Beneath the Incense Tree, Music for Advent, Christmas & Epiphany

The Choir of Trinity College, Melbourne

Christopher Watson, director

Beneath the Incense Tree

Track listing:

1. A Babe is Born (William Mathias)
2. Gabriel’s Message (arr Lachlan McDonald)
3. In Advent Heat (Peter Campbell)
4. Jesus Christ the Apple Tree (Anthony Piccolo)
5. A Lady that was so Fair and Bright (Owen Elsley)
6. Es ist ein Ros entsprungen (Johannes Brahms)
7. Behold a Simple Tender Babe (June Nixon)
8. Away in a Manger (arr Michael Leighton Jones)
9. Nativitie (Daniel Riley)
10. Softly (Will Todd)
11. Silent Night (arr Daniel Brinsmead)
12. In dulci jubilo BWV 729 (Johann Sebastian Bach)
13. Ding Dong Merrily on High (arr Malcolm Williamson)
14. Balulalow (Francis Pott)
15. The Magi’s Gifts (Richard Allain)
16. Coventry Carol (arr Daniel Riley)
17. Wie schon leuchtet der Morgenstern (Johann Pachelbel)
18. Angel Song (Dan Locklair)

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“Buy this. Download this. Stream this. Get this. …I can’t remember being this zealous about recommending a recording to AAM colleagues. And who would have guessed it would be Christmas music?

The author of this recording’s liner notes is composer Peter Campbell, and he clearly read the bubble over most church musicians’ heads, opening his musings with, “The thought of yet another album of Christmas carols must fill even an avid Noelophile with as much dread as it does many choristers.” But this CD is different, as it assembles fifteen contemporary choral works along with three familiar organ pieces associated with the fused seasons of Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany. In these choral settings, there are new ideas adeptly layered onto familiar carols, with innovative, fresh takes on ancient and traditional texts. There is this marvelous choir of students and recent graduates of the University of Melbourne, prepared by Christopher Watson, who had only been in his position as Director of Music at Trinity College, Melbourne, for about a year-and-a-half when the CD was released. His is a familiar name for good reason: he is a revered tenor soloist and church musician, a consort singer with the Tallis Scholars, and he was the founding director of the acclaimed chamber choir, Sospiri.”
MARJORIE JOHNSTON, The Journal of the Association of Anglican Musicians, Volume 29, Number 1, January 2020