The Annual
Sunday 28 November 2004

 Glebe Music Festival

In conjunction with The Glebe Society Inc

Bel a cappella presents:
A Ceremony of Carols
Sunday 28 November 2004 3pm
St Scholastica’s Chapel, Glebe Point

Bel a cappella:
Russell Ger - musical director
Sarah Kim - organ
Marjorie Maydwell - harp


A Ceremony of Carols Music by Benjamin Britten
1 Procession Anon
2 Wolcum Yole! Anon
3 There is no Rose Anon
4a That yonge child Anon
4b Balulalow James, John and Robert Wedderburn
5 As dew in Aprille Anon
6 This little Babe Robert Southwell
7 Interlude (harp solo)  
8 In Freezing Winter Night Robert Southwell
9 Spring Carol William Cornish
10 Deo Gracias Anon

Sir Christemas William Mathias, words anon c.1500
Away in a Manger W J Kirkpatrick arr. Willcocks, words anon
Locus Iste Anton Bruckner
Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen Trad. 15th century, arr. Praetorius


Lullay: I saw a Sweet and Seemly Sight Roger Covell
Morning Song of the Christ Child Peter Sculthorpe, words Roger Covell
Christmas Day William G James, words John Wheeler
Carol of the Birds William G James, words John Wheeler
Wassail Trad, arr. Ralph Vaughan Williams

INTERVAL (20 min)
Refreshments will be served outside

Joy to the World * Tune: Antioch, arr Lowell Mason
While Shepherds watched * Este’s Psalter (1592), arr. Willcocks,
words Natham Tate
God rest you merry, Gentlemen * Traditional
Good King Wenceslas Tune: Piae Cantiones arr. Reginald Jacques,
words J M Neale
Ave Maria Tomas Luis de Victoria (attrib.)
O magnum mysterium Tomas Luis de Victoria
I saw three Ships Trad. arr. Willcocks
Masters in this Hall Trad. French, arr. Willcocks, words William Morris
Akanamandla Zulu church song
The first Nowell * Trad. arr. Willcocks
A merry Christmas Trad. arr. Warre
O come all ye Faithful * Trad. arr. Willcocks

Russell Ger will introduce each bracket of carols. Please reserve applause until the end of each bracket

*Congregational Carol: please join us in singing (words are printed in this program)

We regret that owing to our inability to obtain scores we are unable to present Dvorák’s Mass in D major, as previously advertised.

Yuletide Greetings, Gentle Concert Goer

It is with great pleasure that I introduce myself to you as the new musical director of Bel A Cappella. I have been part of the Bel community for only a few months now, and I feel very lucky to have been given the opportunity to work with such a wonderful ensemble.

We have put together a delightful selection of seasonal music for you to enjoy today. The core work for the program is Benjamin Britten’s magnificent setting of old English poetry in his A Ceremony of Carols, which portrays different aspects of the Christmas story through distinctly contrasting music. Be sure to listen for the tone-painting devices Britten uses to mirror the poetry. For example, in the text of ‘This Little Babe’, the infant Christ is used metaphorically as a symbol for the battle between good and evil. In order to reflect this musically, Britten pits the different sections of the choir against one another in close imitation to try and capture the urgency of the struggle. The final chorus uses another example of tone-painting and the entire work climaxes in torrents of overlapping declamations from all sections of the choir of ‘Deo Gracias’, signifying our unending thanks to God.

Following the Britten you will hear several traditional Christmas pieces, including such favourites as Away in a Manger and the gorgeous Es ist ein Ros’. I have then chosen some music to reflect the very special and unique experience of Christmas-time in Australia. You will hear music from our most famous composer, Peter Sculthorpe, as well as traditional Australian carols that sing of our native flora and fauna and of the red dust of our outback. The first half concludes with the rollicking Wassail song of Vaughan Williams. Wassailing is the customary drinking song of carollers, and Vaughan Williams creates the marvellous effect of a merry bunch approaching from far and then disappearing off in to the distance, all the while joyfully singing.

The second half of the program is comprised of music that I feel will set the tone for a beautiful Christmas season. We will be performing a wide variety of works, from the sublime Latin settings of Victoria, to the fervent Zulu church song, and finally to the carols that are as much a part of Christmas as Christmas pudding itself. In these pieces I heartily encourage you to join in.

I would like to share what all this music means to me personally. I think that there is no greater embodiment of the ideal of peace than voices joined together in harmony. There are endlessly relevant recurring themes in all these pieces, of peace among men and joy to the world. I pray that you leave here today more filled with that spirit of hope and love, and that you share this with everyone you meet.

I look forward to seeing you again in an exciting 2005.

