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Sample audio clip: We Wish You a Merry Christmas (arr. Arthur Warrell)

      We Wish You a Merry Christmas
Program Notes
Production Details

1.  Wolcum (from Ceremony of Carols): Benjamin Britten (1913-76).  [1’22”]


2.  All This Time: William Walton (1902-83).  [1’54”]

3.  Still, Still Night: Jackson Berkey (b. 1942).  [6’14”]


4.  The Lamb: John Tavener (1944-2013).  [2’59”]

5.  Jesus Christ the Apple Tree: Elizabeth Poston (1905-87).  [2’43”]


6.  A Hymn to the Virgin: Benjamin Britten.  [3’05”]

7.  There is No Rose (from Ceremony of Carols): Benjamin Britten.  [2’26”]

8.  There is a Flower: John Rutter (b. 1944).  [4’15”]

9.  I Sing of a Maiden: Patrick Hadley (1899-1973).  [2’44”]


10.  Angels’ Carol: John Rutter.  [3’21”]

11.  My Guardian Angel: Judith Weir (b. 1954).  [2’22”]

12.  What Cheer?: William Walton.  [1’22”]


13.  A Shepherd’s Carol: Benjamin Britten.  [4’27”]

Wise men

14.  The Three Kings: Peter Cornelius (1824-1874).  [2’35”]

King Herod

15.  King Herod and the Cock: William Walton.  [2’13”]


16.  The Two Nowells: Giles Swayne (b. 1946).  [6’52”]

New Year

17.  A New Year Carol:  Benjamin Britten.  [2’09”]


18.  Jingle Bells: James Pierpont (arr. Ralph Allwood).  [1’55”]

19.  We Wish You a Merry Christmas: Traditional (arr. Arthur Warrell).  [1’47”]

Program notes

Our program celebrates the many facets of the Christmas celebration, with a special focus on the miracle of Jesus’ birth and the extraordinary mystery of Mary’s role as Jesus’ mother. We follow the chronological narrative, starting with the Angel Gabriel, who visited Mary to deliver the news that she would bear a son and name him Jesus, a moment referred to as The Annunciation. The story continues with the journey to Bethlehem, where Jesus is born. Walton’s “All This Time” describes the exact moment when the “word became flesh” (Verbum caro factum est), and pieces by Tavener and Poston celebrate the many roles Jesus plays in the world. Three pieces by English composers Benjamin Britten, John Rutter, and Patrick Hadley turn our gaze back to the mother of Jesus, after which we sing an arrangement of the ever-popular “Silent night,” and then celebrate some of our favorite Christmas pageant characters and symbols: angels, shepherds, wise men, and stars. We finish with arrangements of some well-loved secular carols to get you into the holiday spirit.

Full details of the program, including texts and translations can be found on the BCE web site.

Recording Details / Acknowledgments

Recorded by Futura Productions, Roslindale, MA; February and November, 2014

Engineer: John Watson

Producer: Andrew Shenton