On this Christmas Eve, enjoy a composition written this year by Peter Hallock, founder of the Compline Choir and its director from 1956 to 2009. The work was commissioned by the Compass Rose Society to honor Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, who retires at the end of this year. It was a setting of a poem written by Williams called “Advent Calendar”, and was performed by the Canterbury Cathedral choir at a service of Evensong on October 5th, 2012. It was also given its Seattle premiere by the St. Mark’s Cathedral choir on the first Sunday of Advent, at the annual service of lessons and carols.
The following recording of “Advent Calendar” is by Seattle’s Byrd Ensemble, and it is available in both CD or download format. The CD also contains a version of Hallock’s composition “Night Music”, sung by the Compline Choir (more on this in a future post).
May you have a happy Christmas.
He will come like last leaf’s fall.
One night when the November wind
has flayed the trees to the bone, and earth
wakes choking on the mould,
the soft shroud’s folding.
He will come like frost.
One morning when the shrinking earth
opens on mist, to find itself
arrested in the net
of alien, sword-set beauty.
He will come like dark.
One evening when the bursting red
December sun draws up the sheet
and penny-masks its eye to yield
the star-snowed fields of sky.
He will come, will come,
will come like crying in the night,
like blood, like breaking,
as the earth writhes to toss him free.
He will come like child.