King's College Choir of Cambridge / Stephen Cleobury / Philip Ledger / David Willcocks

100 Years of Nine Lessons & Carols

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The Choir of King's College, Cambridge, celebrates a century of its Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, which was inaugurated in 1918 under the direction of King's College chaplain Eric Milner-White. This double-disc collection of historic and modern recordings doesn't go back quite as far as those first Christmas concerts, nor even to the initial radio broadcasts that began in 1928, but 60 years of live broadcasts on the BBC are sampled generously on the first disc, while fresh recordings of the most popular carols are provided on the second CD. Led by Stephen Cleobury and his predecessors, David Willcocks and Philip Ledger, the performances have the reverent but joyous air associated with the finest British church music, and anyone who has a sentimental attachment to this traditional fare will be moved by the loveliness of the voices and the halo-like acoustics of the chapel. Lest any have misgivings about the recordings, the sound is respectable in the earliest track, which dates from 1958, while it becomes progressively cleaner and more focused over the later selections. Highly recommended for fans of Christmas concerts and exceptional choral singing.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 02:34
2 01:14
3 02:02
4 01:53
5 04:36
6 03:36
7 02:16
8 03:46
9 02:30
10 02:35
11 01:11
12 02:02
13 04:22
14 02:17
15 01:48
16 02:53
17 04:28
18 01:08
19 04:07
20 02:20
21 04:23

Track Listing - Disc 2

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 05:38
2 03:04
3 03:39
4 03:39
L' Enfance du Christ
5 04:03
6 01:50
7 03:07
8 03:10
9 03:29
10 02:12
11 03:15
Christmas Oratorio
12 01:07
13 01:17
Christmas Oratorio
14 01:15
15 03:11
16 04:28
blue highlight denotes track pick