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This short cycle of Christmas pieces was written for Auckland vocal ensemble V8 for their end of year concert. The concert was to feature a brass quintet as guest artists, so I offered to write a work for the combined forces. I was keen to avoid texts with references to snow and plum puddings, and therefore sought out texts more appropriate to the New Zealand experience of a summer Christmas. In the end, the opening and closing texts chosen are more traditional in nature, but also rather general in their language. The opening text is simply a short anonymous poem stating when Jesus was born and how joyful a thing that was.
The second text is a New Zealand carol Christmas Come In and I’ve used its title for the cycle as a whole. J.R. Hervey was a poet who lived from 1889 to 1958. The words of the carol make passing references to the time of year in New Zealand: 'Winter a ghost, summer the host...'.
The third text, Melaleuca Morning is by Australian poet Jeff Guess. According to the Australian Native Plants Society (Australia) website, Melaleuca is '...a genus of around 170 species in the Myrtle family...(they) are commonly known as 'Paperbarks' in the tree forms and 'Honey Myrtles' in the smaller forms...(and) are generally plants of open forest, woodland or shrubland. The stamens are often brightly coloured with red, pink, mauve, purple, and yellow being common.'
The final text is an anonymous blessing for Christmas.
Written for V8 Vocal Ensemble, Auckland
1: It was on Christmas Day
2. Christmas Come In
3. Melaleuca Morning
4. A Christmas Blessing
Text from Christmas Come In by J.R. Hervey, Melaleuca Morning by Jeff Guess, A Christmas Blessing by anonymous, and It was on Christmas Day by anonymous