Christmas with Consort



St George's Church Kemptown, Friday 17 December 2004

Tonight’s programme brings together a rare mixture of music and readings across the ages, exploring the different aspects of the Christmas season. Most of the music will be performed by the singers and players of Brighton Consort along with other musical friends, including Pastores viols and Andrew van der Beek on both serpent and bass sackbut. However, we hope you will all join in the carols where the words are provided.


Processional Chant

French, 13th Century

Veni Emmanuel


Hildegard of Bingen, 1098-1179

O virga ac diadema

Green branch and imperial diadem, in your virginity enclosed as in shining armour, You branched, blossoming, in a fashion changed from that by which Adam produced the whole human race. All hail, from your womb came forth another life which Adam had stripped from his sons. O flower, it was not the dew that made you bud, nor drops of rain, nor did the wind waft over you, but the divine radiance brought you forth from the most noble branch. O branch, God foresaw your flowering on the first day of creation. And he made you, o virgin most worthy of praise, as a golden matrix for his Word.


Isaiah, Chapter 40, verses 1-11


Carol for choir and audience:

French, 13th Century

O come, O come Emmanuel

O come, O come, Emmanuel!

Redeem thy captive Israel,

That into exile drear is gone

Far from the face of God's dear Son.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel.


O come, thou Branch of Jesse! Draw

The quarry from the lion's claw;

From the dread caverns of the grave,

Rrom nether hell thy people save.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel.


O come, thou Key of David, come

And open wide our heavenly home;

Safeguard for us the heavenward road,

And bar the way to death's abode.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Hieronymus Praetorius, 1560-1629

Ecce Dominus veniet

Behold, the Lord our God shall come, and all his Saints with him, and in that day there shall be a great light, alleluia.


Edwin Muir, 1887-1959


Anon, 13th Century

Angelus ad Virginem

The angel, coming secretly to the Virgin, calming the Virgin’s fear, said: "Hail! Hail, Queen of virgins! You shall conceive the Lord of Heaven and Earth, and give birth, remaining a virgin, to the Salvation of mankind; you, made the Gateway of Heaven, the cure for sin."

"How shall I conceive, since I know not a man? How shall I break what I have resolutely vowed?" "The grace of the Holy Spirit shall perform all this. Fear not, but rejoice, confident that chastity will remain pure in you by the power of God."

Anon, 15th Century

There is no rose

Carol for choir and audience:

Michael Praetorius, 1609

A great and mighty wonder

Solo: A great and mighty wonder, a full and holy cure!

The Virgin bears the infant with virgin honour pure.

Repeat the hymn again:

To God on high be glory,

And peace on earth to men!

Choir: The word becomes incarnate and yet remains on high!

And cherubim sing anthems to shepherds, from the sky.

Repeat the hymn again:

To God on high be glory,

And peace on earth to men!

All: Since all he comes to ransom,

By all is he adored,

The Infant born in Bethlehem,

The Saviour and the Lord.

Repeat the hymn again:

To God on high be glory,

And peace on earth to men!

All: And idol forms shall perish,

And error shall decay,

And Christ shall wield his sceptre,

Our Lord and God, for ay.

Repeat the hymn again:

To God on high be glory,

And peace on earth to men!

Hieronymus Praetorius




Magnificat on the 5th tone with interpolated carols "Joseph lieber, Joseph mein" and "In dulci jubilo"

The Magnificat, sung regularly at every Anglican Evensong as well as at Catholic Vespers, was the song of Mary on receiving the news from the Angel Gabriel of her forthcoming conception. Here, as was common in the Lutheran rite in 17th-century Germany, the verses are alternated with verses from two familiar Christmas carols. The first is a cradle song, "Joseph lieber, Joseph mein" (Joseph dearest, Joseph mine), and the second - in a mixture of German and Latin - is "In dulci jubilo" (With sweet jubilation). The Magnificat itself is in an "alternatim" setting, meaning that verses of polyphony alternate with verses of plainsong.


Ben Jonson, 1573-1637

An Hymn on the Nativity of my Saviour

Christopher Tye, 1500-73

arr. Richard Alison, c 1600

While Shepherds watched

John Foster, 1752-1822


While Shepherds watched

Carol for choir and audience:

14th Century,

arr. Michael Praetorius, 1571-1621

Quem pastores laudavere

We thought we would leave this in the original Latin. Even if you are not familiar with Latin, just sing each word as you would in English – you won’t be far wrong.

Quem pastores laudavere,
quibus angeli dixere,
"Absit vobis iam timere,
natus est Rex gloriae."

Ad quem magi ambulabant,
aurum, thus, myrrham portabant,
immolabant haec sincere
leoni victoriae.

Christo regi, Deo nato,
per Mariam nobis dato,
merito resonet vere
laus, honor, et gloria.

Unto him whom the shepherds praised, told by the angels "Be not afraid: the King of Glory is born!";

Unto him to whom the Magi journeyed, to whom they brought gold, frankincense and myrrh, to whom, the victorious Lion [of Judah], they offered these things with sincerity

Unto him, Christ the King, the Son of God, given to us through Mary, let "Praise, Honour and Glory!" right worthily resound.



