Venue information
Grosvenor Chapel
South Audley Street, Mayfair, London, W1K 2PA
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Cost £5-£15
Music anticipating the joy of Christ's birth from Palestrina & Britten, Arvo Pärt setting texts associated with the 7 days before Christmas

London Concord Singers, conductor Jessica Norton, present music for Christmas and Advent, with music anticipating the joy of Christ's birth from Palestrina and Benjamin Britten, to Arvo Pärt's Magnificat Antiphons setting text traditionally sung in the days leading up to Christmas day.

Palestrina's glorious mass Missa Hodie Christus Natus Est is written for two unequal choirs (mainly high voices in the first and mainly low voices in the second), it is a parody mass based on Palestrina's motet of the same name, creating music of considerable excitement, and originality, with a certain sense of breath and grandeur.

Benjamin Britten's dazzling choral variations A Boy Was Born was written between 1932 and 1933 (when the composer was 19 and 20). Setting texts mainly from the 15th and 16th centuries, the young Britten creates a set of choral variations on his own original theme, which tell the Christmas story. The work was premiered in 1934 by the predecessor of the BBC Singers, on the day that Elgar died.

The Magnificat Antiphons set by Arvo Pärt in 1988 (for the RIAS Chamber Choir in Berlin) set the seven antiphons used before the magnificat in the seven days before Christmas. Known as the great O anthems, each text begins with the exclamation 'O'. Pärt gives each a strongly different character, creating music of great presence created from simple, yet eloquent means.

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London Concord Singers
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Jessica Norton

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