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James Whitbourn

Publisher: Chester Music

Missa Carolae (2004)
Commissioned by the Rochester Cathedral for its 1400th anniversary.
Chester Music Ltd
Chorus and Orchestra/Ensemble
Year Composed
23 Minutes
SATB (with divisi)
English, Latin
Alternate Orchestration
SATB (with divisi); org; pic (optional)

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Programme Note
James Whitbourn Missa Carolae (2004)
The work is available in two scorings: it can be performed either with SATB, choir and organ (all scores available on sale), or, preferably, in its original scoring:

SATB (with divisi)
Piccolo (or fife)
3 Trumpets
3 Trombones
2 percussionists (drums, cymbals, tubular bell)
Congregation part (ad lib.)

The instrumental parts for this version are available on hire from the publishers. The vocal score and congregation and solo parts are available on sale.

NB: the organ accompaniment in this score is for performance of the version for voices and organ only; the separate organ part, available on hire, must be used for the version with instruments.

An ad lib. part for the congregation is incorporated into the full scoring of Missa Carolae. References to the entries of the congregation is made in the vocal score for occasions when it is used in conjunction with the full instrumentation. The congregation part is available on sale (order no. CH70961).

Missa Carolæ was written for the 1400th anniversary of Rochester Cathedral, the second oldest cathedral in England. Performances there begin with a ceremonial procession that follows the movement of a boy chorister, accompanied by pipe and drum, from the High Altar to a large crib placed in the Nave, gathering the choirs (singing from different parts of the cathedral) and principal clergy in the course of the procession.

The work, though not literally for dancing, is intended to invoke a dance-like spirit, which is true to the origin of the carol as a simple dance form. The choir parts should be very well known, so that the singers can sing with the whole of their bodies and not just their voices. It is suitable for liturgical or concert use.

The following melodies from traditional Christmas Carols are incorporated in the mass:

Processional: Guillô, pran ton tamborin!
Kyrie: Noël nouvelet! (French traditional).
Gloria: Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen (Prætorius);
God rest ye merry gentlemen (English traditional).
Sanctus & Benedictus: In dulci jubilo (German traditional);
Remember, O thou man (Ravenscroft).
Agnus Dei: Wzlobie lezy (Infant holy) (Polish traditional).

Texts: Guillô, pran ton tamborin! (translated by James Whitbourn), Isaiah 9 and the Latin Mass.

Preview the score:

  • Ensemble
    Choirs of Rochester Cathedral
    Locke Brass Consort; Lesley Pocknell, piccolo; Joby Burgess & Catherine Ring, percussion
    Roger Sayer & Daniel Soper
    Herald AV:
  • Music Sales Group:
  • Ensemble
    Elysian Singers
    Sam Laughton
  • 22 DEC 2017
    Ely Cathedral, UK
    Ely Cathedral Choir
  • 20 DEC 2017
    Jezuïetenkerk, Lier, Belgium
    Vlaams Radio Koor
    Martina Batic, conductor
  • 15 DEC 2017
    Brussels, Belgium
    Vlaams Radio Choir and Orchestra

    Other Dates:
    17 December - Vlierbeek, Belgium
    19 December - Bruges, Belgium
    20 December - Lier, Belgium
    23 December - Brussels, Belgium
  • 12 DEC 2017
    Abdijkerk, Vlierbeek, Belgium
    Flemish Radio Choir, Soloists from the Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra
    Martina Batic, conductor

    Other Dates:
    20 December - Jezuietenkerk, Lier, Belgium
    23 December - Flagey, Brussels, Belgium
  • 10 DEC 2017
    Carlow, Ireland
    Carlow Choral Society
  • 10 DEC 2017
    College Church, Wheaton, IL
    College Church in Wheaton
    Erik Dewar, conductor
  • 07 DEC 2017
    St.Gertrudiskerk, Bergem op Zoom, Netherlands
    Hét Concertkoor
    Jeroen Weierink, conductor
  • 03 DEC 2017
    St Cuthbert’s Church, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
    The Edinburgh Bach Choir
    Stephen Doughty, conductor
  • 09 DEC 2016
    St Mary's Pro Cathedral, Dublin, Ireland
    The Dublin Bach Singers
    Robbie Carroll, organ; Blanaid Murphy, conductor
  • 04 DEC 2016
    Waynesville First United Methodist Church, NC, USA
    The Haywood Community Chorus
    Kyle Ritter, Organ
  • 20 NOV 2016
    Trinity Lutheran Church, W. 100th St., New York
    Florilegium Chamber Choir
    Dr. Ronnie Oliver, Jr, conductor
  • 10 DEC 2015
    Christmas Concert
    St Andrew, Holborn, London
    The Esterhazy Singers
    Esther Jones, conductor
  • 06 DEC 2015
    Bolton Parish Church
  • 05 DEC 2015
    First Presbyterian Church, 101 Bridgeboro Road, Moorestown,NJ
    West Jersey Chamber Music Society
    James Roman,organ; Joel Krott, conductor
  • 28 NOV 2015
    St Peter's on Willis, Te Aro, Wellington
    Wellington Bach Choir
  • 01 DEC 2013
    Orewa College Arts and Events Centre, Orewa; New Zealand
    Hibiscus Coast Singers
  • 01 DEC 2013
    Orewa College Arts and Events Centre, Orewa, USA
    Hibiscus Coast Singers
  • 12 DEC 2012
    St Peter's Church, Killarney Avenue, Takapuna, Auckland, New Zealand
    Northshore Chorale
  • 09 DEC 2012
    St Mary's Church, Sidegate, Haddington
  • 08 DEC 2012
    Christchurch, Radlett
    Radlett Choral Society
  • 08 DEC 2012
    Radlett Choral Society
  • 08 DEC 2012
    Christchurch, Radlett
    Radlett Choral Society
  • 07 DEC 2012
    Princeton University Chapel
    Westminster Choir College

    Other Dates:
    8 December - Princeton University Chapel
  • 24 DEC 2011
    Rochester Cathedral, Rochester, UK
    Choirs of Rochester Cathedral
    Scott Farrell, conductor
  • 18 DEC 2011
    Chatam, NJ
    Stanley Congressional Church UCC
    Clifford Parrish, conductor
  • 10 DEC 2011
    Christ Church, Radlett
    Radlett Choral Society
  • 24 DEC 2010
    Holy Trinity Cathedral, Auckland, New Zealand
    Choir of Holy Trinity Cathedral
    Philip Smith, organ; Peter de Blois, conductor
  • 24 DEC 2010
    Rochester Cathedral, Kent
    Choirs of Rochester Cathedral
    Scott Farrell, conductor
  • 19 DEC 2010
    Bellevue, WA
    First Congregational Church Of Bellevue
    Dennis Coleman, conductor
  • 15 DEC 2010
    St Michael and All Angels, Bedford Park, London
    Elysian Singers

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