I began listening to the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King’s College in 2002 or 2003. This year’s service just broadcast may be the best one yet I’ve heard.
It seemed to this experienced Lector that even the readings were better than ever. The chorister reading the first lesson certainly got that off to a good start. That boy can read!
One aspect of the service of which I’m usually critical are the newer carols selected by the Director of Music Stephen Cleobury. He is to be commended for giving new composers an opportunity to shine. But most years one or two of the modern carols seem, well, a bit too strange. But this year I liked the newer carols as well. Even the one that seemed a bit discordant to me ended very well and with drama. And I much liked Mr. Cleobury’s arrangement of a recently discovered Latvian carol.
This was the first year I didn’t tear up for some reason. But at the end of the service I spontaneously thrust my fist in the air in triumph. I don’t recommend doing that in the Chapel of King’s College itself, however.
If you missed it, BBC Radio 3 will be replaying the service tomorrow Christmas morning at 8am Dallas time. And it will be available for replay online for a week or so afterwards.
Tonight, my parish puts on a service of Nine Lessons and Carols, combined with a Christmas pageant and Holy Communion. It’s the first time we’ve combined those so it should be interesting and fun.
May your Christmas be at least as excellent as mine already is.