God Bless and Merry Christmas,

Russell Ger
Musical Director

Bel a cappella

This year, Bel a cappella celebrates its tenth year of activity. Formed in 1995 under Katrina Jenns, the choir has made many festival appearances, including the Blue Mountains “Spirit of the Wind” Arts Festival, the Newtown Festival and the A cappella Association Music Festival. Bel a cappella also competed in the Sydney and National McDonald’s Performing Arts Challenges from 1995 to 1998.

From 1999 to mid 2004, Musical Director Matthew Wood led Bel a cappella to further develop its repertoire and the range of its performances. In 2000 and 2001 the choir performed at the Hunter Valley Harvest Festival with sponsor Piggs Peake Winery in two acclaimed Bring me Wine! concerts featuring Byrd’s Mass for Three Voices and Purcell’s Celebrate this Festival, alongside medieval and modern drinking songs.

Most recent highlights include the Australian premiere performance of the original 1888 score of Fauré’s Requiem, reconstructed by Matthew Wood; a concert of Purcell’s Dido and Æneas with the Bel Chamber Ensemble on period instruments; two live broadcasts on ABC Radio National’s Late Night Live show with Philip Adams; Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb; Mozart’s Requiem; Haydn’s ‘Nelson’ Mass; Kodàly’s Missa brevis; J S Bach’s motet Jesu, meine Freude and the premier of Andrew Robbie’s Joyce Songs; Handel’s Messiah and Coronation Anthems and Charpentier’s Midnight Mass for Christmas.

Upon Matthew’s departure in 2004 to study in Manchester, Bel a cappella appointed Russell Ger as Musical Director. Since 2001 Bel a cappella has sung at the Vaucluse House “Carols by Candlelight” with the NSW Police Band. The group is also available to perform for weddings and functions.
Russell Ger musical director

Russell Ger is in his Honours year of a Bachelor of Music from the University of New South Wales. Russell was a classical voice major throughout his degree but majored in conducting for his Honours year. He began conducting at the age of 18, when he was invited to participate in the Young Conductors Development and Leadership Programme under the direction of renowned American pedagogue Dale Lonis. Since that time, Russell has been increasingly active as a young conductor.

In 2003, Russell gave his Sydney Opera House debut to critical acclaim when he conducted the last movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. For this performance he conducted members of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, in conjunction with a massed communal choir. At the start of 2004, Russell conducted in Melbourne as Guest Conductor with the State Orchestra of Victoria. He also auditioned successfully as a participant in Symphony Australia’s prestigious conducting master-classes and consequently travelled to Brisbane to work with The Queensland Orchestra, and to Adelaide to work with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. As a component of his Honours program, Russell has served as Guest Conductor with the Orchestra of the University of New South Wales, as Assistant Conductor with the Burgundian Vocal Consort, and as founding Musical Director and Principal Conductor of the U.N.S.W. Camerata Chamber Ensemble, with members of the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

In 2005, as well as directing Bel a cappella, Russell will again be participating in the Symphony Australia young conductors scheme and subsequently hopes to travel to Europe or the United States to further his studies.

Sarah Kim Organ

Sarah Kim was born in 1983 in Cologne, Germany and started learning the organ when she was 11 years old, gaining her A.Mus.A four years later. She is now in her second year of a B.Mus. performance course at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, where she is studying organ with Philip Swanton.

Her outstanding abilities as a young organist were recognised over the last two years by the Conservatorium with the award of the “Sarah and Muriel Jeavons Memorial Scholarship”. Last year she also took first prize in the Open Championship pipe organ section of the Warringah Eisteddfod. In addition to her win in the Sydney Organ Competition this year, Sarah has featured on the cover of the Sydney Organ Journal.

Sarah has given numerous solo performances around Sydney and is increasingly in demand as an accompanist. Prominent performances this year have included the premier of Richard Meale’s fanfare for organ, trumpet and percussion at the AMC Classical Music Awards and performances as part of the 30th birthday celebrations of the Sydney Opera House. Currently she is the Organ Scholar at St James’ Anglican Church in King St, Sydney and the University of Sydney.

Marjorie Maydwell

On completion of her studies at the Conservatorium High School in Sydney, Marjorie Maydwell was awarded an Arts Council grant to study at the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique de Paris, France. There she studied harp with Marie-Claire Jamet and Catherine Michel and solfege with Mme Jacqueline Lequin. While in France, she was also awarded a Spanish Government Scholarship to study in Granada under the world-renowned harpist, Nicanor Zabeletta. Marjorie Maydwell remains the only Australian harpist to have graduated from the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique de Paris, the most eminent school of harp in the world.

As Professor of Harp and Solfege at the Conservatoire de Maurice Ravel, she went on to record and perform in Europe with Les Jeunes Solistes de Paris, and worked under such distinguished conductors as Pierre Boulez and Armin Jordan. She performed in several Fêtes de la Musique in Paris - in the St Chapelle, St Eustache & St Augustin and also appeared in the Salle Pleyel and Le Théâtre des Champs-Élysées. In Spain she participated in the Granada Festival at the famous Alhambra Palace.

