Composed for the Eucharist of Christmas Night 2004, at the Cathedral Church of Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary, Rochester, in the year of the 1400th anniversary of the cathedral's foundation.
Missa Carolae was commissioned for Rochester Cathedral, and first performed there on 24 December 2004 by the Rochester Cathedral Choirs directed by Roger Sayer.
Missa Carolæ was written for the 1400th anniversary of Rochester Cathedral, the second oldest cathedral in England. Performances there begin with a ceremonial procession that follows the movement of a boy chorister, accompanied by pipe and drum, from the High Altar to a large crib placed in the Nave, gathering the choirs (singing from different parts of the cathedral) and principal clergy in the course of the procession. The work, though not literally for dancing, is intended to invoke a dance-like spirit, which is true to the origin of the carol as a simple dance form. The choir parts should be very well known, so that the singers can sing with the whole of their bodies and not just their voices. It is suitable for liturgical or concert use.