New CD from Jubilate Deo Choir

The Jubilate Deo Choir will be launching its new CD entitled ‘Natus’ during its annual Christmas Concert hosted by the Naxxar Parish Church on Monday 17th December.

Following on from the success of ‘Crucifixus’ in 2012 with music for Holy Week, this second album features original compositions as well as new adaptations of traditional hymns for Christmas.

Widely regarded as one of Malta’s foremost choirs in the field of sacred music, the Jubilate Deo Choir is not only renowned for its refined interpretations of both standard and contemporary repertoires but also for taking up new paths, giving a fresh approach to sacred music, such as the works included in this album. Veni, Veni Emmanuel, a composition by the choir’s Music Director Christopher Muscat unconventionally combines the original plainchant sung by the Cappella Gregoriana with contemporary harmonies and an evocative harp accompaniment performed by Caroline Calleja (who is also the protagonist in Variations on a Traditional Maltese carol for harp).

With the exception of Adeste Fideles, which provides a more than appropriate prologue, the CD is an all-round Maltese product featuring works that vary from compositions with clear folk reminiscences (such as Josef Bugeja’s L-Għanja ta’ Ragħaj and Muscat’s Taħnina lil Ġesù Bambin with its combination of traditional Maltese lullabies and the more popular Ninni La Tibkix Iżjed) to others that have somewhat become the symbol of Maltese Christmas (such as Emmanuele Galea’s Sinfonia Pastorale performed by the choir’s organist Ronald Camilleri).

Naxxar-born Dun Karm Scerri and Patri Alberto Borg o.s.a., both organists at St John’s Co-Cathedral for many years, are also featured on this CD: the former with Glorja ’l Alla, the latter with L-Għanja tal-Imħabba and its particularly telling imitation of bells announcing the birth of our Lord sung by the children’s choir. The Pueri Cantores Jubilate Deo, under the direction of Daniela Ellul, features more prominently in Joseph Fenech’s adaptation of Aħna dawk l-Anġli, Christopher Muscat’s Il-Maxtura (set to words by Robert Gatt) and Ronald Camilleri’s Ċekken lilu nnifsu.

These and other works will be performed on December 17 in a concert that also marks the appointment of Christopher Muscat as Music Director of the Archdiocese of Malta and Maestro di Cappella of the Metropolitan Cathedral and that of the Jubilate Deo Choir as Choir-in-Residence at St John’s Co-Cathedral.

The concert is being held under the distinguished patronage of H.G. Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna, will be held at the Parish Church of Maria Bambina in Naxxar and starts at 7.30pm. Entrance is free. Patrons are encouraged to be seated by 7.15pm.