THE FESTIVAL OF NINE LESSONS AND CAROLS HOLDS
UNIVERSAL APPEAL THROUGHOUT THE WORLD!
The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols sung on Christmas Eve in King's College Chapel follows the form laid down in 1918 by the new Dean Eric Milner-White. The strength of the sevice, as he saw it, lay in the lessons intrespersed througout the service.
Ideally there is no marked alternation of music and lessons but rather the story unfolds evenly through the words being spoken and words sung, both being enriched as they take their place within the overriding purpose.
In part the continuing freshness is due to the musicians. The choir includes 16 trebles (boy sopranos), while the alto, tenor and bass parts are sung by 14 choral scholars, undergraduates of the college.
The carols on this recording are mostly older carols sung to new and fresh-sounding arrangements: 'Once in Royal David's City' (arr. Ledger), 'Resonet in laudibus' (Handl-Ledger); 'Adam lay ybounden' (Boris Ord, former conductor of the choir); 'Joseph and Mary'(arr Vaughan Williams); 'A Maiden most gentle' (French); 'Stille Nacht' unique arrangement by Ledger; 'Angels from the realms of glory' (arr Ledger); 'A Babe is Born' new to me, and I like it (William Mathias); 'O Come all ye Faithful'(Wade-Ledger); 'Hark! the herald Angels sing'(Mendelssohn-Ledger); and includes a choral prelude by Bach 'In dulci jubilo'.
All of this was recorded in 1978 under the capable direction of Sir Philip Ledger. It provides an inspirational experience for the believer, and others too. It doesn't seem to matter which year one hears the King's College Choir, for they are always excellent!