Sinden.org published its traditional preview of the music list for the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King's College, Cambridge late last month..
For the days leading up to the service, we have been offering a Kalendar of Carols: a more in-depth look at each piece of music to be sung.
So far, we've covered the opening hymn, Bidding Prayer, In the bleak mid-winter – Harold Darke, Adam's Fall – Richard Elfyn Jones, Love came down at Christmas – arr. Stephen Cleobury, How shall I fitly meet thee – Bach, I saw three ships – arr. Ledger, Illuminare Jerusalem – Judith Weir, and the hymn "O little town of Bethlehem", A spotless rose – Herbert Howells, The Lamb – John Tavener, The Angel Gabriel – Pettman, The Linden Tree Carol – arr. Cleobury, this year's commissioned carol by Huw Watkins, Away in a manger – Willcocks. Can I not sing but hoy – Francis Jackson, the hymn "God rest ye merry, gentlemen", and We three kings – arr. Neary.
With the rest of the service prescribed (Ninth Lesson, "O come", Collect, Blessing, "Hark", In dulci jubilo) this carol really has the last word in many ways. And what a raucous last word it has! (Listen to the whole carol.)
James Whitbourn was last heard in 2004, but with a rather tame, acapella arrangement of a Praetorius tune with English words.
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