Choir of King’s College, Cambridge – In the Bleak Midwinter: Christmas Carols from King’s (2021) [Official Digital Download 24bit/192kHz]

(Last Updated On: December 7, 2021)

Choir of King’s College, Cambridge – In the Bleak Midwinter: Christmas Carols from King’s (2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24bit/192kHz | Time – 01:14:20 minutes | 2,66 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Kings College Cambridge

In the Bleak Midwinter reflects a Christmas that was unlike any other in recent history. Much of the music on this album was heard around the world as part of the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, a service that has been broadcast live from King’s on Christmas Eve every year since 1930.

But for Christmas Eve 2020 in the face of a global pandemic, the continuation of this uniquely long-running tradition was not possible – not sung live or with a congregation in the Chapel as well as the global audience who have long listened from around the world. Instead, a full service, with lessons, carols, organ voluntaries and prayers, was recorded in an empty Chapel with the Choir of King’s College spread out around the stalls. For its millions of listeners, the broadcast meant the continuation of a Christmas tradition in a year when so many were without their friends and family, and without so much of what makes Christmas special.

This album contains music from the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols together with a selection of specially recorded tracks. It marks the beginning of a new era for the Choir of King’s College under the direction of Daniel Hyde, with this his first full album at King’s since his appointment in 2019.

The title of this Choir of King’s College, Cambridge album, In the Bleak Midwinter, refers to the poem by Christina Rossetti and its settings to music here by Harold Darke and Gustav Holst, two popular Christmastime choir tunes. However, it also refers to the choir’s return to the Chapel of King’s College for its Christmas Eve broadcast of the Festival of Nine Carols and Lessons in December of 2020, in the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic (four of the tracks were recorded the following June). Led by Daniel Hyde, the director of music at King’s College since 2019, with organist Matthew Martin, the King’s College Choir is well-rehearsed and in fine form, as one has come to expect, even after online learning that didn’t allow for rehearsals as a group. The sound from an emptier than usual chapel, with some furniture removed and no audience, is resonant and is captured well in this recording, and Hyde takes advantage by letting the sound ring an extra beat throughout at appropriate times. Amid everything else that made the 2020 Festival different than previous years, O come, all ye faithful is moved to the middle of the service, and a hauntingly beautiful, intimate arrangement of Still, still, still by Bob Chilcott — a notable alumnus of the King’s College Choir — takes its place after the final blessing. As is tradition, Hark! the herald angels sing closes out the service, and even without the congregation joining in, it is joyous. Issued in time for the 2021 holiday season, this will be a welcome return to some normalcy for many listeners.

Tracklist:
1. Choir of King’s College, Cambridge – Once in royal David’s city (Arr. David Willcocks, Desc. Stephen Cleobury)
2. Choir of King’s College, Cambridge – A tender shoot: A Tender Shoot
3. Choir of King’s College, Cambridge – How shall I fitly meet thee?
4. Choir of King’s College, Cambridge – In the Bleak Midwinter
5. Choir of King’s College, Cambridge – Of the Father’s heart begotten (Arr. David Willcocks)
6. Choir of King’s College, Cambridge – Angels, from the realms of glory (Arr. Reginald Jacques)
7. Choir of King’s College, Cambridge – An Old Carol (I sing of a maiden)
8. Choir of King’s College, Cambridge – In dulci jubilo (Arr. Robert Lucas de Pearsall & Daniel Hyde)
9. Choir of King’s College, Cambridge – The angel Gabriel
10. Choir of King’s College, Cambridge – O come, all ye faithful (Arr. David Willcocks, Desc. Christopher Robinson & David Hill)
11. Choir of King’s College, Cambridge – Sussex Carol (On Christmas night) (Arr. Ralph Vaughan Williams)
12. Choir of King’s College, Cambridge – While shepherds watched their flocks by night (Desc. Nicholas Marston & Daniel Hyde)
13. Choir of King’s College, Cambridge – Thou who wast rich beyond all splendour (Arr. Charles Herbert Kitson & Daniel Hyde)
14. Choir of King’s College, Cambridge – The Shepherd’s Cradle Song (Wiegenlied) (Arr. Charles Macpherson)
15. Choir of King’s College, Cambridge – In the bleak midwinter (Arr. Mack Wilberg)
16. Choir of King’s College, Cambridge – As I sat on a sunny bank (I saw three ships) (Arr. Elizabeth Poston & Daniel Hyde)
17. Choir of King’s College, Cambridge – Still, still, still (Arr. Bob Chilcott)
18. Matthew Martin – Prelude to “Hark! the herald angels sing”
19. Choir of King’s College, Cambridge – Hark! the herald angels sing (Desc. Philip Ledger)
20. Matthew Martin – Improvisation on Adeste, fideles

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