The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Carols and Hymns
from the
Festival Of Nine Lessons and Carols

From the years 1997-2007
With Notations of the Carols and Hymns In 1918, 1936, 1937, & 1957.

Links to carols and hymns are to King's College, Cambridge
All links accessed January 28, 2007
Nine Lessons and Carols, King's College
(Accessed Dec. 24, 2007).
Nine Lessons and Carols, the BBC (Accessed Dec. 24, 2007).

Note that the service was re-ordered following the 1918 service.

See also:
Carol Services
Readings for a Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols

By Tradition – The Processional Hymn

Once in Royal David's City (Every year since the original service in 1918, with multiple arrangements)

Words, C. F. Alexander
Melody, H. J. Gauntlett
Harmonised, H. J. Gauntlett and A. H. Mann
Descant, S. J. Cleobury

Carols Following “The Bidding Prayer
The Invitatory Carol

1918: A Great And Mighty Wonder

1936 & 1937: O Little Town Of Bethlehem (Walford Davies)

1957: "There Were Shepherds" and "Break Forth" from J. S. Bach, Christmas Oratorio

Glory to the Christ Child (Alan Bullard)

In Dulci Jubilo (Pearsall)

In The Bleak Mid-winter (H. Darke)

O Little Town of Bethlehem (Walford Davies)

On Christmas Night All Christians Sing (Sussex Carol, English Traditional),

Up Good Christen Folk, and Listen (Words, G R. Woodward. Melody, Piae Cantiones, 1582, Harmonized, G R Woodward)

Welcome be Thou Heavenly King (Welcome Yule, Words, 15th Century, Music, C. H. H. Parry)

What sweeter music can we bring (Words, Robert Herrick, Music, John Rutter; This carol was commissioned by the College for the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols in 1987.)

Carols following “The First Lesson
Lesson 1: Genesis 3:8-15, 17-19

1918: A Virgin Most Pure

1936 & 1937: Ding Dong! Merrily On High (G. R. Woodward from the Cambridge Carol Book); according to Ray Robinson,1 this is the second most popular carol to follow this reading over the years. It had appeared over 24 times between 1918 and 1990.
I Saw Three Ships (From the English Carol Book); according to Robinson, this is the third most popular carol, appearing 11 times between 1918 and 1990.

1957: Adam Lay Ybounded
    Ding Ding, Merrily On High

Adam Lay Y Bounden (Words, 15th century, Music, Peter Warlock)

Adam Lay Ybounden (Philip Ledger)

Adam Lay Ybounden (Boris Ord). According to Robinson, this is the most popular carol to follow this reading over the years. It had appeared over 30 times between 1918 and 1990.

Jesus Christ, The Apple-Tree (“The tree of life my soul hath seen,” Words, anon., Collection of Joshua Smith, New Hampshire, 1784, Music: Elizabeth Poston)

Remember, O Thou Man (Words, 16th Century, Music, T. Ravenscroft)

The Lord at First Did Adam Make (arr. Stephen Cleobury)

This is the Truth Sent From Above (Herefordshire Carol, Arranged, R. Vaughan Williams)

Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day (John Gardner)

Carols following “The Second Lesson
Lesson 2: Genesis 22:15-18

1918: Blessed Be That Maid Marie

1936 & 1937: The Holly And The Ivy (Walford Davies). According to Robinson, this is the most popular carol to follow this reading, appearing 18 times between 1918 and 1990.

1957: On Christmas Night All Christians Sing

All Men Draw Near (A Christmas Carol, Traditional Hungarian, Words, Clement Rogers, Arr., Zoltan Kodaly)

Angels, From The Realms of Glory (Words, James Montgomery, Music, Old French Tune, Arr., Philip S. Ledger)

Ding Dong! Merrily On High (arr. David Willcocks)

Ding Dong! Merrily On High (Words, G. R. Woodward, Music, 16th century French melody, Harmonised, Charles Wood)

Frohlocket, ihr Vökler auf Erden (Felix Mendelssohn)

How Shall I Fitly Meet Thee (Johann Sebastian Bach)

I Saw Three Ships (arr. Preston, 1971; Ledger, 1975, 1978, 1986, 1987); the second most popular carol, according to Robinson (11 appearances).

