I went to a festival of Lessons and Carols tonight based on the famous one at King’s College, Cambridge, and decided to check into the original.Thanks, Sara!
Behold, every year, they commission a new carol, and this year’s is based on Chesterton’s poem “the Christ Child lay on Mary’s lap”. It’s broadcast on some BBC sites this Christmas Eve, but mid-morning for those of us in the Midwest.
When Stephen Cleobury came to King's in 1982 he was keen to demonstrate a commitment to contemporary music for the College's liturgies. He decided that one way of doing this would be to commission a new carol each year for inclusion in the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols; thus a new tradition was born.
The first composer to be commissioned was Lennox Berkeley, and amongst those who have followed him are, Thomas Adés, Judith Bingham, James Macmillan and John Rutter, to name but a few. A CD recording of the commissioned carols entitled, 'On Christmas Day: New carols from King's' was released by EMI in 2005.
Commissioned carol 2009
This year the composer Gabriel Jackson has used G K Chesterton's 'The Christ Child Sat On Mary's Lap' as the text for his carol. Gabriel is a leading composer of choral music who has written pieces for the BBC, the Tate Gallery and the National Centre for Early Music.
He said: 'While writing the piece I was thinking all the time about the wondrous space that is the King's Chapel, the special atmosphere of the service, the acoustic of the building, and the unique sound of the King's choir in that building. Now that it is finished I cannot wait for Christmas Eve, to be there in the Chapel at King's and to hear my piece quietly take its place in the age-old rite, as Stephen and his choir work their magic once again.'
The website also gives info about how to access the service on the BBC World Service and such.
Monday, December 21, 2009
H/T: Sara B.