Skip to main content

Christmas in Medieval England

Friday, Dec. 15, 8:00 pm
Saturday, Dec. 16, 3:00 pm
Saturday, Dec. 16, 8:00 pm
Tickets $10-$87

COVID Safety Policies

Ticket sales have closed for this program

First Church in Cambridge, Congregational
11 Garden Street, Cambridge
Parking info >

Program PDF

Don’t miss this concert program the Boston Globe calls “stellar” and the Boston Classical Review has dubbed “a hauntingly beautiful and uplifting occasion fit for the holidays.”

Our program offers a selection of music for the Christmas season—plainchant, carols, and polyphonic antiphons and settings of the Mass—that might have been heard in England in the 1440s, when the most modern of the works on the program were composed. The carols, drawn from several manuscripts, are written in a robust popular style with graceful melody and simple harmonies, while the polyphony dazzles with complex cross-rhythms, dashing melodies, and clangorous harmonies, all in celebration of one of the most glorious seasons of the Christian year.

This program will be approximately 90-100 minutes with one intermission.

View the Concert Program

I. Advent

Veni, veni, Emanuel
    13th-century French

II. Annunciation

Angelus ad virginem
    Arundel MS (late 13th century)
Gabriel fram Heven-King
    Cotton fragments (14th century)

Alma redemptoris mater
    Antiphon for the Blessed Virgin Mary from Advent to Candlemas
        Sarum plainchant

Auxce bon youre delabonestren instrumental

Ave Maria I say / instrumental
    Cambridge MS Add. 5943 (c. 1400)

Hayl Mary, ful of grace
    Trinity Roll (early 15th century)

Gloria (Old Hall MS, no. 21)
Leonel Power (d. 1445)

Ther is no rose of swych vertu
    Trinity Roll

Ibo michi ad montem mirre
    Antiphon for the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
    Leonel Power

III. Christmas Eve

Veni redemptor gencium
    Hymn for first Vespers of the Nativity on Christmas Eve
        Sarum plainchant

*** intermission ***

IV. Christmas Day

Dominus dixit ad me
    Introit for the Mass at Cock-Crow on Christmas Day
        Sarum plainchant

Nowel! Owt of your slepe aryse
    Selden MS (15th century)

Gloria (Old Hall MS, no. 27)
Pycard (?fl. 1410-20)

Thys yol the beste red that y kan
Edmundus, Cambridge MS Add. 5943

Thys yol instrumental
    Contratenor by Scotus Viridis Montis

Sanctus / Missa Veterem hominem
    anonymous English, c. 1440

Ave rex angelorum
    Egerton MS (15th century)

Lolay lolay
    Cambridge MS Add. 5943

Agnus dei / Missa Veterem hominem

Nowel syng we bothe al and som
    Trinity Roll


Kim Leeds, Clare McNamara, Sophie Michaux

tenor & contratenor
Michael Barrett, Corey Dalton Hart, Jason McStoots, Sumner Thompson

Paul Guttry, David McFerrin

Laura Jeppesen, rebec
Charles Weaver, lute & voice
Scott Metcalfe, harp

All concert dates, programs and personnel are subject to change without notice.

Please note that there is no pre-concert talk before these concerts.

Ticket purchases are non-refundable.

Blue Heron is pleased to be participating in the Card to Culture program by extending free tickets to EBT, WIC, and ConnectorCare cardholders.
Instructions for claiming a ticket via your card may be found by locating Blue Heron on’s list of Card to Culture Organizations for the Greater Boston Area

Doors open half an hour prior to the concert start time. If needed for mobility, use office entrance next to the playground on Garden Street; all others please use main entrance to the sanctuary.