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Kings College Carols

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For those who may be interested, the orders of service for both the Christmas Eve live broadcast and the recorded TV version can be downloaded from http://www.kings.cam.ac.uk/events/chapel-services/nine-lessons.html

 

I don't know whether it required some hasty adjustments on SC's part, but we certainly have a good tribute to Philip Ledger, with his descants to 'Once in royal' and 'Hark the herald' featuring in both services, as well as two choral pieces in the live broadcast and one in the televised version. In addition to the commissioned piece 'Ring out wild bells' by Carl Vine, there is a new John Rutter piece 'All Bells in Paradise' which again features on both services and was written for the CD they have just released. For aficianados of the Christmas Day repeat on R3, the second voluntary this year is the Durufle Toccata.

 

As always, much to look forward to (well, I like them anyway!).

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Thanks for this - I have been looking forward to seeing what is to be included this year, but I can't make your link work, unfortunately. Good to see the Ledger descants being used - the one on O Come, all ye faithful has been augmented in Carols for Choirs 5 by adding an extra descant for verse 7 - (Yea, Lord, we greet thee).

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Is it just me or is it all really rather dull and dreary? Who on earth wants to sing Sir Christemas in this day and age when so many fabulous new carols have come on scene since those days? Do we really need Away in a manger? There are some highlights of course but not too many, I'm afraid - dull as a ditch!

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Is it just me or is it all really rather dull and dreary? Who on earth wants to sing Sir Christemas in this day and age when so many fabulous new carols have come on scene since those days? Do we really need Away in a manger? There are some highlights of course but not too many, I'm afraid - dull as a ditch!

 

I'll stick up for 'Sir Christemas' here...its good fun and a good finisher - will raise some smiles I'm sure.

 

I'd tend to agree that this year's probably isn't the most inspiring selection - very populist, perhaps - but it is a very difficult job to choose things which balance well. We have a new 'Adam lay ybounden' as well as the Rutter and Vine pieces, but otherwise its all fairly standard stuff I guess.

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Damn! I've been waiting since 1998 to hear once again the Praetorius version of 'In Dulci Jubilo' in Latin and German!

 

Still, an interesting and well-balanced programme, as always.

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I'll stick up for 'Sir Christemas' here...its good fun and a good finisher - will raise some smiles I'm sure.

Yes, I'm not seriously against 'Sir Christemas', indeed, I used to love it as a youngster - (ah! perhaps that's it, and it's a choristers' favourite!) - but I do feel there are better carols that have been written in the last 40 years since it was published - including his own 'A babe is born.'

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Erm, I'd love to have a choir that could contemplate 'Sir Christemas'. Just having the option would be enough.

(got a 'new' pedalboard, though. :D Thanks Ruth - and Jeff, bless him))

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I 've liked Sir Christemas since I sang it at school. In fact, I think the whole sequence 'Ave Rex' is very fine indeed, particularly 'Alleluya! A new work is come on hand' - a pity it doesn't appear to be available separately. Really good Mathias, if you like that sort of thing, which I do.

 

There's a story that at a certain cathedral in Kent (not Canterbury) many years ago, the layclerks had a bit of a run-in with the organist and at the end of 'Sir Christemas' the boys shouted 'Noel!' and the men shouted 'B*****ks!'.

 

Just before I left St. Magnus Cathedral, the St. Magnus Festival committee commissioned Mathias to write an anthem for the cathedral choir ('Thus spake God the Lord'). The first performance was broadcast on Radio 4, and Mathias wrote me a very nice letter saying how much he'd enjoyed it. Later, after i'd moved to Belfast, I was at a Cathedral Organists' Association conference at St. Asaph. Mathias was there and he made a point of recalling the broadcast of 'Thus spake God the Lord'. I thought that was very kind of him.

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There's a story that at a certain cathedral in Kent (not Canterbury) many years ago, the layclerks had a bit of a run-in with the organist and at the end of 'Sir Christemas' the boys shouted 'Noel!' and the men shouted 'B*****ks!'.

 

I think that this is probably apocryphal - the version I heard was 'set' in a cathedral in the Fens of Cambridgeshire and it was a new lay clerk who was put in this embarrassing position, being told by the other gentlemen that 'it is a tradition that we actually shout...'

 

Apparently, (according to which version of this story one has heard), either the other lay clerks (and boys) remained silent - in order for the new lay clerk to be heard clearly - or they all said 'Nowell' quietly - again to ensure the lay clerk was heard by the congregation.

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There's a story that at a certain cathedral in Kent (not Canterbury) many years ago, the layclerks had a bit of a run-in with the organist and at the end of 'Sir Christemas' the boys shouted 'Noel!' and the men shouted 'B*****ks!'.

 

Hmmm.... I wonder when that would have been??

I've been there 30+ years.... :D

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1977, so possibly just before your time.

I was there then, just not full-time yet.

