Winter Lullabies

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Almost everyone knows at least one of Howard Goodall’s many TV themes, from The Vicar of Dibley and Blackadder to Q.I. and Mr Bean, and his BAFTA-winning Channel 4 documentaries on music have been acclaimed throughout the English-speaking world. His stage musicals have also won him awards on both sides of the Atlantic and a week has not passed in 5 years without one of them being in production somewhere; between late 2006 and early 2008 he will premiere no less than 4 major newly-commissioned musicals. Musical training began at choir school in Oxford and he has maintained strong links with choral music, and particularly with Christ Church Oxford, of which he is himself a graduate, throughout his career. His In Memoriam Anne Frank was the musical centrepiece of the inaugural National Holocaust Memorial commemorative concert, O Lord God of Time and Eternity was commissioned for the national service of remembrance following the Iraq war at St Paul’s Cathedral, his Psalm 23 has been at or near the top of the best-selling choral sheet music in the UK for 10 years, and Refuge, for the Youth Music Singbook, has been performed in its first year of publication by over 40,000 young singers. He chairs the National Vocal Strategy on behalf of Youth Music and the Music Manifesto.

Winter Lullabies, for solo harp and boys’ voices, comprises six loosely-interwoven movements, and despite Thomas Campion’s jovial toast to the delights of winter with which it begins, the texts mainly centre on the hardship and the challenges of winter, particularly for mothers and their infants. The core of the work is a specially-written text in English and Gaelic, Crossing the border, by Irish poet Theo Dorgan. Whilst the central theme of the cycle associates secular issues of homelessness, displacement and flight with the Christian nativity story, there is also a general celebration of motherhood and the different moods that might be embraced by a lullaby. With this in mind, the composer has even revisited Josef Mohr’s familiar text Stille Nacht, attaching to it a more dance-like musical texture than the well-worn Franz Gruber original. Two anonymous lullabies, one joyful the other sorrowful, from very different continents and centuries, are juxtaposed in the second half of the cycle, and the whole piece concludes with Lullaby of Winter, to Goodall’s own text, knitting together lyrical and musical ideas from the previous songs. Winter Lullabies was commissioned by Christ Church Cathedral Choir, receives its world premiere with Catrin Finch on this CD, and it was conceived with the richly robust, rhythmically energetic voices of Stephen Darlington’s boy choristers very much in mind.

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  • Panis angelicus César Franck (1822-1890)
  • La salutation angelique – Ave Maria Charles Gounod (1818-1893)
  • The Lord is my shepherd Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
  • Ave Maria Op52 No6 Franz Schubert
  • En prière Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924)
  • Cantique de Jean Racine Gabriel Fauré
  • Winter Lullabies Howard Goodall
  • – Now when winter nights enlarge
  • – Stille Nacht
  • – Crossing the border
  • – Duérmete mi niño
  • – Sorrowful lullaby
  • – Lullaby of winter
  • The harp resounds with wild refrain Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) from Four Songs Op17 No1
  • Ombrai Mai Fu (‘Handel’s Largo’) George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)
  • Ave verum Gabriel Fauré
  • Cantique de Noël Adolphe Adam (1803-1856)

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A Tudor Christmas

Coventry Carol Remember O Thou ManImagine yourself in the fine surroundings of the Great Hall of Christ Church, Oxford, with a programme of Tudor sacred and secular music including music by Henry VIII, one of Christ Church’s founders, and choral works associated with Christ Church during its first century.

1. Pastime with good company Henry VIII (1491-1547)
2. Coventry carol 16th century
Soloists: Tom King, Brian Chapman, William Gaunt
3. Rorate coeli William Byrd (c.1540-1623)
Soloists: Nicholas Haigh, John Cotton, Adrian Lowe
4. Consort Henry VIII
5. Christe Jesu, pastor bone John Taverner (c.1490-1545)
6. Consort Henry VIII
7. This is the record of John Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625)
Soloist: Tom King
8. Ave Maria Robert Parsons (c.1530-1570)
9. Remember O thou man Thomas Ravenscroft (c.1590-c.1633)
Soloists: Nicolas Haigh, Alexander Thompson, William Gaunt
10. Consort Henry VIII
11. While shepherds watched Christopher Tye (c.1505-1573)
12. From virgin’s womb William Byrd
Soloists: John Cotton
13. Consort Henry VIII
14. Laudate nomen Christopher Tye
15. O nata lux Thomas Tallis (c.1505-1585)
16. Magnificat from 1st Service John Sheppard (c.1520-c.1560)
17. Sweet was the song 16th century
Soloist: Alexander Thompson
18. Quid petis, o fili Richard Pygott (c.1485-1552)
Soloists: John Cotton, Tim Dallosso, Tom King, Brian Chapman,
Gabriel Vick, William Gaunt, Timothy Whiteley, Angus Wilson
19. Consort Henry VIII
20. Hosanna to the Son of David Thomas Weelkes (1575-1623)