This vocal score is published by Stainer and Bell and is available from their online store and other music outlets in the version for SATB with organ/piano accompaniment. Please click on the ‘Stainer and Bell’ button below for more information. A version for orchestra, compatible with the vocal score, is also available on hire from Stainer and Bell (HL388).
Listen to excerpts:
The five movements are:
4 Sanctus and Benedictus
5 Agnus Dei
A Christmas Mass was written in 2007 and first performed by Chantage on 1 December of that year in Saffron Walden; the conductor was James Davey. The London première followed three days later, when I conducted the London Chorus at St. John’s, Smith Square. Under the title, Hark! Chantage at Christmas, the Mass has been recorded on the EMI Gold label.
As both a singer and a conductor I have always loved the famous Messe de minuit pour Noël by Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1643-1704), but have also felt frustrated that I did not recognise the French carols used as material for the work.
I had also long cherished the idea of writing a setting of the Mass which might use Christmas music that present-day singers would recognise – hence A Christmas Mass.
From the immense store of carols and hymns of the Christmas season I have used some seventy or so. Many of these melodies, in fact, chose themselves as I worked on the piece. Some provided important thematic material and some make only a brief appearance.
The emphasis is on a joyful celebration of this season and its rich musical heritage. The result can, I hope, have a place in the concert hall and in Advent and Christmas carol services, and can also be used liturgically.
© Ronald Corp
(You are welcome to copy and paste the programme notes – please credit the author.)