Sinden.org published its traditional preview of the music list for the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King's College, Cambridge on November 24.
Now, for the days leading up to the service, we'll offer 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, and I saw three ships - arr. Ledger.
And the scoring information doesn't really give the whole picture: yes, it is accompanied by organ, but only for a beautifully conceived special effect. It's essentially a homophonic a capella carol. When the organ comes in, it serves only to extend the range of the choir to the bottom. And as soon as it speaks, with it's brief, booming oscillation, it is silent again.
It is a work of near-genius in my estimation. And I wonder if Cleobury agrees. It was commissioned in 1985, early in Cleobury's tenure. It was performed back in 2001, but in recent years (as Cleobury's storied tenure slowly winds to a close), it has been sung quite a bit more regularly: 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013, and now 2017.
Labels: Christmas, King's College (Cambridge), Lessons and Carols, Weir
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