Released in time for Christmas 2022, ‘The Dawn of Grace’ is Somerville College Choir’s first album in 10 years. A unique celebration of Christmas and winter, the album features 20 Christmas works by women composers, including 11 world premieres.

By showcasing contemporary women composers, ‘The Dawn of Grace’ brings new voices and energy to the timeless celebration of Christmas. This fresh new take on the Christmas choral album has its roots in Somerville’s history as a former women’s college, in the collaborative spirit of the Choir and its Director, Will Dawes, and the Christmas story itself. 

In the course of its 20 pieces, ‘The Dawn of Grace’ tells a new story of the nativity, one appropriate to the Choir which sings them and to our times. These are not the canonical classics you often hear at Christmas. All twenty tracks highlight the originality and compositional mastery of the women that composed them. Many are first recordings, others caught the Choir’s imagination for their experimentation, playfulness or beauty. 

The album was generously enabled by Somerville College alumna, Virginia Ross, who said of her support for the project: “Somerville College Choir is a leading performer of music composed by female composers. Will and his talented and innovative group present music that has an ethereal sound, as well as rich depth of harmonies. I am delighted that this ambitious festive recording, The Dawn of Grace, will make the Choir’s beautiful sounds widely available, so that more listeners can experience the musical joy of the season.”

Will Dawes, Director of Chapel Music, Somerville College, added: “I’m so delighted that Somerville College Choir is able to present these 20 magical works for the Christmas season.  The choir was on *such* good form during the recording sessions, and with the support of Virginia, all at Resonus, and an exceptional production team, this recording and the glorious music contained within it deserves to be heard all over the world. Enjoy!”

Wherever you are and however you celebrate the holiday season, we hope you will enjoy ‘The Dawn of Grace’.

Listen and stream here

Order a CD of ‘The Dawn of Grace’

Watch the choir perform ‘Alleluia! A New Work is Come on Hand’

Further reading?

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Three Reflections from former Librarian Anne Manuel (2009-2022)  

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