Wednesday, 10 December 2014

The 11th edition of Carols by Candlelight


by Stanley J. Portelli

The 11th edition of Carols by Candlelight was another success. The event, organized by Schola Cantorum Jubilate established itself as one of the main attractions in Gozo during the Christmas season. Basically, it opens the festive season in Gozo. Preparations began immediately after the Modern Music Days Concert in Saint Paul’s Pro-Cathedral in Valletta earlier on in October this year.

The repertoire included the traditional Carols: ‘Away in a Manger’, ‘Carol of the Drum’, ‘Silent Night’, ‘What Child Is This’, ‘Candlelight Carol’, and ‘While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night’. The Choir also interpreted ‘Personent Hodie’, ‘Sinfonija Pastorali’ in Maltese, and the traditional French Carol ‘Il est né le Divin Enfant’.

John Taverner’s ‘The Lamb’ was marvellously interpreted, together with ‘Sir Christèmas’. The latter piece was first performed on the 6th of December 1969 by the Cardiff Polyphonic Choir in Llandaff Cathedral, Wales. Chilicott’s ‘Gifts for the Child of Winter’, and Morten Lauridsen’s ‘O Magnum Mysterium’ also featured in this year’s programme. The choir succeeded in interpreting with luminosity these pieces that filled Saint Augustine’s Church with a delicate and pure sound. The choir was under the direction of Choir Director and Soprano Marouska Attard who also impeccably interpreted ‘O Holy Night’.

This year’s Carols by Candlelight revolved around the theme of Peace in a time when there are so much conflicts going on, especially in the Arab world, where Christians are being persecuted because of their faith. Julia Camilleri took the role of the Spirit of Peace featuring at different instances during the evening with different costumes representing the course of time.

Carols by Candlelight came to an end with a boisterous interpretation of ‘Singing Christmas 2014’, a Christmas Medley arranged by Paul Portelli. Afterwards, the guests were welcomed in the Cloister for the traditional dinner provided for by Ta’ Frenċ.

Before entering the cloister for the dinner, patrons, admired an exhibition of Christmas paintings by George Apap.

The proceeds of this event went to Dar Ġużeppa Debono, an institution that continuously works in favour of the protection of human life from the moment of conception.

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Photos by: John Attard, Anthony Grech, George Saguna.

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