Navidad Nuestra – what are we singing?

19/10/2018 12:29

Navidad Nuestra and other Christmas songs from around the world

Didsbury Baptist Church, 8th December 2018,7:30pm

The centrepiece of our concert is Navidad Nuestra (Our Nativity) composed by Ariel Ramirez in 1964. The music in the six episodes is based on dances and songs of Argentinean musical traditions, each episode having a distinct regional voice. The Spanish texts by Felix Luna narrate the Christmas story – from the annunciation, the pilgrimage, the nativity, the shepherds, the three kings, to the flight to Egypt. However, Luna locates the story in the north of his native Argentina, rather than Bethlehem, and uses some of the indigenous language to describe the actors, musical instruments and drinks!

We will be using Ramirez’s original instrumentation with a small orchestra accompanying the Chorale to give the piece a very rhythmic Hispanic American feel.

To prepare ourselves for singing Navidad, we have some more South American songs, sung either in Spanish or the Quechua language, that celebrate the birth of Jesus.

O Magnum Mysterium is one of the Chorale’s favourite works. The music to the ‘Great Mystery’ is described by Canadian composer Morten Lauridsen as ‘a quiet song of profound inner joy’.

Angelis Suis Deus has a steady chant from the men throughout with the Chorale ladies adding a tranquil four-part tune over the top. An inspired and moving composition from Lithuanian Vytautas Miškinis.

We will of course be interspersing some well-known Christmas carols and songs from around the world between these pieces. In fact, over 20 countries will be represented in our concert, covering four continents. Did you know Good King Wenceslas is from the Czech Republic? And King Jesus Hath a Garden is from Holland? Even England, Ireland and Wales get a look in! Sorry Scotland.