King's College Choir of Cambridge / Stephen Cleobury

Nine Lessons & Carols [2010 Service]

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The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, a set of nine Scripture readings related to the Christmas story alternating with carols and other short musical compositions, has proven remarkably successful since the festival's introduction at King's College, Cambridge, in 1918. For many years the music consisted mostly of arrangements of traditional carols, but beginning in 1983 new carols and hymns were commissioned from well-established composers, mostly but not exclusively British. The Choir of King's College, Cambridge, is reliable in this release, but its real attraction is the potential chance to hear how the festival has evolved with the placement of the new music. This album presents the service as it was heard in 2010. Most of the "commissioned carols" are clumped in a group at the end and labeled as such. This group, however, does not represent the total of the new pieces involved; Einojuhani Rautavaara's Christmas Carol, also known as Offerings They Brought of Gold, is incorporated into the actual service. It's not clear how many of the new pieces have been used in that way; if it's just one per year, then what you're getting is the real deal. In any event, Rautavaara's piece, with its lovely use of the choir's top register, is by far the strongest of the commissioned pieces, and although it's quite distinctive in style it fits in best with the traditional carols. Worthwhile for lovers of the English cathedral tradition.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 4:40
Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols
2 3:26
Herefordshire Carols
3 2:34
Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols
4 3:03
5 1:04
6
2:54
Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols
7 1:03
8
3:04
9 2:25
Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols
10 1:08
11
1:58
12
3:33
Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols
13 1:40
14 1:41
15 3:59
Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols
16 2:44
17 3:20
18 1:41
Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols
19 1:15
20 1:59
21
3:08

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols
1 1:44
2
2:59
3 2:19
Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols
4 3:04
5 4:54
6
2:45
Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols
7 2:28
8 4:27
Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols
9 1:15
10 3:20
11 2:51
12 4:40
13 3:34
14 2:44
15 4:28
16 6:00
17 4:44
blue highlight denotes track pick