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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 a cappella / Chorus plus 1 instrument
Year Composed
23 Minutes
SATB (with divisi)
Alternate Orchestration
SATB (with divisi); fife flute/3pt.3tbn/2perc/org/optional congregation

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Score Score
Set of Parts Set of Parts
Solo Part   
Solo Part   

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
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.

  • 17 DEC 2017
    Colonial Park UCC church, Harrisburg, PA
    Harrisburg Choral Society
  • 09 DEC 2017
    Central United Methodist Church, Florence, SC
    The Masterworks Choir
    William Carswell, conductor

    Other Dates:
    10 December - Central United Methodist Church, Florence, SC
  • 09 DEC 2011
    Princeton University Chapel, Princeton, USA
    Westminster Choir College Choirs

    Other Dates:
    10 December - Princeton University Chapel, Princeton, USA
  • 24 DEC 2007
    Rochester Cathedral, Kent
    Rochester Cathedral Choirs & Locke Brass Ensemble
    Daniel Soper (organ); Roger Sayer, conductor
  • 19 DEC 2007
    Church of St. Lukas, Munich, Germany
    Choir of the Church of St. Lukas
    Andrea Goergner, conductor

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