The London Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO) will release Sir James MacMillan’s Christmas Oratorio on its own LPO Label on Friday 4 November 2022. This recording captures the UK premiere performance of the work, which was given at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall on 4 December 2021. It features the London Philharmonic Choir, soprano Lucy Crowe and baritone Roderick Williams as the soloists, conducted by Sir Mark Elder.

Composed in 2019, the work centres around the birth of Jesus and reflects MacMillan’s Scottish roots and Catholic faith. The work is split into two parts, with seven movements each and each part begins and ends with short orchestral movements. The Choruses are mostly Latin liturgical texts, with the exception of the final one, which is a Scottish lullaby. The Arias are settings of poems by Robert Southwell, John Donne and John Milton, and the two central Tableaux are biblical accounts from the Gospels of Matthew in Part 1, and St John in Part 2.

The world premiere of the work was given by the Dutch Radio Philharmonic and Choir in Amsterdam in January 2021. The LPO was due to give the world premiere of the work however, due to COVID-19, its performance came a year later than planned.

Christmas Oratorio was commissioned by the London Philharmonic Orchestra with the generous support of The Boltini Trust, NTR Zaterdagmatinee, BBC Radio 4’s concert series in The Concertgebouw Amsterdam, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.

This piece is published by Boosey & Hawkes. More information on the piece is available here.