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From the candlelit chapel of King's College, Cambridge, and based around nine Bible readings interspersed with Christmas hymns and carols sung by the world-famous chapel choir.

A live broadcast from the Chapel of King's College, Cambridge

Hymn: Once in Royal David's City (desc. Cleobury)
Bidding Prayer read by the Dean
A Babe is born (Mathias)
First lesson: Genesis 3 vv 8-19 read by a Chorister
Jesus Christ the apple tree (Poston)
Adam lay ybounden (Gaynor Howard)
Second lesson: Genesis 22 vv 15-18 read by a Choral Scholar
Riu, riu chiu (Flecha the Elder)
In dulci jubilo (H. Praetorius)
Third lesson: Isaiah 9 vv 2, 6-7 read by a representative of the Cambridge Churches
Sussex Carol (arr. Brian Kelly)
Hymn: O Little Town of Bethlehem (arr. Vaughan Williams)
Fourth lesson: Isaiah 11 vv 1-3a, 4a, 6-9 read by a representative of the City of Cambridge
The Lamb (Tavener)
A spotless rose (Howells)
Fifth lesson: Luke 1 vv 26-38 read by a representative of our sister college at Eton
I sing of a maiden (Lennox Berkeley)
Joys Seven (arr. Cleobury)
Sixth lesson: Luke 2 vv 1 -7 read by the Chaplain
Quelle est cette odeur? (arr. Willcocks)
This ender night (Michael Berkeley - Commission (world premiere))
Seventh lesson: Luke 2 vv 8-16 read by the Director of Music
In the bleak midwinter (Darke)
Hymn: While shepherds watched (desc. Cleobury)
Eighth lesson: Matthew 2 vv 1-12 read by the Vice-Provost
Bethlehem Down (Warlock)
Ding, dong merrily (Wood arr. Wilberg and Stevens)
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. Ledger)

Organ voluntaries:
In dulci jubilo (BWV 729) (Bach)
Dieu parmi nous (La Nativité du Seigneur) (Messiaen) [broadcast on Radio 3 on Christmas Day only]

Director of Music: Stephen Cleobury
Organ Scholar: Richard Gowers

Producer: Philip Billson

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.

The College's Director of Music Stephen Cleobury writes:
The commissioned carol this year is by Michael Berkeley, who has set the mediaeval poem This ender night. The first carol I commissioned (in 1983) was from Michael's father, Lennox, who is represented in this service by his I sing of a maiden. Significant anniversaries of two composers strongly connected with the carol repertoire and the King's service are marked. Charles Wood (1866-1926) popularised Ding dong! merrily on high, and this is included in the recent arrangement by the American composers Mack Wilberg and Peter Stevens. Harold Darke (1888-1976) directed the King's Choir during Boris Ord's absence on war service in the early 1940s. His evergreen In the bleak midwinter is included. Although the main focus this year is on recent British composers, there are carols in French, German and Spanish, as well as settings not previously heard at King's of the well-known texts Adam lay bounden (composed by Gaynor Howard) and of the Sussex Carol (in an arrangement by Bryan Kelly).

1 hour, 28 minutes

Last on

Christmas Eve 2016 15:00

Broadcast

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