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Ordinary Time 2017

24 November 2017
Nine Lessons and Carols - A Festival of, 2017 (preview)

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.

  1. After the First Lesson
    • In place of an "Adam lay ybounden" we get a piece that was only recently published, and is being sung at this service for the first time: Adam’s Fall by Richard Elfyn Jones

      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

    • Love came down at Christmas by R.O. Morris in an arrangement by the Director of Music Stephen Cleobury (the first piece heard here). It was last sung in 2013, but after the Second Lesson.
  2. After the Second Lesson
    • From the Christmas Oratorio by J.S. Bach we get the chorale "How shall I fitly meet thee". This was last sung in 2000 (a big Bach year) when it was also after this lesson.

      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.

    • If the previous selection pays homage to Willcocks, the carol that follows it has a more direct connection to one of Cleobury's predecessors at King's. I saw three ships was written by Philip Ledger, Director of Music at King's from 1974–1982.

      Ledger's music often appears on the music list for this service, but this particular arrangement has not been sung since 2003.

  3. After the Third Lesson
    • Judith Weir's splendid Illuminare Jerusalem. This was the commissioned carol in 1985. It has been regularly sung at this service ever since. It was last sung in 2013.
    • Then the Hymn: "O little town of Bethlehem", which is exactly the same as last year. Prior to that, it had not been sung after this lesson since 2007.
  4. After the Fourth Lesson come the same two familaiar carols that were sung in 2016, but in the reverse order.
    • A spotless rose - Howells
    • "The Lamb" Tavener
  5. After the Fifth Lesson
    • Another familiar carol: The Angel Gabriel by Pettman, last sung in 2014.
    • And what we believe to be a new carol arrangement from the Director of Music, Stephen Cleobury: The Linden Tree Carol.
  6. After the Sixth Lesson
  7. After the Seventh Lesson
    • Can I not syng but hoy? by the English composer Francis Jackson who just celebrated his 100th birthday this year. To our knowledge, no music of Francis Jackson has been sung at this service previously.

      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).

    • Hymn: "God rest ye merry, gentlemen" - last sung in 2015.
  8. After the Eighth Lesson
    • We three kings of Orient are by Martin Neary. This popular arrangement can be heard on a recording from a past "Carols from Kings" (note that this is a seperate, pre-recorded televised service), but it has not previously been sung at this service to the best of our knowledge.
    • The Magi's Dream by James Whitbourn (listen). Another carol by Whitbourn was sung in 2004.
  9. After the Ninth Lesson follow the two traditional hymns
    • O come, all ye faithful - with descant by Cleobury
    • Hark! the herald angels sing - with descant by Willcocks

The organ music after the service is traditionally In dulci jubilo, BWV 729 and another major work.

Labels: , , , ,

 
 
Comments:
Is this the actual order of service for 2017? As far as I know King's haven't published it yet...!
 
Great that Francis Jackson is included
 
PGTips - yes, this list is based on reporting done by Sinden.org, and we are the first to report this information this year. The service booklet is generally not available until mid-December.
John - I agree!
 

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