Knox Music Series presents

A 90-minute Christmas Concert


Felix Mendelssohn From heaven above to earth I come
(Vom Himmel hoch)

Ralph Vaughan Williams Hodie
(This Day)

Knox Choir and Soloists
Cincinnati Youth Choir - Con Brio and Voci
Erin Keesy, soprano
Jackie Stevens, soprano
Andrew Jones, tenor
Thomas Dreeze, baritone
Michael Young, baritone

Earl Rivers, conductor

Sunday, December 18, 2022 5:00 p.m.
Knox Presbyterian Church
Michigan & Observatory Avenues
Hyde Park
Free Admission
The Knox Music Series presents Vaughan Williams’ last major choral/orchestral work, Hodie (This Day), and Mendelssohn’s from heaven above to earth I come (Vom Himmel hoch) on Sunday, December 18, at 5:00 p.m. at Knox Presbyterian Church, Michigan & Observatory Avenues in Hyde Park. A freewill offering will be collected. Visit for additional information. Earl Rivers, Knox Director of Music, conducts the Knox Choir, Knox Soloists, and Cincinnati Youth Choir. Featured Knox Soloists include Eric Keesy and Jackie Stevens, sopranos, Andrew Jones, tenor, and Michael Young and Thomas Dreeze, baritones. Cincinnati Youth Choir - Con Brio and Voci, Cheryl Kim and Daniel Parsley, conductors, is featured in the Vaughan Williams Hodie.

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) composed Hodie between 1953 and 1954. Premiered at the Worcester Cathedral under the baton of the composer as part of the Three Choirs Festival September 8, 1954, this 60-minute work is the composer’s last major choral-orchestral composition. Hodie is in 16 movements, scored for mixed choir, children’s choir, organ, and orchestra, and features soprano, tenor, and baritone soloists. Hodie is unified by the recurrence of three themes and opens with an exuberant setting of the Latin text Hodie Christus natus est (This day Christ was born). The remaining 15 movements are settings of English texts, displaying through poetry and prose the rich textures and dimensions of the English language. Text sources include John Milton’s poem On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity; Thomas Hardy’s poem The Oxen; George Herbert’s poem The shepherds sing; and shall I silent be?; an anonymous lullaby Sweet was the song the Virgin sang; William Drummond’s poem Christmas Day; texts of Ursula Vaughan Williams, wife of the composer; a hymn of Martin Luther; the Book of Common Prayer, and Narrations from the Gospels of St. Matthew, Luke, and John sung by the Cincinnati Youth Choir - Con Brio and Voci, Daniel Parsley and Cheryl Kim, conductors.

In 1831 Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) composed his festive Christmas Cantata - Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her (From heaven above to earth I come). He adapted the tune and texts for each of the six movements of this 16-minute work from Martin Luther’s hymn tune and multiple verses on the same title. (Luther’s hymn is the most well known of all Advent hymns, appearing in over 100 hymnals published in the USA.) Mendelssohn’s Vom Himmel hoch is set for five-part chorus (SSATB), soprano and baritone soloists, and a classical orchestra of strings, pairs of winds and brass, and timpani. Structure of the work follows:

1. Chorus: From Heaven (chorale verses 1 and 2)
2. Aria (Baritone): It is the Lord Christ, our God (chorale verse 3)
3. Chorale: It brings you all happiness (chorale verse 4)
4. Aria (Soprano): Thou art welcome, thou noble guest (chorale verses 8 and 10)
5. Arioso (Baritone): So, did you like (chorale verse 12)
6. Chorus: All praise be to God in the highest throne (chorale verse 15)

The Knox Music Series is a Community Outreach Program of Knox Church. Recognized for its outstanding contributions to the quality of life in Cincinnati, the Knox Music has been cited by “Cincinnati Magazine” as the “Best Church Music” in Cincinnati. Knox Music Series will produce J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion on Good Friday, April 7, 2023 at 7:30 p.m.