Hugo Distler – Die Weihnachtsgeschichte
Hector Berlioz – The Shepherds’ Farewell (arranged by Bronwyn Edwards)
David Willcocks – The Cherry Tree Carol
Gustav Holst – In the bleak midwinter
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky – The crown of roses
Jessica French – The Oxen
Hugo Distler’s Die Weihnachtsgeschichte (“The Christmas Story”) is one of the rare large-scale masterpieces for unaccompanied chorus to emerge from the 20th century. Composing in mid-century Germany, Distler integrated elements of medieval style into his nevertheless modern musical language. Die Weihnachtsgeschichte recounts the Biblical story with a featured role for solo tenor. The other shorter works on this concert give glimpses of the Christmas story with an unusual twist, whether it be from the point of view of Joseph, an adolescent Jesus teased by other children, the shepherds regretting the holy family’s departure, or worshipful oxen in their Victorian stable.