Chamber Choir

To Shorten Winter's Sadness

An Early English Christmas

Thursday 14 December 2023, 19:30 - 21:30
St Botolph's Churchmap ]
London EC2M 3TL

Orlando Chamber Choir
Lucy Goddard, director
Gavin Roberts, organ
Ruth Irwin, reader

In the darkness of winter, we look for the light. We get together for religious reflection, to share supper, to feast and have fun into the night – tomorrow will be a brighter day!

Composers throughout time have captured in their compositions these spiritual, sacred and secular occasions – and to mark the 400th anniversary of Byrd’s and Weelkes’ deaths this year, Orlando Chamber Choir focuses on the sound of an early English Christmas. Byrd’s splendid polyphony, and that of his teacher Tallis, accompany the annunciation and the birth of Christ, to which Philips adds triumphant trumpets and a choir of angels. Dering intones the shepherds' travels, and Sheppard gives glorious voices to the magi’s veneration.

Praetorius’ Lo, how a Rose, set in the people’s language rather than that of the Church, leads us gently towards more secular celebrations; and Sandstöm’s contemporary setting of the same tune transports the party to the concert day – which is where you join in with the audience carols!

Our programme is framed by earthly secular works about feasts and further falala – with wine, mince pies and an exciting raffle in the interval.

The readings will be from the recent anthology “People: Unfinished Poems” by former choir member Ruth Irwin, presented in her own voice.


Edward Stauff (1958 - )
The Boar's Head Carol
Thomas Weelkes (1576 - 1623)
To shorten winter's sadness
Charles Wood (1866 - 1926)
Ding dong merrily on high
William Byrd (c.1540 - 1623)
Ecce virgo concipiet
Rorate caeli
David Willcocks (1919 - 2015)
While shepherds watched their flocks
Richard Dering (c.1580 - 1630)
Quem vidistis, pastores?
Peter Philips (c.1560 - 1628)
O beatum et sacrosanctum diem
David Willcocks (1919 - 2015)
The first Nowell
William Byrd (c.1540 - 1623)
This day Christ was born
John Sheppard (c.1515 - 1558)
Reges Tharsis
Thomas Tallis (c.1505 - 1585)
Videte miraculum
Michael Praetorius (1571 - 1621)
Lo, how a Rose e'er blooming
Jan Sandström (1954 - )
Es ist ein Ros entsprungen