As it is our care and delight to await the coming of the 2017 King's College Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols, we must in heart and mind review the music list for this, the most famous regularly occurring church service in the entire world.
This carol was heard last year after the Seventh Lesson. It was last heard as the Invitatory Carol in 2000.
The verses of this original carol are rich with imagery of the tree, the apple, Paradise and Eden, while the refrain taps into medieval rural traditions of verse and carolling. The music mirrors the theology of the words, conveying much emotional expression before reaching a powerful conclusion.
Richard Elfyn Jones (b. 1944) began his professional career as an organist, orchestral conductor and choral director after graduating from the University of Wales and King's College, Cambridge. He studied composition with William Mathias. He was a Limpus Prizewinner at the Royal College of Organists, and a semi-finalist in the Cantelli International Conducting Competition in Milan, Italy. For many years, he was Senior Lecturer in Music at Cardiff University. He also served as conductor of the Cardiff Polyphonic Choir (1977-91)
from an email from Encore Publications
This service does have a long pattern of singing music from the Christmas Oratorio. Under the tenure of David Willcocks the recitative "And there were shepherds" followed by the chorale "Break forth O beauteous heavenly light" was often heard at the Invitatory. These two pieces were published together in Carols for Choirs 1, which was edited by Willcocks.
Ledger's music often appears on the music list for this service, but this particular arrangement has not been sung since 2003.
Many church musicians will be familiar with music published in the Eboracum Choral Series under Banks Music. Francis Jackson was the general editor of this series, and this carol was their first choral publication (bearing the number ECS 1).
The organ music after the service is traditionally In dulci jubilo, BWV 729 and another major work.
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