Christmas Eve (1912) is a symphonic poem by British composer Arnold Bax, which he composed while staying at Glean na Smól in County Dublin in Ireland. The work was originally premiered in 1913 as “Christmas Eve on the Mountains”, but the composer revised the work and abridged the title twenty years later. In the opening passage he had “tried to suggest the sharp light of frosty stars and an ecstasy of peace falling for one night of the year upon the troubled Irish hills.”
The story of John Rutter’s Brother Heinrich’s Christmas is built around the legend that the carol In dulci jubilo was first sung by angels who miraculously appeared to the medieval monk Heinrich Suso one Christmas Eve. Brother Heinrich is helped in the story by a donkey named Sigismond.
Frederick Delius’s Sleigh Ride was written in 1899 and originally titled “Winter Night.” It has also been referred to as “Norwegian Sleigh Ride.”
A Boy Was Born, Op. 3, is a choral composition by Benjamin Britten. Written as a set of six choral variations, It was written when Britten was only in his second term at the Royal College of Music. Variation five is a setting of In the Bleak Mid-Winter and the sixth and final variation is a setting of the carol Noel!
We’ll feature these holiday-themed works on An English Pastorale, Sunday at 9 am.