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Christmas at King's College
King's College Choir
Christmas at King's College
Genres: Folk, Special Interest, Classical
  •  Track Listings (22) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (22) - Disc #2
  •  Track Listings (22) - Disc #3
  •  Track Listings (24) - Disc #4


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CD Details

All Artists: King's College Choir
Title: Christmas at King's College
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: EMI Classics
Release Date: 9/15/1998
Album Type: Box set
Genres: Folk, Special Interest, Classical
Styles: Holiday & Wedding, Opera & Classical Vocal, Historical Periods, Baroque (c.1600-1750), Classical (c.1770-1830), Modern, 20th, & 21st Century, Instruments, Keyboard, Sacred & Religious
Number of Discs: 4
SwapaCD Credits: 4
UPC: 724356624528

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CD Reviews

4 Disc tour de' force of "high church" Christmas music
Sean P. Doyle | Edmonds, WA USA | 04/18/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It's in there.. this is a great collection of Anglican Cathedral Christmas music. Highly recommended."
A voice teacher and early music fan
George Peabody | Planet Earth | 01/25/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

The four albums are as follows:
'CHRISTMAS MUSIC FROM KING'S' conducted by Sir David Willcocks (1964&65). This album is somewhat different in that the repertoire, although having some traditional carols,contains works that are more classically oriented such as:'Hodie Christus Natus Est'(Palestrina)(Victoria), 'O magnum mysterium' (Victoria), 'Senex puerum portabat'(Byrd), 'Hodie beata virgo'(Gibbons) and several more of this ilk. To hear these wonderful renditions from this great choir was a joy to me, and I loved the fact that they were NOT the usual carols, although I also enjoy them, and many are on the remaining three albums.

'FAVORITE CAROLS FROM KING'S' includes two conductors in different sessions: Willcocks has carols from 1969,1971&72&73. For the most part these are familiar carols such as 'Once in Royal David's City','O Come, O Come Emmanuel' etc. Do remember, that though they ARE familiar, King's College Choir has the distinct reputation for having unusual and refreshingly different arrangements, that not only involve harmonic changes, but varied voicings and often different accompaniments than usual. Sir Philip Ledger has carols from 1976. They also are somewhat traditional such as: 'O Little Town of Bethlehem', 'The First Nowell', 'A Spotless Rose', 'Up!good Christian folk' etc. Not all the 'familiar' titles have the usual familar melodies, and again I found it refreshing! Needless to say, both choirs are superb!

'A FESTIVAL OF LESSONS AND CAROLS FROM KINGS' conducted solely by Ledger in December, 1978. The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols sung on Christmas Eve in King's College Chapel follows the form laid down in 1918 by the recently appointed Dean, Eric Milner-White. Ideally (in the service) there is no marked alternation of music and lessons but rather the story unfolds evenly through words spoken and words sung, both being enriched as they take their place within the overriding purpose. The words of many of the carols have a long history (such as 'A Maiden Most gentle' by Venable Bede,AD 673-735) but many are sung to new settings or new arrangements. Two other carols I found particularly attractive: 'Adam lay ybounden' by Boris Ord, a former directer of the Choir, and 'A Babe is Born' by William Mathias.

'AN ADVENT PROCESSION WITH CAROLS FROM KING'S' conducted by Ledger December, 1979 has the most interesting collection of carols (in my opinion) of alltime, that is, if you love Anglican music. The arrangements are incredibly clever, especially as to the voicing of the parts, but a few words about the 'Procession'.

In 1934, Milner-White decided that more imaginative forms of worship were needed to maintain interest. And so he put together a framework of a service, the purpose of which was 'not to celebrate Christmas, but to expect it'. Whereas the Christmas Eve service is provided by the lessons, which are then reflected in the carols, in this new service many of the texts set to the music also contribute to the basic form.

And so we have in this album a WONDERFUL collection of some of the most interesting carols and arrangements I have ever heard in my VERY LONG musical life such as: 'Up,Awake and Away'(Gallician Carol), 'All and Some' (John Byrt), 'Twas In the Year'(Charles Wood arr.), 'Judah and Jerusalem'(Palestrina) and 'I Look from Afar'(Palestrina) etc.

Two of the above albums are listed on the King's College website BUT the other two are not. Moreover, if you price them individually you will pay at least twice as much than for all four. This is just such a bargain IF you enjoy the sound of this choir: clear-sounding boy sopranos, lush- sounding male altos, resonant tenors, and light non-rumbling basses. Enough said!