This Orkney Christmas cycle can be sung equally by a sextet or choir (male or mixed).
The setting is largely homphonic, in Davies’s 'adult' modal style and with a characteristic inventiveness of vocal scoring, as in the storm sequence, with its whistling upper voices and eruptive bass line.
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This is a setting of four Christmas poses by George Mackay Brown, written especially for the King’s Singers and first performed at the St Magnus Festival on 23 June1986 at East Church, Kirkwall. The commission was generously sponsored by the Ford Motor Company Limited. The music is continuous, and though scored for unaccompanied voices, it becomes almost orchestral in evocation of the clam, frozen stillness of an Orkney winter on the one hand, and the wildness of a December storm on the other.
© Peter Maxwell Davies