Instrumentation

(picc).2(II=picc).2.2.2 - 4331 - timp - perc(3): SD/mark tree/tgl/sleigh bells/glsp/cyms/xyl/t.bells/tamb/drum kit - (SATB chorus) - harp - (cel) - strings. Alterrnative instrumentation: 2(II=picc).2.2.2 - 2221 - timp - perc(3) - (SATB chorus) - harp - strings

Availability

Full score, vocal score and parts for hire

Programme Notes

'The Joy of Christmas' aims to capture the joyful anticipation and excitement of the coming festive season, whilst also highlighting its real significance. As well as using familiar carols and Christmas tunes, I have incorporated some slightly lesser known songs, such as the American version of 'O little town of Bethlehem' (played by solo violin), the French carol 'Il est né le Divin Enfant', the old English 'Wassail Song' and, towards the end, a 17th Century German carol 'All my heart this night rejoices'. To add to the feeling of anticipation, snatches of the children's song 'Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat' are heard from time to time, and observant listeners will spot the inclusion of a number of other well-known Christmas songs throughout the piece.

Reviews

“Orchestra and conductor Simon Halsey obviously enjoyed The Joy of Christmas, a fun new work by choir member Gordon Thornett with his imaginative treatment of carols old and new.” (Birmingham Post, 24 December 2010) “There was a new work for the orchestra ... a medley of Christmas music cleverly woven together into a sort of concerto for orchestra, titled a Festive Overture by Gordon Thornett.” Antony Lewis-Crosby (Arts Council artistic review of Christmas Concerts).

Festive Overture: The Joy of Christmas

Symphony Hall (Birmingham, United Kingdom)

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Simon Halsey

Festive Overture: The Joy of Christmas

Symphony Hall (Birmingham, United Kingdom)

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Simon Halsey

Festive Overture: The Joy of Christmas

The Midland Theatre (Newark, OH, USA)

Neville Granville Symphony Orchestra, William Boggs

Festive Overture: The Joy of Christmas

All Saints' by-the-Sea (Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada)

Bach on the Rock, Jim Stubbs

Festive Overture: The Joy of Christmas

All Saints' by-the-Sea (Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada)

Bach on the Rock, Jim Stubbs