A cantata for soprano, tenor, and baritone soloists, SATB choir, and orchestra
In this Christmas cantata Vaughan Williams uses and a wide range of musical styles to create a compelling, vivid, and highly original retelling of the Christmas story. Composed in 1953-4, Hodie (This Day) was Vaughan Williams final large-scale choral-orchestral work, and was premiered under his own baton in Worcester Cathedral as part of the 1954 Three Choirs Festival. It comprises sixteen movements, including 'narrations' of words from the Bible, chorals, and a variety of other forms for both soloists and choir. The words are taken from diverse sources, with sacred texts from the Vespers of Christmas Day and the Bible interspersed with secular texts by poets including John Milton, Thomas Hardy, and the composer's own wife Ursula Vaughan Williams.