Commissioned by the Rochester Cathedral for its 1400th anniversary.

  • org; pic (optional)
  • SATB (with divisi); pic(=fife)/3pt.3tbn/2perc/org/optional congregation
  • SATB (with divisi)
  • 23 min

Programme Note

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.


Missa carolae: Processional (Guillô play your tambourin, Patapan)
Missa carolae: Kyrie (Noël Nouvelet)
Missa carolae: Gloria (Es ist ein Ros entsprungen - God rest ye merry gentlemen)
Missa carolae: Sanctus (In dulci jubilo)
Missa carolae: Benedictus (Remember, O thou man)
Missa carolae: Agnus Dei (W zlobie lezy, Infant Holy)