A Christmas Messe

A Banquet of Seasonal English Music

This concert has ended.
December 14 – 23, 2018
Folger Theatre

Celebrate the holidays with a repast of English music ranging from the earliest carols to arrangements of favorites like Greensleeves. Actor Rick Foucheux reads comical passages from the Folger’s 1619 manuscript A Christmas Messe—recounting a tussle between King Beef and King Brawn—offers lively accompaniment to a main course of beloved Yuletide music. A wonderful Christmas feast indeed! With strings, harp, organ, winds, and chamber choir.

In conjunction with the Folger exhibition Churchill’s Shakespeare, on display October 6 through January 6.

Music that appears on this program includes:

Anonymously composed carols and music from medieval and early modern England: Thys Yol; Angelus ad virginem/Gabriel fram hevene-king; Alleluia Nativitas; The boares head; There is no rose; Nowell sing we; Tappster, Dyrngker; Greensleeves; Long cold nights

Later English holiday favorites: While shepherds watched their flocks by night; Dives and Lazarus; Hark! The herald angels sing

Sub Arturo plebs/Fons citharizancium by John Aleyn (died 1373)

Green groweth the holly by King Henry VIII (1491-1547)

Ah, my dear son by Robert Fayrfax (1464-1521)

Music by William Byrd (1538-1623): O magnum mysterium; From Virgin's womb/Rejoice, rejoice; Laetentur coeli

Fantasia on Christmas Carols by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958), arranged by Christopher Kendall for period instruments

Associate Sponsors:

Mr. D. James Baker and Mrs. Emily Lind Baker


This project was supported by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanties, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts.