St George's, Christmas 2006

A Ceremony of Carols
Carols and Readings

St George's Bristol
Friday 14th & Saturday 15th December 2007

Peter Leech  Conductor
Nigel Nash  Piano
Emily Mullins  Harp
Rustom Battiwalla  Piano

'......this was another delightful pre-Christmas evening'
Gerry Parker, Bristol Evening Post

A sparkling mix of carols, interspersed with readings, to make us think, laugh, and reflect on the true values of Christmas.

The concert opened with the Sopranos and Altos processing through the audience singing the sublime opening chant, Hodie Christus natus est, from Britten’s Ceremony of Carols, a work of haunting beauty which captures the spirit and mystery of Christmas.


Benjamin Britten A Ceremony of Carols  (arr. Julius Harrison)
1 Procession Hodie Christus natus est
2 Wolcum Yole! (anon, 14th century)
Reading: Mary of Nazareth - Clive Sansom ("The Witnesses")
3 There is no Rose  (anon, 14th century)
4a That yongë child (anon, 14th century)
4b Balulalow (James, John and Robert Wedderburn, 1561)
5 As dew in Aprille (anon, c.1400)
6 This little Babe (Robert Southwell, 1561 - 1595)
Reading: The Christmas Silence - Margaret Deland
7 Interlude - harp
8 In freezing winter night (Robert Southwell)
9 Spring Carol (William Cornish, d.1523)
10 Deo Gracias (anon, 15th century)
Audience: It came upon the midnight clear - Arthur Sullivan, arr. David Willcocks
Choir: There is a flow'r sprung of a tree - Stanley Vann (b.1910)
Tomorrow shall be my dancing day - trad., arr. David Willcocks (b.1919)


Choir: Past three a clock - trad., arr. John Rutter (b.1945)
Sans Day Carol - Cornish trad., arr. John Rutter
Reading: Our Pear Tree - Lucy Newlyn
Audience: Unto us is born a Son - arr. David Willcocks
Choir: Away in a manger - arr. Rustom Battiwalla*
Zither Carol - arr. Rustom Battiwalla*
Reading: Christmas in NW1 - Alan Bennett
Choir: Sussex Carol - trad., arr. David Willcocks
The Lamb - words William Blake (1757-1827); music John Tavener (b.1944)
Audience: Hark! the herald angels sing - Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)
Reading: Slouching towards Bethlehem - Alan Coren (1938-2007
Choir: The Christmas Song - Mel Tormé/Robert Wells, arr. Peter Gritton
Deck the Hall - Welsh trad., arr. David Willcocks
Encore: Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane, arr. Peter Gritton

*  Rustom accompanied the choir in their performance of his own two arrangements in the second half of the programme.

Benjamin Britten (1913-1976)
At the onset of the Second World War in 1939, Britten, a lifelong pacifist, followed W.H.Auden to the United States where he stayed for three years. The Ceremony of Carols was composed during the long and perilous journey back to Britain in a cargo ship in 1942.

The texts, often in a macaronic mixture of Latin and Middle English, are partly anonymous, and reflect the medieval understanding of God, the world and mankind. The traditional nativity narrative is somewhat sidelined in favour of other themes including original sin and the perfection of the Virgin Mary.

The work was originally written in three parts for boys’ treble voices and harp, and was first performed in the Wigmore Hall, London, in December 1943.  The version offered in this programme was a later arrangement by Julius Harrison for four-part mixed voices.
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Emily Mullins (harp) began her musical education at school where she won distinctions at grade 8 in harp, oboe and piano.  She gained BMus (Hons) from the University of Birmingham whilst continuing her harp studies with Robert Johnston (principal harpist, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra).

Emily has performed concertos with regional orchestras and given recitals as part of 'Celeste flute' and harp duo.  She has played for the CBSO, the Royal Shakespeare Company and plays regularly for the New Bristol Sinfonia.

Emily enjoys teaching the harp and piano both to private pupils and at Clifton College and is much in demand as a freelance player in the South West where she combines her musical career with a young family.
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Rustom Battiwalla (piano) was born and grew up in London and played the piano from an early age. At school he took up the double bass and played in the London Schools Symphony Orchestra as well as developing an interest in jazz.

Rustom studied piano, jazz piano and double bass at the Guildhall School of Music, graduating with a First and an ARCM(Hons) diploma. Since this time Rustom has been very active as an amateur musician, frequently giving solo, chamber, duet and concerto performances.

This year's Bristol Bach Choir concerts mark Rustom's first foray into the world of choral arranging, inspired by his arrangements of Christmas Carols made for the CD 'A Special Christmas' which was produced last year and is available this evening. Rustom lives in Bristol with his wife Issy, and they are expecting their first baby in March 2008.
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THIS YEAR'S CHARITIES - retiring collection

Caring at Christmas provides an emergency shelter in St Paul's, open for homeless people at Christmas. It provides food, shelter, accommodation, entertainment and friendship, as well as a basic health care and advice service to homeless people.

Our year round work includes producing the Bristol Survival Handbook and we also run the Caring in Bristol website - a resource for those who work with homeless people. Caring at Christmas also runs Bristol Nightstop – a project offering 16-25 year olds (although most are under 21) emergency accommodation, on a night-by-night basis, in volunteer hosts' homes.

Caring at Christmas, Little Bishop Street,
St Paul's, BRISTOL BS2 9JF
Phone: 0117 924 4444
email  Caring at Christmas
or visit

Macmillan Cancer Support improves the lives of people affected by cancer. The wants and needs of those we support are at the heart of everything we do.

We help to break the boundaries, campaigning to reduce hospital parking costs and fighting discriminatory travel insurance policies, keeping the issues affecting cancer at the top of the government agenda.

We are dedicated to ensuring all cancer patients receive the practical, medical, emotional and financial support they need, when they need it.

One in three of us will get cancer. 1.2 million of us are living with it.

We are all affected by cancer. We can all help. We are Macmillan Cancer Support.

Call free on 0808 808 2020
email  Macmillan Cancer Support
or visit

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