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Advent Sunday: God Is With Us

At the Advent Carol Service on Sunday 1 December, All Saints Fulham Choir will pay homage to John Tavener (1944-2013), who died recently, by singing his extraordinary motet God Is With Us.

This particular motet is dedicated to Martin Neary, who is organist emeritus of All Saints Fulham – his wife Penny sings in the soprano section of the Choir. God Is With Us was first performed in 1987 by the Choir of Winchester Cathedral and was conducted by Martin Neary himself. The words are adapted from the Orthodox Great Compline for Christmas Eve.

John Tavener (Wikipedia)

Hear ye people,
Even to the uttermost end of the earth.
The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light.
The people that dwell in the shadow of death,
upon them the light has shined.
For unto us a child is born!
For unto us a son is given!
And the government shall be upon his shoulder,
And his name shall be called Wonderful! Counsellor!
The Mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
Hear ye people,
Even to the uttermost end of the earth.
God is with us,
Christ is born!

Another of the anthems for the Advent Carol Service is A Spotless Rose was composed by Howells in 1918. He dedicated it to his mother. The lyrics are from a German hymn – Es ist ein Ros entsprungen. Howells took his lyrics from an English translation by Catherine Winkworth.

A Spotless Rose is blowing,
Sprung from a tender root,
Of ancient seers’ foreshowing,
Of Jesse promised fruit;
Its fairest bud unfolds to light
Amid the cold, cold winter,
And in the dark midnight.

The Rose which I am singing,
Whereof Isaiah said,
Is from its sweet root springing
In Mary, purest Maid;
For through God’s great love and might
The Blessed Babe she bare us
In a cold, cold winter’s night

The video is the Choir of King’s College Cambridge.


About All Saints Fulham Choir

The All Saints Fulham Church is the home of three choirs. A traditional Parish Choir who sing wide-ranging repertoire which spans nine centuries and tours regularly at home and abroad; a Gospel Choir who sing a mixture of contemporary and traditional gospel styles, and a junior choir for children from Year 3 upwards.


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