The Christmas Story

Saturday, Dec 10th 2016 - 3:00pm
Price: 120,-
Arranged by: Stouby Kirke

A tale of Christmas told by two of Denmark's leading vocal ensembles, Ars nova Copenhagen and Theatre of Voices.

Our Christmas program presents a sequence of medieval and modern English carols, followed by Hugo Distler’s Christmas Story. This fine work belongs to the same genre of choral music as the narrative works of Schütz. Distler’s work takes the beautiful Advent song Es ist ein Ros entsprungen as its musical starting-point, and unfolds the story of Christmas with a mixture of solo chant, choral commentary, punctuated at key moments by the verses of Es est ein Ros in varied harmonic colourings.

Distler (1908-1942) was a major German composer, choral conductor and organist, who was deeply committed to church music and much influenced by earlier German composers, Heinrich Schütz in particular. Although he tried to sustain his role as a church musician under the Nazis, he found his work increasingly compromised and degraded by the regime, and eventually this drove him to commit suicide. Dietrich Bonhoeffer (the German pastor and dissident, murdered by the Nazis in 1944) wrote to Distler’s widow saying: “I did not know your husband personally, but I loved his music very much.”

Medieval English carols have had a strong influence on 20th-century English composers, and perhaps none more so than Peter Maxwell Davies, who died earlier this year.  Gordon Crosse (b.1937) belongs more to the Britten school, though he certainly speaks with his own voice, particularly in the large oratorio Changes which established his reputation.

Last but certainly not least we perform a premiere by Danish composer Ib Nørholm. He has put music to texts by the Danish author Lene Henningsen. Two Christmas songs entitled "Et lille Barn" (A small child) and "Jeg vil give dig en stjerne til jul" (I will give you a star at Christmas)


Anon. C15 Alleluia, A new work is come on hand
Anon. C15 Ecce quod natura 
Peter Maxwell Davies (1934-2016) Alma redemptoris mater
Gordon Crosse (*1937) Letabundus exultet
Paul Hillier (*1949) There is no rose
Anon. C15 Nowell sing we now all and some
Ib Nørholm (*1931) Lene Henningsen: To julesange (premiere)
Hugo Distler (1908-1942)  Die Weihnachtsgeschichte 

Koncerten har modtaget projektstøtte fra Toyota Fonden.