From the circumstances described, I thought it might have been more recent...

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As I heard it, the layclerks told one of their number that they would indeed shout "B*****ks" at the end, but in fact they didn't shout anything at all, leaving the poor butt of the joke to shout it on his own. This was indeed alleged to have taken place in a cathedral in Kent, but not Rochester. I like the idea of this version.

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If you think 'Sir Christemas' is rubbish, then I'll raise you Kenneth Rothery's 'Christ Child in the Manger' which we did at our Carol Service tonight - lots of oom-pahs! Utterly tasteless, but the congregation lap it up. In similar vein we have done the 'Cowboy Carol' before as well - don't even ask! This is definite love to hate territory!

 

In all seriousness, a good evening, a full church, nine lessons, 11 musical items (5 choir, 6 congregational) and all done and dusted in an hour. As I posted elsewhere, Andrew Gant's 'Toccata on Mendelssohn' went down a storm afterwards, with a ripple of applause. One down, three to go!

 

Hope your carolling (assuming many correspondents like me had a service tonight) was similarly successful!

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I listened in patches and thought Kings sounded very good - both from a musical and sound engineering perspective. I'm afraid I enjoyed the new Rutter piece; like many of its predecessors as commissions I can't see the Carl Vine getting too many repeat performances. Philip Ledger's 'Good Christian men, rejoice' has been hiding somewhere but was really rather good and deserves a repeat performance.

 

A less than traditional approach to BWV 729 this year though! When it started I thought it had been substituted for something else!

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I haven't listened to the whole service but enjoyed the Ledger tributes - I've always like his descants - and I liked Good Christians - published by Encore publications, by the way. Good to see that someone had sorted out Stephen Cleobury's MusB hood! He's been wearing it back to front and inside out in recent years - didn't wear it at all last year!

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I listened in patches and thought Kings sounded very good - both from a musical and sound engineering perspective. I'm afraid I enjoyed the new Rutter piece; like many of its predecessors as commissions I can't see the Carl Vine getting too many repeat performances. Philip Ledger's 'Good Christian men, rejoice' has been hiding somewhere but was really rather good and deserves a repeat performance.

 

A less than traditional approach to BWV 729 this year though! When it started I thought it had been substituted for something else!

Agreed in all respects Philip, especially BWV 729, congratulations to Parker Ramsay (if it was he, as announced!)

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I think I've got this right, now. Please will someone say whether I have, or not, as the case may be.

In previous years, I have watched the BBC2 'Carols fron King's' and always wondered what the final voluntary was.

 

This year, I have realised that what we are shown on Christmas Eve is recorded earlier in December, and the Service is 'Invitation only'.

 

The PDF programme of the 'live' Service ends with the Bach In dulci jubilo, BWV 729.

The PDF programme of the 'recorded' Service ends with the Bach Von Himmel hoch, BWV 606. I now know that this is what we always hear at the end , when the credits are shown.

 

I think you will all agree, last night's 'Carols from King's' is always one of the best parts of Christmas.

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I haven't listened to the whole service but enjoyed the Ledger tributes - I've always like his descants - and I liked Good Christians - published by Encore publications, by the way. Good to see that someone had sorted out Stephen Cleobury's MusB hood! He's been wearing it back to front and inside out in recent years - didn't wear it at all last year!

 

I'm not completely familiar with procedure, but doesn't Stephen Cleobury hold a doctorate (I think it may be an honorary one)? If so, wouldn't he wear the more 'senior' hood, or does the Cambridge one take precedence?

 

Why does he decide not to wear a hood on some occasions?

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I'm not completely familiar with procedure, but doesn't Stephen Cleobury hold a doctorate (I think it may be an honorary one)? If so, wouldn't he wear the more 'senior' hood, or does the Cambridge one take precedence?

 

Why does he decide not to wear a hood on some occasions?

He holds an honorary DMus degree from Anglia Ruskin University but I don't think that at Oxford and Cambridge you are allowed to wear academical dress from other universities - afterall, he could wear an FRCO hood. [i am not precisely certain of the rules but it is something along the lines I have suggested.**] Over the past however long it is, he has also worn his Cambridge MA hood for the broadcast service. On one occasion, because 'continuity' wasn't set up quite right - he appeared in part of the service wearing a hood and yet didn't have it on during another part - they must have had to do some re-takes. [** I am not certain whether this is possible any more but in the 'old days' a Cambridge graduate going to work at Oxford could 'incorporate' their degree so that they could wear an Oxford MA hood, for example, even though their degree was from Cambridge. Canon John Collins - the Aldermaston Marches chap and Canon of St Paul's in the 50's-70's did this. He always wore his Oxford MA hood at St Paul's and his original Cambridge MA hood appeared only once in the five years I was there - at the opening of the new choir school in New Change in ?1968.] Hopefully another contributor can explain all this with a few more facts and correct info!

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