The Missouri Women’s Chorus presents Benjamin Britten’s famed "A Ceremony of Carols" with St. Louis Symphony principal harpist Allegra Lilly under the direction of Artistic Director Scott Schoonover.
"A Ceremony of Carols" was written in 1942 when the English composer Benjamin Britten was 29 years old. It is one of the composer’s most popular and widely performed works, particularly at the Christmas season. This masterwork was originally premiered by a women’s choir and then subsequently revised and published as a work for treble choir and harp, although it has since been arranged for various voice combinations. "A Ceremony of Carols" was composed in part during five weeks that Britten spent traveling by ship from New York to England during the Second World War. During the voyage the ship stopped in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where Britten purchased a book of medieval poetry. Poems from this book, along with Gregorian Chant and other poetry spanning 14th to 16th century England, were the inspiration for "A Ceremony of Carols, which includes both a Christmas narrative as well as references to the re-birth of spring. The work was innovative in many respects, such as the use of harp as the sole accompanying instrument for a large, choral work.
For the second half of the program, Schoonover has programmed a second telling of the carols based on settings by Joan Szymko, Z. Randall Stroope, Lloyd Pfautsch, and Randall Thompson amongst others, joined by flutist Jennifer Gartley and pianist Cathy Benton.
Tickets $12 in advance $15 at the door
O Frondens Virga
I Wonder as I Wander
Resonet in laudibus
I Saw Three Ships
While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks
and Veni, Veni Emmanuel