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Merry Christmas from the Treble Choir of Houston at Christ Church Cathedral

Updated: Dec 11, 2023




Here are two Christmas Carol Postcards from the Treble Choir of Houston:


“Angels' Carol” is a popular sacred choral piece by Sir John Rutter (b. 1945) for Christmas. He wrote his own text, beginning "Have you heard the sound of the angel voices", three stanzas with the refrain "Gloria in excelsis Deo".  This carol was composed in the 1980s to be performed by the winners of a competition for choirboys and choirgirls in London.

 

Have you heard the sound of the angel voices

ringing out so sweetly, ringing out so clear?

Have you seen the star shining out so brightly

as a sign from God that Christ the Lord is here?

 

Have you heard the news that they bring from heaven

to the humble shepherds who have waited long?

Gloria in excelsis Deo! Gloria in excelsis Deo!

Hear the angels sing their joyful song.

 

He is come in peace in the winter's stillness,

like a gentle snowfall in the gentle night.

He is come in joy, like the sun at morning,

filling all the world with radiance and with light.

 

He is come in love as the child of Mary.

In a simple stable we have seen his birth.

Gloria in excelsis Deo! Gloria in excelsis Deo!

Hear the angels singing 'Peace on earth'.

 

He will bring new light to a world in darkness,

like a bright star shining in the skies above.

He will bring new hope to the waiting nations,

when he comes to reign in purity and love.

 

Let the earth rejoice at the Saviour's coming.

Let the heavens answer with a joyful morn:

Gloria in excelsis Deo! Gloria in excelsis Deo!

Hear the angels singing, 'christ is born'

Hear the angels singing, 'christ is born'

 

 

 

Tomorrow Shall be My Dancing Day is an English carol usually attributed as "traditional"; its first written appearance is in William B. Sandys' Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern of 1833.  However, it is almost certainly of a much earlier date. In his 2006 book, “An Easy Guide to Christmas Carols: Their Past, Present and Future” by William Emmett Studwell (1936 – 2010), placed it in the 16th century. 

 

The verses of the hymn progress through the story of Jesus told in his own voice.  An innovative feature of the telling is that Jesus' life is repeatedly characterized as a dance.

 

John Linton Gardner CBE (1917 – 2011) created his setting of this carol in 1965, Opus 75, No. 2, for the choir of St Paul's Cathedral in London.

 

Tomorrow shall be my dancing day;

I would my true love did so chance

To see the legend of my play,

To call my true love to my dance;

 

Chorus (sung after each verse)

Sing, oh! my love, oh! my love, my love, my love,

This have I done for my true love.

 

Then was I born of a virgin pure,

Of her I took fleshly substance

Thus was I knit to man's nature

To call my true love to my dance.

 

In a manger laid, and wrapped I was

So very poor, this was my chance

Betwixt an ox and a silly poor ass

To call my true love to my dance.

 

Then afterwards baptized I was;

The Holy Ghost on me did glance,

My Father’s voice heard I from above,

To call my true love to my dance.

 

 

Both these recordings by the Treble Choir were made in Christ Church Cathedral in Houston during the Houston Chamber Choir concerts in December 2021.  The choir was directed by Marianna Parnas-Simpson, with Darryl Robinson accompanying the choir on the Aeolian-Skinner Organ Opus 976, dedicated in 1939.  This organ was rebuilt and enlarged in 1954, 1968, 1993, and 2012.  The Edwin Robinson Spotts Memorial Organ in the Cathedral Choir, and the William N. Barnard Memorial Antiphonal Organ in the Cathedral Nave contains 66 stops, 90 ranks, and 5,045 pipes.

 

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