbeam
Jane Richards
S'an Spencer Elizabeth Taylor
Pat Zielinska

Maya Davis
Richard Davis
Roger Fenn
Barry Luck
David Spencer

Michael Bishop
David Brand
Michael Clemens
Douglas Colwell
Andrew Connal
Tom Jeffers
Jason Jeffries
Maurice Shipsey

Pastores Viols
Andrew Kerr
Paul Neville
Robert Carrington
Barbara Ruffles

The Consort Gallery Band
Roger Fenn
Michael Clemens
Jason Jeffries
Jason Field
Barry Luck
Elizabeth Taylor
Marion Pilbeam
Heide Hughes
Tom Jeffers
Jill Segerman

with Andrew van der Beek

Take Brighton Consort home with you:

Our first CD, "Brighton Consort in Concert", is on sale at the back of the church, price £7. An ideal Christmas present for your musical friends!