On her return to Australia, she has given various solo performances as well as appearing with major orchestras, the Australian Opera and the Australia Ensemble. Marjorie Maydwell’s path has taken her from classical through to jazz, exploring unusual repertoire and pushing boundaries, in such diverse venues as Diane Cilento’s Karnak Playhouse in Far North Queensland, to the magnificent stone Chapel at Kincoppal Rose Bay.

A Ceremony of Carols, Op. 28 (1942)

Edward Benjamin Britten (November 22, 1913–December 4, 1976)
Arranged for Mixed voices by Julius Harrison

The composition of A Ceremony of Carols was commenced while returning by sea to Britain from an extended sojourn in the United States. The piece was inspired in part by Britten's acquisition of a book of 15th and 16th century English poetry, but also by his intention to write a harp concerto: his study of the instrument's repertoire and technique while in the United States certainly bore fruit this work, both as a solo and accompanying instrument.

Humphrey Carpenter's contention, in his biography of Britten, that the title of the work is incongruous bears consideration. A Ceremony of Carols is ceremonial in that it begins and ends with a plainchant processional, and the individual pieces, except for the harp interlude, are all carols; however, these carols do not all necessarily attend to the Christmas feast. At one extreme is the “Spring Carol” — more appropriate to Easter than Yuletide — while other of the pieces refer more generally to the cult of Mary than to the Theotokos of Christmastide: the medieval logic of “Deo Gracias” would fit equally the Feasts of the Assumption or the Immaculate Conception. That said, there is a unity in conception in the work: it is as if Britten takes a longer and more complete view of the central Christian myth from the innocence and unrestrained joy of “Wolcum Yole!”, through the promise of Christ's ministry to His and our ultimate human frailty. In the end, A Ceremony of Carols sets out to celebrate all that Christmas represents and its diverse meditations return to the opening thought: today the righteous should rejoice and say, “Glory to God in the Highest.”

The arrangement we sing today retains the lightness that the harp lends to the work, while Harrison's reworking vocal parts for mixed voices serves to fill out textures implied in the original without sacrificing clarity.

Sung Texts & Translations

Hodie Christus natus est (Processional from A Ceremony of Carols)

Hodie Christus natus est :
hodie Salvator apparuit :
hodie in terra canunt Angeli,
lætantur Archangeli :
hodie exsultant justi, dicentes :
Gloria in excelsis Deo, alleluia.

This day Christ was born;
this day the Saviour appeared;
this day on earth the angels sang,
the archangels rejoiced;
this day righteous should exult and say:
Glory to God in the highest, Alleluia.
  Translation by Dean A Ransevycz

Es ist ein Ros entsprungen

Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen
Aus einer Wurzel zart.
Wie uns die Alten sungen,
Aus Jesse kam die Art
Und hat ein Blümlein bracht,
Mitten im kalten Winter,
Wohl zu der halben Nacht.

A rose has sprung
from a tender root,
As the elders sang to us:
this kind came from Jesse,
And brought us a flower,
In the middle of cold winter time,
In the middle of the night.

Das Röslein das ich meine,
Davon Jesaias sagt,
Hat uns gebracht alleine
Marie die reine Magd.
Aus Gottes ew’gem Rat
Hat sie ein Kind geboren,
Wohl zu der halben Nacht.
The little rose that I mean,
Is the one of which Isaiah speaks,
And was brought to us alone
By the Virgin Mary.
Through God’s eternal wisdom
She gave birth to a child,
In the middle of the night.
Das Blümelein so kleine,
Das duftet uns so süß,
Mit seinem hellen Scheine
Vertreibt’s die Finsternis.
Wahr’ Mensch und wahrer Gott,
Hilf uns aus allem Leide,
Rettet von Sünd’ und Tod.
That flower so small,
That smells so sweet to us,
With its bright light
Drives out the darkness.
True Man, and True God,
Save us from all suffering,
Deliver us from sin and death.
Translation by Anka Willamowius
& Dean A Ransevycz
Locus iste
Locus iste a Deo factus est,
Inaestimabile sacramentum
Irreprehensibilis est.
This place was made by God,
A priceless mystery
It is without reproof.
O Magnum Mysterium  
O magnum mysterium
et admirabile sacramentum,
Ut animalia viderent
Dominum natum jacentem in praesepio.
O beata Virgo,
cujus viscera meruerunt portare
Dominum Jesum Christum.
O great mystery
and wondrous sacrament:
that the animals should see
the newborn Lord lying in a stable.
O blessed Virgin,
whose flesh was made worthy to bear
the Lord Jesus Christ.
  Translation by Dean A Ransevycz

