City Choir Dunedin presents choral music for the Christmas season. The programme includes Charpentier's Messe de Minuit, Britten's A Ceremony of Carols, and Bach's Magnificat. City Choir Dunedin will be joined on stage by four soloists and the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra, with David Burchell conducting.
Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s delightful Messe de Minuit pour Noël (Midnight Mass for Christmas) dates from around 1690. His idea of basing a whole mass on French Christmas carols was completely original. The eleven noëls are mostly joyful and dance-like in character, reflecting the carol’s secular origins.
Benjamin Britten’s hugely popular A Ceremony of Carols is an unusual setting for treble voices and harp. The “carols” are largely the product of 15th and 16th century writers, most of whom are anonymous. They retain their unique flavour by Britten's extensive use of the old English language.
The breath-taking Magnificat was composed by J.S. Bach in 1723. The impact of this great choral work derives essentially from Bach’s remarkable ability to balance, yet at the same time to exploit to the full, the spiritual and dramatic elements of the concise text of the Magnificat. It is a sublime pearl from an era rich in choral glory.