Our Lady and St. Michael's Catholic Church, Abergavenny
Sunday 8th December at 8pm
Unicorn singers and soloists will join forces with a specialist Cornett and Sackbut ensemble for a unique retelling of the Christmas story.
Their sequence of inspirational pieces from the early baroque period will be a terrific feast for the ears! Composers will include Gabrieli, Schütz and Schein, with the 20-part Magnificat by Praetorius providing a pivotal point in the programme.
The wonderful acoustics of Abergavenny's Catholic Church will no doubt prove the perfect setting for this lavish surround-sound extravaganza - but please bring a cushion!
The concert's climax hinges on a rare performance of Praetorius' twenty-part Magnificat which forms the final piece in his monumental "Polyhymnia" publication.
A musical workaholic, Praetorius published many such volumes to adorn the Lutheran liturgy and in the process lay the foundations for future great German masters such as Schütz and Bach. As if addressing Luther's dictum "why should the devil have all the best tunes?" Praetorius' settings are full of invention with much rhythmic drive and emotional punch. His festive Magnificat features a bewildering kaleidoscope of sound, involving 4 distinct groups of singers and instruments.
An additional concert focus will be the ingenious music of Heinrich Schütz, another pioneer of the early baroque. His telling of the Christmas story through intimate solo settings of the biblical narrative are especially captivating and these will include the angels' joyful tidings to the shepherds and Gabriel's words of comfort to Joseph. Schütz's contemporaries Schein, Scheidt and Hassler, are also to be represented with some equally infectious pieces.
Meanwhile Schütz's teacher, Giovanni Gabrieli, will surely provide yet another focus in the programme. This composer’s now legendary use of two contrasting groups first deployed for the magnificent spaces of St. Mark's, Venice, will be heard to good effect in his uplifting Hodie and more reflective O Jesu mi dulcissime. The addition of some popular carols, such as Quem pastores laudavere, some atmospheric 'a cappella' settings by Croce and Phillips, plus some purely instrumental works, will all make for a wonderfully varied programme.
- Gabrieli: Hodie Christus natus est à 8; Sancta et immaculate Virginitas; O Jesu mi dulcissime
- Schütz: Intermedi II from The Christmas Story; Ach Herr; Heute ist Christus der Herr geboren; Joseph du Sohn David
- Schein: Quem vidistis pastores
- Scheidt: Puer natus in Betlehem
- Phillips: Alma redemptoris mater
- Croce: Quaeramus cum pastores
- Praetorius: 20-part Magnificat
- Hassler: Verbum caro factum est
Tickets: £15.00 - children and students free
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- Choir Members
- At the Door