With ‘A Hymn to the Virgin’ appears the second single of the album ‘O Nata Lux’ from The Zurich Chamber Singers
At Christmas, Christians celebrate the redemption of mankind at a time of darkness, expressed through the imagery of light. With their new album entitled 'O Nata Lux', the Zurich Chamber Singers highlight this symbolism as it has been represented for many centuries in the western art music tradition. They illustrate how light forms a thread through Advent into the Christmas story, as portrayed in strophic songs and motets over five centuries, from the 16th to the 21st century.
The motet for double choir 'A Hymn to the Virgin' by Benjamin Britten (1913–1976) brings us to the third group of Christmas songs. Composed by the sixteen-year-old Britten during his time at Gresham School, where his studies were often interrupted by ill health, the piece is a macaronic text combining English and Latin. This work too begins with a description of the light which the Virgin Mary, 'bright as a star of the sea', shines as 'mother and maiden': ('Of one that is so fair and bright velut maris stella, brighter than the day is light: Parens et puella.')
The single 'A Hymn to the Virgin' will be released on 30 October 2020 on all streaming and download platforms.