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In excelsis gloriafor upper voice choir (SS) & piano, harp or organ
Text: Latin and English (Trad 15th century)
Duration: 3'00''
Difficulty: 1/5
Use: Christmas

Composer's note
This simple carol for two-part upper voices was commissioned by Jenni Wake-Walker in 2008 and is a setting of an anonymous 15th Century text celebrating the Nativity. It was written specifically for children of primary school age, and with this in mind may be transposed up or down a semitone, depending on the vocal ranges available. The accompaniment, a gently undulating ostinato which remains constant throughout, is intended for a piano, harp, or organ and might also be played by a child.

In excelsis gloria.

When Christ was born of Mary free,

In Bethlehem that fair city,

Angels sung with mirth and glee,

In excelsis gloria.

The Herdsmen beheld these angels bright,

To them appearèd with great light,

And said, “God’s son is born this night”;

In excelsis gloria.

The King is come to save mankind,

As in the scripture we will find;

Therfore this song we have in mind:

In excelsis gloria.

Joseph Phibbs
Joseph Phibbs was born in London and studied at The Purcell School, King’s College London, and Cornell University. His teachers have included Param Vir, Sir Harrison Birtwistle, and Steven Stucky and his works have been performed by leading ensembles and orchestras including the London Sinfonietta, BBC Symphony Orchestra (Last Night of the Proms), London Symphony Orchestra, and the Philharmonia Orchestra (under Esa-Pekka Salonen). His music appears regularly at festivals in the UK and beyond, including Cheltenham, Aldeburgh, Three Choirs, and Presteigne. He has composed much for choir, including Tenebrae (St Albans Bach Choir, 2006), Salve Regina (Exon Singers, 2010), Shadows of Sleep (Suffolk schools, Snape Maltings 2010) and Choral Songs of Homage (Aldeburgh Music Club’s 60th Anniversary, 2013). Future commissions include a Concerto for Orchestra (BBC Symphony Orchestra, 2015) and a string quartet (Navarra Quartet, 2013). Joseph Phibbs is now published exclusively by Ricordi London, a Universal Music Publishing Classical company.

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