The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols – King’s College Chapel – music CD



At this festive winter holiday season the WML is fortunate to have acquired an audio CD of an enduring Christmas classic. It is The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, recorded in 2008, by and at King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, England.  This is, or rather, has been a beloved performance in the UK countries since it was first broadcast in 1928 by the BBC. And it is now eagerly awaited by Americans who since 1979 have been able to listen via NPR radio live on Christmas Eve Day live at 10:00 EST.

This “Festival” was originally prepared by the then Anglican Bishop of Truro, England in 1880 in order to attempt to keep men out of pubs on Christmas Eve. We are not told, however, as to whether or not His Grace was successful in this endeavor. This service lasts approximately 90 minutes and has been said by some to be the perfect combination of the secular and the divine.  

The Gothic facade of the Chapel at King’s College is the symbol of the City of Cambridge and the building itself seats approximately 600.  We in 2010 are fortunate in that we may listen in ease at our radios, or computer, the “Beeb”, live from Cambridge University and enjoy the beautiful acoustics of the Chapel. Enjoy the crystal clear voices of the choristers, enjoy the music old and new, and enjoy the wonder of the English language spoken and sung.   We may believe or not. But think of this, think of the sound of a time before TV, most certainly before the Net, of a time when the electric light itself had just been invented and was a curious wonder. Have some curious wonder yourself. Listen to this CD or on Christmas Eve morning to “The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King’s”.

bill littlefield


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