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This is a setting of the George Mackay Brown poem ‘The Keeper of the Midnight Gate’, from his collection ‘Winterfold’. The work is based on the Liber Usualis Christmas plainsong ‘Hodie nobis caelorum Rex’, but in a more interesting Portugese variant, from a manuscript source.
WINTERFOLD was written for the Fires of London Twentieth Birthday Gala and the first performance took place on 20 January 1987 at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London. The fires of London were conducted by the composer with Mary Thomas (mezzo-soprano).
Peter Maxwell Davies