The idea for this work sprang from a visit to Bayeux in the weeks before Christmas in 2001 when carols were being played through loudspeakers in the streets to accompany seasonal shoppers. The overture was premiered by the BBC Concert Orchestra in 2003 and subsequently broadcast on BBC Radio 3. The work has been commercially recorded by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia conducted by Gavin Sutherland. The carols employed in this overture are: “Il est né, le divin enfant!”, “Patapan”, “Noël nouvelet”, “Quelle est cette odeur agreeable”, and “Masters in this hall”. Some are brought together in the final section with “Quittez, pasteurs” as additional counterpoint in the horns.
This piece will be an important addition to seasonal repertoire, and certainly in a setting that will be fresh and inspiring for audiences.