Harry Christophers and The Sixteen join Simon Russell Beale for two special Christmas programmes that look beyond the familiar carols and festive songs to reveal two millennia of music and texts from across Europe.
Bonus Features include:
· Sacred Music Series One and An Easter Celebration DVD trailers
· 7 Bonus Audio Tracks taken from a selection of The Sixteen’s celebrated Christmas CDs
· Related Recordings by The Sixteen
· Artist Biographies and Images
A CHRISTMAS HISTORY
Simon Russell Beale takes a journey through Italy, Britain, Germany and Austria as he explores how the sound of Christmas has evolved in response to changing ideas about the Nativity. His story takes us through two millennia of music, from a fragment of papyrus preserving the earliest known piece of Christian music to the stories behind Hark! The herald angels sing, Silent Night and In the bleak midwinter, and the work of popular Christmas composer, John Rutter all performed by Harry Christophers and The Sixteen.
A CHORAL CHRISTMAS
Simon Russell Beale introduces a programme of choral music for Christmas from across the centuries, featuring performances of some of the works featured in the accompanying documentary. Harry Christophers and The Sixteen, perform music including J.S. Bach's harmonisation of the medieval carol In dulci jubilo, A spotless rose by Herbert Howells and the Christmas text O magnum mysterium, set as a motet by Tomás Luis de Victoria.
“it’s a worthy potted history of Christmas music. Simon Russell Beale is an engaging frontman, largely as he appears to know what he’s taking about rather than blankly reading from an autocue. And the musical extracts are well chosen, notably the third-century Oxyrhynchus hymn, the earliest known preserved piece of Christian music.” The Arts Desk, 14th December 2011