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Hyperion Records

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Mystical Tree (1996) by Peter Davidson (d1999)
Private Collection / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67787
Recording details: March 2009
Exeter College Chapel, Oxford, United Kingdom
Produced by Adrian Peacock
Engineered by Andrew Mellor
Release date: January 2010
Total duration: 4 minutes 41 seconds

'From the vibrancy of the very first track, the lively imagination of Rautavaara's writing for voices, the pungent palette of the Schola Cantorum of Oxford, and the clarity and spacial excitement of this record, are immediately apparent' (BBC Music Magazine)

'The music may be as soft-centred as melting chocolate, but the performances have real fire and beauty' (The Irish Times)

Our joyful'st feast
composer
2008; commissioned by the Helsinki Chamber Choir and Nils Schweckendiek
author of text
When icicles hang: Love's Labour's Lost V:2; Some say that ever: Hamlet I:1
author of text
So, now is come our joyful'st feast, from A Christmas Caroll

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Before Our joyful’st feast (2008), a recent addition to his catalogue, Rautavaara had written two Christmas hymns, both of them arrangements separated from their original context: Joulun virsi (‘Christmas hymn’), a brief partsong, was originally the final song of the solo song cycle Pyhiä päiviä (‘Holy days’, 1953); Marjatan jouluvirsi (‘Marjatta’s Christmas hymn’) was originally the final song of the mystery play Marjatta matala neiti (‘Marjatta, lowly maiden’), a setting of the Nativity as told in a folk tale in the Finnish national epic, written for the Tapiola Choir in 1975.

Rautavaara wrote in his programme notes: ‘When the Helsinki Chamber Choir and Nils Schweckendiek wished to commission me to write a choral work to be performed at the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) Christmas concert, I decided to set texts from two English Renaissance poets: two extracts from Shakespeare’s plays and a section from an extensive Christmas poem by his contemporary George Wither. These have a robust Renaissance joyfulness which I feel suits a European Christmas, even five hundred years later.’

from notes by Jaakko Mäntyjärvi © 2010

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