Nativity and Mystery

Clemens non Papa, c.1510-1556

O magnum mysterium

William Blake, 1757-1827 (From Songs of Innocence and Experience, 1789)

The Lamb

Giovanni Gabrieli, 1555-1612

O magnum mysterium

O great mystery, and wondrous sacrament, that the animals should see the newborn Lord lying in the manger. Noel!


Carol for choir and audience:

Collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams from Mrs Verrall of Monk’s Gate, near Horsham, 1904

The Sussex Carol (On Christmas night all Christians sing)

Choir: On Christmas night all Christians sing,
To hear the news the angels bring,

Audience: On Christmas night all Christians sing,
To hear the new the angels bring –

All: News of great joy, news of great mirth,
News of our merciful King's birth.

Choir: All out of darkness we have light,
Which made the angels sing this night,

Audience: All out of darkness we have light,
Which made the angels sing this night:

All: "Glory to God and peace to men,
Now and for evermore. Amen.'"

John Hill, c.1730-1800

Hymn for Christmas Day

William Byrd, 1540-1623 from Songs of sundry natures, 1589

From Virgin’s womb



Giovanni Gabrieli, 1555-1612


Anon, 17th Century Scottish

Sir William Keith's Paven and Galyard


T S Eliot, 1888-1965

Journey of the Magi

John Sheppard, 1515-58

Reges Tharsis

The kings of Tharsis and the islands shall offer presents. The kings of the Arabia and of Saba shall bring gifts. And all kings shall adore him: all nations shall serve him. Because he shall deliver the poor from the mighty: and the poor which had no helper. He shall spare the poor and needy: and he shall save the souls of the poor.

Carol for choir and audience:

John Henry Hopkins, 1820-90

Three Kings of Orient

Choir: We three kings of Orient are
Bearing gifts we traverse afar.
Field and fountain, moor and mountain,
Following yonder star.

Audience: O Star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect Light.

Solo: Born a king on Bethlehem's plain,
Gold I bring to crown Him again,
King forever, ceasing never
Over us all to reign.

Solo: Frankincense to offer have I.
Incense owns a Deity nigh.
Prayer and praising all men raising,
Worship Him, God most high.


Solo: Myrrh is mine: its bitter perfume
Breathes a life of gathering gloom.
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding dying,
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb.

Choir: Glorious now behold Him arise,
King and God and Sacrifice.
Heaven sing ‘Alleluia!’;
‘Alleluia’ the earth replies.


Herod and the slaughter of the innocents

Anon, c.1550

Mark this song, for it is trewe

William Byrd, 1540-1623


Pageant of the Shearmen and Taylors, Coventry mystery plays, 16th Century

Coventry carol




Thomas Hardy, 1840-1928

Under the Greenwood Tree

Collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams & Cecil Sharp in Gloucestershire, 1900-1920

Wassail! Wassail all over the town!


Carol for choir and audience:

English traditional





We wish you a merry Christmas

We wish you a merry Christmas,

We wish you a merry Christmas,

We wish you a merry Christmas

And a happy New Year.

Glad tidings we bring

To you and your kin;

We wish you a merry Christmas

And a happy New Year.

Now bring us some figgy pudding,

Now bring us some figgy pudding,

Now bring us some figgy pudding

And bring it us here!


O we won’t go until we’ve got some,

No, we won’t go until we’ve got some,

We won’t go until we’ve got some

So give it us here!


O we all like figgy pudding,

Yes, we all like figgy pudding,

We all like figgy pudding,

So bring it out here!







After the concert there will be a collection on

behalf of the Friends of the Nigel Porter Unit

for breast Care, Royal Sussex County Hospital.

Funds are needed to provide modern equipment,

To refurbish the unit, to fund further research, to provide staff training and to produce information

for patients, their families and friends.

Please give generously!

Brighton Consort (Musical Director: Deborah Roberts)


Penny Acton

Ellen Behrens

Sue Clough

Miranda Cobb

Jacqui Gough

Mirella Marlow

Sally Morris

Yvonne Whitley-Jones


Elspeth Barnett

Jenny Clemens

Jason Field

Heide Hughes

Marion Pilbeam

Jane Richards

Sîan Spencer

Elizabeth Taylor

Pat Zielinska


Maya Davis

Richard Davis

Roger Fenn

Barry Luck

David Spencer


Michael Bishop

David Brand

Michael Clemens

Douglas Colwell

Andrew Connal

Tom Jeffers

Jason Jeffries

Maurice Shipsey


Pastores Viols

Andrew Kerr

Paul Neville

Robert Carrington

Barbara Ruffles

Treble viol

Treble and bass viols

Tenor viol

Bass viol






The Consort Gallery Band

Roger Fenn

Michael Clemens

Jason Jeffries

Jason Field

Barry Luck

Elizabeth Taylor

Marion Pilbeam

Heide Hughes

Tom Jeffers

Jill Segerman


Andrew van der Beek


Clarinet, recorder, gemshorn




Viol and recorder

Viol and recorder




Serpent and bass sackbut












Take Brighton Consort home with you…

Our first CD, "Brighton Consort in Concert",

is on sale at the back of the church, price £7

An ideal Christmas present for your musical friends!