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Noël – A French Christmas

Christmas tree closeup

The Cascadian Chorale celebrates the season with two performances of their holiday concert “Noël – A French Christmas,” featuring traditional French Christmas carols and seasonal works by major French composers. The Chorale, under the baton of Artistic Director Gary Cannon, will be joined by organist Sheila Bristow.

The warmth of the season shines beautifully in this festive selection of Christmas music from France. The highlight of the concert, Charpentier’s charming Messe de Minuit pour Noël (Christmas Midnight Mass), is widely considered a masterpiece of the French Baroque. Within the Mass setting, Charpentier seamlessly incorporates carol tunes of the era, creating a unique holiday classic.

The Cascadian Chorale will also perform arrangements of traditional French carols, including Angels We Have Heard on High and O Holy Night, as well as works by Hector Berlioz and the rarely-performed mid-twentieth-century master, Jehan Alain. Rounding out the program is Francis Poulenc’s elegant Quatre motets pour le temps de Noël (Four Christmas Motets), long-considered central to twentieth-century choral repertoire.

“In the holiday season, it is easy to find performances of seasonal masterworks by English and American composers,” says Cannon, “but many nations have deep Christmas traditions. Some of our most popular carols today are of French origin, though that fact is rarely noted. To the French, Christmas has a uniquely magical charm: a calm, refined beauty inherently conducive to the introspective nature of the season. Charpentier, Berlioz, Alain, and Poulenc have all captured this feeling perfectly.”

The Cascadian Chorale’s “Noël – A French Christmas” concerts are sponsored in part by Washington Mutual.

Angels We Have Heard on Higharranged by Linda Gingrich
Shepherds’ Farewell, from L’enfance du Christ  Hector Berlioz
Que j’aime ce divin enfantJehan Alain
Noël nouveletJehan Alain
Quatre motets pour le temps de Noël
  1. O magnum mysterium
  2. Quem vidistis pastores dicite
  3. Videntes stellam
  4. Hodie Christus natus estFrancis Poulenc
O Holy NightAdolphe Adam, arr. Wallingford Riegger
Messe de Minuit pour NoëlMarc-Antoine Charpentier

Saturday December 13, 2008
7:30 p.m.

St. Margaret's Episcopal Church
4228 Factoria Boulevard SE
Bellevue, Washington

Sunday December 14, 2008
2:30 p.m.

Trinity Parish Episcopal Church
609 Eighth Avenue
Seattle, Washington

Proud member of the Greater Seattle Choral Consortium