Easter 2024

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: , , , ,

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, and we are the first to report this information this year. The service booklet is generally not available until mid-December.
John - I agree!

Post a Comment

The page you're reading is part of

©MMXVII a site for fun and prophet

Organ and church music, esoteric liturgics, and a site that changes color with the liturgical year.


Looking for Carol Spreadsheets?

Hungry? Try the Liturgical Guide to Altoids Consumption

Thirsty? Try the Tibia Liquida

The Eric Harding Thiman Fan Page: The greatest composer you've never even heard of.

Infrequently Asked Questions

picture of a chicken

Questions? Problems? email the sexton.


The author of this website is an organist whom the New York Times calls “repeatedly, insisting that he pay for his subscription”. He likes to read parking meters, music, Indianapolis Monthly, and weather forecasts in Celsius, particularly whilst wearing cassock and surplice. He serves lasagna, overhand, as an example to many, and on ecclesiastical juries. He mixes salads, drinks, and metaphors. He takes photos, lots of dinner mints, and a little bit of time to get to know.




Anglicans Online
Alex Ross: The Rest is Noise
Book of Common Prayer
Brain Pickings
The Daily Office
The Lectionary Page
Sed Angli
Ship of Fools
The Sub-Dean's Stall
Vested Interest - Trinity Church in the City of Boston


Andrew Kotylo - Concert Organist
Anne Timberlake
Bonnie Whiting, percussion
conjectural navel gazing: jesus in lint form
Friday Night Organ Pump
Halbert Gober Organs, Inc.
in time of daffodils
Joby Bell, organist
Musical Perceptions
Musings of a Synesthete
My Life as Style, Condition, Commodity.
Nathan Medley, Countertenor
Notes on Music & Liturgy
The Parker Quartet
Roof Crashers & Hem Grabbers
Steven Rickards
That Which We Have Heard & Known
This Side of Lost
Wayward Sisters
Zachary Wadsworth | composer

Archenemies Aviary



Advent (Medfield MA)
All Saints, Ashmont (Boston MA)
All Saints (Indianapolis IN)
Atonement (Bronx NY)
Broadway UMC (Indianapolis IN)
Cathedral of All Saints (Albany NY)
Christ Church (Bronxville NY)
Christ Church (Madison IN)
Christ Church (New Haven CT)
Christ Church Cathedral (Indianapolis IN)
Christ's Church (Rye NY)
Church of St. Stephen (Hamden CT)
Congregational (Belmont CA)
Coventry Cathedral (UK)
First UMC (Lancaster SC)
Gloria Dei ELCA (Iowa City IA)
Immanuel Lutheran (St Paul MN)
Immanuel Lutheran (Webster NY)
John Knox PCUSA (Houston TX)
St Andrew (Marblehead MA)
St Andrew's, Oregon Hill (Richmond VA)
St Bartholomew the Great, (London, England)
St James's (Lake Delaware NY)
St James's (Richmond VA)
St James Cathedral (Chicago IL)
St Mary's Cathedral (Memphis TN)
St Matthew and St Timothy (NYC)
St Paul's (Cleveland Heights OH)
St Paul's (Indianapolis IN)
St Paul's Cathedral (Buffalo NY)
St Paul's, K Street (Washington DC)
St Peter's (Lakewood OH)
St Peter's ELCA (NYC)
St Stephen's (Richmond VA
St Thomas (New Haven CT)
St Thomas ELCA (Bloomington IN)
Second PCUSA (Indianapolis IN)
Towson Presbyterian Church (MD)
Tremont Temple Baptist (Boston MA)
Trinity (Indianapolis IN)
Trinity on the Green (New Haven CT)


BBC Radio 3 Choral Evensong
New College (Oxford, England)
St John's College (Cambridge, England)
St Thomas (New York NY)


Like the site? Buy the shirt.

Areyou . . .

selling diphthongs?
Yes, but they're not the kind you buy on Wheel of Fortune.

the owner of a bower at Bucklesfordberry?
Full daintily it is dight.

interested in touch lamps?
And fountain pens.

this site used to be better:

March 2004
April 2004
May 2004
June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004
October 2004
November 2004
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008
January 2009
February 2009
March 2009
April 2009
May 2009
June 2009
July 2009
August 2009
September 2009
October 2009
November 2009
December 2009
January 2010
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010
June 2010
July 2010
August 2010
September 2010
October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011
March 2011
April 2011
May 2011
June 2011
July 2011
August 2011
September 2011
October 2011
November 2011
December 2011
January 2012
February 2012
April 2012
May 2012
June 2012
July 2012
August 2012
September 2012
October 2012
December 2012
January 2013
March 2013
April 2013
May 2013
June 2013
July 2013
August 2013
September 2013
October 2013
November 2013
December 2013
January 2014
February 2014
March 2014
April 2014
May 2014
June 2014
August 2014
September 2014
October 2014
November 2014
December 2014
January 2015
February 2015
April 2015
May 2015
June 2015
July 2015
August 2015
September 2015
October 2015
November 2015
December 2015
January 2016
February 2016
March 2016
April 2016
June 2016
July 2016
August 2016
September 2016
October 2016
November 2016
December 2016
January 2017
February 2017
March 2017
April 2017
May 2017
June 2017
July 2017
August 2017
September 2017
October 2017
November 2017
December 2017
January 2018
February 2018
March 2018
April 2018
May 2018
June 2018
August 2018
September 2018
October 2018
December 2018
February 2019
March 2019
October 2019
December 2019
September 2020
December 2020
January 2021
September 2021
October 2021
December 2021
November 2022
December 2022
March 2023
July 2023
March 2024
April 2024