Ave Maria

Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum
benedicta tu in mulieribus
et benedictus fructus ventris tui:
Sancta Maria, mater Dei,
ora pro nobis peccatoribus
nunc et in hora mortis nostrae.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee
blessed art thou among women
Jesus. and blessed is the fruit of thy womb: Jesus.
Holy Mary, mother of God,
pray for us sinners
now and in the hour of our death.
Congregational Carols please join in!  
Joy to the World  

Joy to the world! The Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room
And Heav’n and nature sing
And Heav’n and nature sing
And Heav’n and nature sing

He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love
And wonders of His love
And wonders of His love

While Shepherds watched  
While shepherds watched their flocks by night‘
All seated on the ground
The angel of the Lord came down
And glory shone around.
To you in David’s town this day
Is born of David’s line
A Saviour, who is Christ the Lord
And this shall be the sign:
‘Fear not,’ said he (for mighty dread
Had seized their troubled mind)
Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all mankind.
‘All glory be to God on high
and on the earth be peace
Goodwill henceforth from Heav’n to men
Begin and never cease.

God rest you merry, gentlemen

O Come all ye faithful

God rest you merry, gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
Remember Christ our Saviour
Was born on Christmas Day
To save poor souls from Satan’s power
Which had longtime gone astray
And it’s tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy
And it’s tidings of comfort and joy

O come all ye faithful
Joyful and triumphant
O come ye, o come ye to Bethlehem
Come and behold Him
Born the King of Angels
O Come let us adore Him
O Come let us adore Him
O Come let us adore Him
Christ the Lord

From God that is our Father
The blessed angel came Lo!
Unto some certain shepherds
With tidings of the same
That there was born in Bethlehem
The Son of God by name
And it’s tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy
And it’s tidings of comfort and joy

God bless the ruler of this house
And send him long to reign
And many a merry Christmas
May live to see again
Among your friends and kindred
That live both far and near
And God send you a happy New Year

The first Nowell

The first Nowell the angel did say
Was to certain poor shepherds
In fields as they lay
In fields where they lay keeping their sheep
On a cold winter’s night that was so deep
Nowell, Nowell, Nowell, Nowell
Born is the King of Israel

They looked up and saw a star
Shining in the east beyond them far
And to the earth it gave great light
And so it continued both day and night
Nowell, Nowell, Nowell, Nowell
Born is the King of Israel

Then entered in those wise men three
Full rev’rently upon their knee
And offer’d there in His presence
Their gold and myrrh and frankincense
Nowell, Nowell, Nowell, Nowell
Born is the King of Israel.

Then let us all with one accord
Sing praises to our heav’nly Lord
That hath made heav’n and earth of naught
And with His blood mankind hath bought
Nowell, Nowell, Nowell, Nowell
Born is the King of Israel.

God of God, Light of Light
He abhors not the Virgin’s womb
Very God begotten not created
O Come let us adore Him
O Come let us adore Him
O Come let us adore Him
Christ the Lord

Sing choirs of angels
Sing in exaltation
Sing all ye citizens of Heav’n above
Glory to God in the highest
O Come let us adore Him
O Come let us adore Him
O Come let us adore Him
Christ the Lord

Yea, Lord, we greet Thee
Born this happy morning
Jesu to Thee be glory giv’n
Word of the Father
Now in flesh appearing
O Come let us adore Him
O Come let us adore Him
O Come let us adore Him
Christ the Lord


Bel a cappella:

Anne Blake
Mary-Louise Callaghan
Judy Chen
Catharine Clements
Caryn Ger
Margaret Healy
Lorna McKenzie

Emily Brayshaw
Penny Cooper
Jenny-Lee Heylen
Lisa Kyiet
Gae Robinson

Patrick Blake
Stephen Schafer
Brian White
Will Usic

Geoff Hicks
Michael Johnson
Dean Apolinary Ransevycz
Hugh Swinbourne
Bruce Watson

Bel a cappella 2004 Committee

President - Stephen Schafer
Treasurer - Dean Apolinary Ransevycz
Librarian - Mary-Louise Callaghan
Concert Manager - Catherine Clements
Membership Secretary - Gae Robinson
Ordinary Member - Penny Cooper

Thanks to

Good Samaritan Congregational Centre for use of this beautiful chapel

St Scholastica’s College for use of the hall for our rehearsals

Our wonderful front-of-house team

Family and friends of Bel a cappella members for their continuing support

David McIntosh of the Glebe Festival

Our generous Trivia Night Sponsors:
Cafe Cinque Newtown
University Veterinary Centre, University of Sydney
The Co-op Bookshop


Back to the Calendar of Events 2004

Past Events
The Musicians
The Venue
The Instruments