On Holy Night

St David's Church, Queen's Terrace, Exeter, EX4 4HR

Tel: 01392 265200

Brown haired child looking at decorated Christmas tree


This year’s Christmas programme takes us away from the well-trodden path of traditional seasonal carols.
The first half of the concert comprises a single, beautiful work – Charpentier’s Messe de Minuit pour Noël. Marc-Antoine Charpentier held the important post of Maître de Musique at the great Jesuit church of St-Louis in Paris. Dating from around 1690, the Messe de Minuit is an inspired and masterful blend of melodies drawn from traditional French carols and new music composed by Charpentier.
It was once a custom in France for carols to be an integral part of the celebration of Midnight Mass, despite their secular origins. This Messe is made up of eleven noëls, most of which are dance-like in character, reflecting the traditional folk-song nature of the carols.
Duration: 30 minutes

The work in the second half of the concert is Christmas Story by Heinrich Schütz.

A musical setting of the Nativity in German, it was intended to be performed during a service instead of a Gospel reading. It was probably first performed at a Christmas service in 1660 at the court of the Elector of Saxony, Dresden, where Schütz was the Kapellmeister.

A solo tenor voice narrates the story in the role of Evangelist. Other well-known and traditional characters of the Nativity story are also featured: hosts of angels, shepherds, the three wise men, priests and scribes, King Herod and an angel who appears to Joseph. All these roles will be sung by members of EFC Voices.

The soloists are accompanied by a six-part choir with the score revealing some unexpected dramatic musical turns to emphasise particular events in this seasonal story.

Duration: 45 minutes

Interval refreshments will be served.

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Opening Times

On Holy Night (10 Dec 2022)

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