James: Hodie Christus Natus Est SATB divisi unaccompanied
Mixed Voices (SATB+)
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The original version of this piece of music was first sung by the Rodolfus Choir in St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, as part of The Brandenburg Choral Festival in December 2017. I am incredibly grateful to Ralph Allwood and Robert Porter for allowing its performance and inviting me to conduct it. I am indebted to Ralph’s guidance and support in my development as a musician. Although premiered by Rodolfus, it is written for Russell Keable and the University of Surrey Chamber Choir with their annual carol service in mind.
This version is written for unaccompanied SSAATTBB choir, with four optional soprano solos, who should be positioned at the four corners of the audience/congregation. If possible, the choir should sing surrounding the audience/congregation. Without soloists, the piece begins at bar 29.
Alexander was born and raised in Canterbury, where he live outside of his University term time. He began playing keyboard at the age of 5 and from that point on took regular lessons in piano and singing. He attended The King's School Canterbury, where he heard, for the first time, the Palestrina Matin Responsory being sung to open the annual school carol service held in Canterbury Cathedral; this kindled in him an ambition to sing as part of a distinguished choir and to arrange music for voice.
During his time at the school, he began composing music - the desire to do so came largely by chance when he happened upon a piece of anonymous Anglo-Saxon text, How Long the Night, which motivated him to put it to music. It became the setting for his first choral work and premiered a year later in a concert held in the Canterbury Cathedral cloisters.
After his A Levels, Alexander took a gap year as a choral scholar at Portsmouth Cathedral, where his singing greatly improved, and he began to compose choral music more regularly. Currently an undergraduate Tonmeister student at the University of Surrey, he finds himself composing almost on a daily basis - calling upon his past 3 years of experience gained in directing and singing with high-calibre ensembles and choirs.
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