A Festival Of Nine Lessons And Carols

Ep 1/1

Tuesday 24 December



For many people 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.


Hymn: Once in Royal David's City (desc. Cleobury)

Bidding Prayer read by the Dean

Ding, Dong! merrily on high (arr. Williamson)

First lesson: Genesis 3, vv 8-19 read by a Chorister

Jesus Christ the apple tree (Poston)

Hear the voice of the Bard (Musgrave - first performance, commissioned by King's College)

Second lesson: Genesis 22 vv 15-18 read by a Choral Scholar

Love came down at Christmas (Morris, arr. Cleobury)

Joy to the world (Holford, arr. Keyte and Parrott)

Third lesson: Isaiah 9 vv 2, 6-7 read by a Member of the College Staff

Illuminare, Jerusalem (Weir)

Hymn: Unto us is born a Son (arr. Willcocks)

Fourth lesson: Isaiah 11 vv 1-3a, 4a, 6-9 read by a Representative of the City of Cambridge

The Lamb (Tavener)

A New Year Carol (Britten)

Fifth lesson: Luke 1 vv 26-35, 38 read by a representative of our sister College at Eton

Angelus ad Virginem (arr. Cleobury)

Hymn to the Virgin (Britten)

Sixth lesson: Luke 2 vv 1, 3-7 read by the Chaplain

Away in a manger (arr. Willcocks)

A Boy was born (Britten)

Seventh lesson: Luke 2 vv 8-16 read by the Director of Music

The Shepherd's Carol (Chilcott)

Hymn: While shepherds watched (desc. Cleobury)

Eighth lesson: Matthew 2 vv 1-12 read by the Vice-Provost

Susanni (Bennett)

I saw three ships (arr. Preston)

Ninth lesson: John 1 vv 1-14 read by the Provost

Hymn: O come, all ye faithful (arr. Willcocks)

Collect and Blessing

Hymn: Hark, the Herald Angels Sing (desc. Cleobury)

Organ voluntaries:

In dulci jubilo (BWV 729) (Bach)

Dieu parmi nous (Messiaen) [broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on Christmas Day only]

Director of Music: Stephen Cleobury

Organ Scholar: Douglas Tang

Producer/ Simon Vivian for the BBC

BBC Radio 4 Publicity