Dorchester Choral Society

Notes on the composers and works

As a foreword to Michael Tippett’s oratorio A Child of Our Time, the composer placed the following quotation by T.S. Eliot from his play Murder in the Cathedral: “ . . . the darkness declares the glory of light”. The title for our December concert can be said to have grown from these words, as well as from the recent Advent Festival services Darkness to Light so memorably celebrated at Salisbury Cathedral. Our latter choice of music reflects the Church’s period of waiting and preparation during December for the coming of the Christ-child.

We move from the rhapsodic mournfulness and relative darkness of Purcell’s Funeral Music, ‘accompanied with flatt Mournfull Trumpets’ in the opening and closing March and Canzonas, to the radiant glory and light of Bruckner’s motets, most notably Ecce sacerdos, supported so richly by organ and trombones, which music provides a vital, dramatic and dynamic contrast to Purcell’s music.

Baroque music for Christmas completes our seasonal programme. Das neugeborne Kindelein is a short cantata on a poetic text by the Danish composer and organist Dietrich Buxtehude, written most likely for performance in one of the Abendmusik concerts before Christmas 1680 in the Marienkirche in Lübeck. ‘The Christmas Story’ - Historia der Geburt Jesu Christi - by Heinrich Schütz, was one of the Dresdenbased composer’s last major works, probably first performed on Christmas Day 1660 at the Elector of Saxony’s Court Chapel.

Colin Howard


Click on the blue links here to discover - via wikipedia - more about the composers and works within this concert.

Purcell       Funeral Sentences for Queen Mary

Bruckner    Sacred Motets

Ecce Sacerdos

Ave Maria

Locus Iste

Christus Factus Est

Buxtehude    Das Neugeborne Kindlein   (A newborn King - the Christmas Story)

Schütz      Weihnachtshistorie  (The Christmas Story)



Photos From Our Previous Performances