VARIOUS - A FESTIVAL OF NINE LESSONS AND CAROLS 2017

December 26, 2017 – 7:10 am

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VARIOUS
A Festival Of Nine Lessons And Carols 2017 [no label, 2CD]
Live from the chapel of King’s College, Cambridge, UK; December 24, 2017. Very good BBC Radio 4 broadcast.

For many around the world, A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, live from the candlelit Chapel of King’s College, Cambridge, marks the beginning of Christmas. It is based around nine Bible readings which tell the story of the loving purposes of God. They are interspersed with carols old and new, sung by the world-famous chapel choir who also lead the congregation in traditional Christmas hymns.

King’s College Choir has performed a newly written carol at the famous Christmas Eve service A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols every Christmas since 1983. This year’s carol - the 35th carol commissioned by King’s for the Festival - is by Welsh composer Huw Watkins, who studied at King’s as an undergraduate and is now Professor of Composition at the Royal Academy of Music.

The carol, which will be heard in public for the first time on Christmas Eve this year, is a setting of part of the welsh Plygain carol Carol Eliseus, chosen by former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.

Of the setting, Watkins writes:

“I was particularly delighted to have been asked to write this year’s new carol, having been an undergraduate at King’s in the ’90s. As a non-Welsh-speaking Welshman, I was also thrilled and slightly daunted when Stephen Cleobury suggested a Welsh text. My mother (a native speaker) has helped me with the sounds and stresses of the words, and I feel like setting this language has unlocked an indefinable Welshness in my music. I wanted to write something pure and somehow artless, and all the time I’ve had that glorious acoustic in my head.”

The carol continues a tradition dating back to the beginning of Stephen Cleobury’s tenure as Director of Music at King’s, and is part of a long-standing contribution by the College to contemporary choral writing. Commissioned carols from previous years have included Judith Weir’s Illuminare, Jerusalem and John Rutter’s What Sweeter Music, as well as compositions by Jonathan Dove, Judith Bingham, John Tavener, Tansy Davies and many others.

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Thanks to UncleBoko for sharing the service at Dime.

Lineage:
BBC Radio 4 48k HLS stream
BBC 365kb/s 48k AAC/ffmpeg/trimmed (no processing), ts

Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (320 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

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Click here for A Festival Of Nine Lessons And Carols 2016

Track 01. Festival of Nine Lessons - Part A 9:40
Track 02. Festival of Nine Lessons - Part B 17:12
Track 03
. Festival of Nine Lessons - Part C 10:28
Track 04
. Festival of Nine Lessons - Part D 10:14
Track 05
. Festival of Nine Lessons - Part E 8:02
Track 06
. Festival of Nine Lessons - Part F 12:20
Track 07
. Festival of Nine Lessons - Part G 10:12
Track 08
. Festival of Nine Lessons - Part H 7:18
86 mins

Tracks arbitrarily split for easier access.

Hymn: Once in Royal David’s City (desc. Cleobury)
Bidding Prayer read by the Dean
In the bleak mid-winter (Darke)
First lesson: Genesis 3 vv 8-19 read by a Chorister
Adam’s Fall (Richard Elfyn Jones)
Love came down at Christmas (Morris Arr. Cleobury)
Second lesson: Genesis 22 vv 15-18 read by a Choral Scholar
How shall I fitly meet thee? (J.S. Bach)
I saw three ships (Arr. Ledger)
Third lesson: Isaiah 9 vv 2, 6-7 read by a representative of the Cambridge Churches
Illuminare, Jerusalem (Judith Weir)
O little town of Bethlehem (Arr. Cleobury)
Fourth lesson: Isaiah 11 vv 1-3a, 4a, 6-9 read by the Chaplain
A spotless rose (Howells)
The Lamb (Tavener)
Fifth lesson: Luke 1 vv 26-38 read by a member of College staff
Gabriel’s Message (Arr. Pettman)
The Linden Tree Carol (Arr. Cleobury)
Sixth lesson: Luke 2 vv 1-7 read by a representative of the City of Cambridge
Carol Eliseus (Huw Watkins - Commission (world premiere))
Away in a manger (Arr. Willcocks)
Seventh lesson: Luke 2 vv 8-16 read by the Director of Music
Can I not syng but hoy? (Francis Jackson)
God rest you merry, gentlemen (Arr. Willcocks)
Eighth lesson: Matthew 2 vv 1-12 read by the Vice-Provost
We three kings of Orient are (Arr. Neary)
The Magi’s Dream (Whitbourn)
Ninth lesson: John 1 vv 1-14 read by the Provost
O come, all ye faithful (Arr. Willcocks)
Collect and Blessing
Hark! The herald angels sing (desc. Cleobury)Organ voluntaries:
In dulci jubilo (BWV 729) (Bach)
Prelude and Fugue in B major (Dupré) [broadcast on Radio 3 on Christmas Day only]

Director of Music: Stephen Cleobury
Organ scholar: Henry Websdale
Producer: Philip Billson

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  1. 5 Responses to “VARIOUS - A FESTIVAL OF NINE LESSONS AND CAROLS 2017”

  2. Thank you so much for this. Holiday music in this format is a rare treat. Thanks for the music this year and wish you and the whole staff at BigO a happy, blessed Christmas!

    By Tony Pizza on Dec 26, 2017

  3. Oh.

    @ Carolyn king Pierce, have any of your family members worked with these guys? (Happy Christmas, by the way)

    By Waldo the Eel on Dec 27, 2017

  4. Thanks! This sounds wonderful..

    By Tom on Dec 27, 2017

  5. Thank you for posting this beautiful performance. Merry Christmas!

    By K Anselmi on Dec 28, 2017

  6. Thanks. This service has been a part of my Christmas Eve tradition via the BBC for years and I wished I’d recorded a couple of the musical numbers this year.Happy New Year to BigO!

    By drkrick on Dec 29, 2017

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