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Wenceslas

composer
2014; composed for the 150th anniversary of the John Lewis Partnership
author of text

 
For many choirs, the Christmas and holiday season is a busy time of year. As someone who has sung in a number of choirs, I always enjoy trying to compose new music for this season. In 2014 I asked my friend, the poet Charles Bennett, to write an entertainment based on the legend of the Bohemian King who braved the winter weather with his page to save the life of a poor peasant. I managed to find a way to incorporate the melody of the famous carol, Good King Wenceslas, into each of the movements, culminating in the audience singing with the choir and orchestra in the final verse in the last section of the piece. Wenceslas was written for the 150th anniversary of one of the most loved department stores in Britain, John Lewis in Oxford Street, right in the centre of London. The John Lewis Partnership, made up of some 46 stores across Britain, is owned by all its partners, nearly 90,000 of them, and they all share in the profits and successes of the business. John Lewis has its own orchestra and choirs and for the first performance of this piece, singers from stores from all over the country came to the Royal Albert Hall in London to perform. I wrote this recorded version, with a smaller instrumentation of brass, organ, and timpani in 2016, and it was premiered by Choralis in Washington, DC, in December of the same year.

from notes by Bob Chilcott © 2017

Recordings

Chilcott: In winter's arms
Studio Master: SIGCD512Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

Details

Movement 1: Wintertide  Listen to the storm!
Track 1 on SIGCD512 [4'21] Download only
Movement 2: Who can that be?
Track 2 on SIGCD512 [2'35] Download only
Movement 3: Forth they went  We’ll take a blanket soft and warm
Track 3 on SIGCD512 [2'12] Download only
Movement 4: Interlude – Winter Dark
Movement 5: Sleeping in winter’s arms  As I lay me down
Track 5 on SIGCD512 [2'25] Download only
Movement 6: Thank you  Never thought I’d make it this far
Track 6 on SIGCD512 [4'04] Download only
Movement 7: Fanfare - Winter Bright
Movement 8: On Saint Stephen’s Night  A log on the fire was a tree in the forest
Track 8 on SIGCD512 [5'14] Download only

Track-specific metadata

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