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Christmas Tidings of Joy


Features Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on Christmas Carols and Rutter's Brother Heinrich's Christmas.


Repertoire Includes:
Fantasia on Christmas Carols – Ralph Vaughan Williams
Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming – Johannes Brahms
What Sweeter Music – John Rutter
O Magnum Mysterium – Francis Poulenc
Away in a Manger – arr. David L. Cobb
Infant Holy, Infant Lowly – arr. David L. Cobb
Angels We Have Heard On High – arr. Phala Tracy
Mary Had a Baby – arr. William L. Dawson
Noël Nouvelet – arr. John Rutter
Erschallet, ihr Lieder (from Cantata 172) – J. S. Bach
Brother Heinrich’s Christmas – John Rutter

Fantasia on Christmas Carols – Ralph Vaughan Williams
Early in his career, Vaughan Williams traveled the English countryside collecting traditional folk songs and carols.  He gathered many of those carols into this Fantasia, composed in 1912. The opening solo proclamation comes from Herefordshire, traditionally sung by the town crier on Christmas Eve.  That solemn retelling of Adam’s Fall leads to an outpouring of joy as full choir and orchestra join forces to tell the Christmas story. Vaughan Williams cleverly weaves fragments of familiar carols into the lush orchestration, giving various instruments in turn their opportunity to solo out a familiar tune. Truly a Christmas feast for the ears, Vaughan Williams’Fantasia On Christmas Carols transports the listener back to the villages of Victorian England.
Brother Heinrich’s Christmas
John Rutter has created the perfect Christmas Eve bedtime story, narrated to music in the grand tradition of Peter and the Wolf and The Sorceror’s Apprentice. Gather the children, light the fire, and listen as Minneapolis actor Charlie Schwandt tells the story of Brother Heinrich, his donkey, and their magical meeting with angels on a Christmas Eve long ago. The legend of the carol In Dulci Jubilo unfolds in charming style with Exultate’s choir and orchestra setting the musical scenery, and the bassoon starring in the role of Sigismund, the donkey.
Connecting these two major works you’ll find a distinctive collection of holiday music for voices and instruments, from an orchestral version of Brahms’ romantic Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming to the traditional spiritual Mary Had a Baby.  Featured are two stunning new carol settings for a capella choir, Away in a Manger and Infant Holy, Infant Lowly, composed especially for Exultate by Minnesota composer David Cobb.
Program Notes – Yvonne Grover


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