I Wonder As I Wander, Out Under The Sky (Appalachian Traditional, Music, C. Rutti)

In Dulci Jubilo (14th century German, Arranged, R. L. de Pearsall, Edited, Reginald Jacques)

In Dulci Jubilo (H.Praetorius)

Peace Be To You And Grace From Him (E’en so Lord Jesus, Quickly Come, Words, Revelation 22, Trans., Ruth Manz, Music, Paul Manz)

Šai svētā naktī  (Latvian carol arr. Cleobury)

Spring In Winter (Woolrich)

Sussex Carol (arr. Philip Ledger)

Unto Us Is Born A Son (Words, 15th century Latin, Trans., G R Woodward, Music, Piae Cantiones, Arr., David Willcocks)

Carols following “The Third Lesson
Lesson 3: Isaiah 9:2, 6, 7

1918: As Up The Wood I Took My Way

1936 & 1937: God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen ("Traditional English")

1957: O Little Town Of Bethlehem

Angels From The Realms of Glory (Words, J Montgomery, Music, Old French tune, Arr., Reginald Jacques)

I Wonder As I Wander (Appalachian traditional, Music, Carl Rutti)

Illuminare Jerusalem (Weir)

In Bethlehem In That Fair City (Words, 15th century, Music, Elizabeth Maconchy)

In Dulci Jubilo (Words and Music, 14th Century German, Arr., R. L. De Pearsall, Ed., R. Jacques)

It Came Upon The Midnight Clear, (Words, E. Sears, English traditional melody, Arranged, Arthur Sullivan, Descant, Stephen J. Cleobury)

Lo, In The Silent Night A Child in God is Born (Words, Silesius Angelus, Music, Judith Bingham; This carol was commissioned by the College for the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols)

Noël nouvelet arr. Stephen Jackson

Nowell Sing We Now All and Some (Medieval)

Now comes the Dawn (Brett Dean - first performance, commissioned by King's College)

O Little Town of Bethlehem (Words, P. Brooks, Music, English Traditional. Arr., R. Vaughan Williams, Descant, T. Armstrong)

On Christmas night, All Christians Sing (Sussex Carol, Words, English Traditional, Music arr., P. S. Ledger)

Unto Us Is Born A Son (Words, 15th Century Latin, Trans., G. R. Woodward, Music, Piae Cantiones, Arr., David V. Willcocks)

Virga Jesse (Anton Bruckner)

Carols following “The Fourth Lesson
Lesson 4: Isaiah 11:1-3a, 4a, 6-9

1918: While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night (Reading from Micah 5:2-4)

1936, 1937 & 1957: In Dulci Jubilo (Year Book Press); the most popular with 25 appearances according to Robinson.

A Great And Mighty Wonder (Words, St Germanus, Tr., J. M. Neale, Music, Michael Praetorius, Arr., James Whitbourn)

A Spotless Rose Is Blowing (Words, 15th century German, Trans., C. Winkworth, Music, Herbert Howells)

A Spotless Rose Is Blowing (Words, 15th century German, Trans., C. Winkworth, Music, Philip Ledger; This carol was composed for King’s College Choir in 2002.)

A Tender Shoot Has Started Up (Words and music, O. Goldschmidt, Trans., W. Bartholomew)

Det är en ros utsprungen (arr. Sandström)

Es ist ein’ Ros’ entsprungen (A Spotless Rose Is Blowing, Words & Melody, Speirschen Gesangbuch, Cologne, Trans., C. Winkworth, Arr., M. Praetorius)

In the Bleak Midwinter (Harold Darke)

It's All Under The Leaves And The Leaves of Life (The Leaves Of Life, A Shropshire Carol, Words, G. Walters, Music, English Traditional, Arr., S. J. Cleobury)

Little Lamb, Who Made Thee? (Words, William Blake, Music, John Tavener)

Riu, Riu, Chiu (Attrib. Meteo Flecha the Elder)

The Holly And The Ivy (Traditional English, Arr., Walford Davies); the second most popular (11 appearances).

The Lamb (Tavener)

There Is No Rose (John Joubert)

There Is No Rose of Such Virtue (Anon., c. 1420, Transcribed and edited, John Stevens)

There Is No Rose Of Such Virtue (John Joubert)

Carols following “The Fifth Lesson
Lesson 5: Luke 1:26-35, 38

1918: Unto Us Is Born A Son

1936: There Stood In Heaven A Linden Tree (R. R. Woodward from the Cambridge Carol Book)

1937: In Dulci Jubilo

1957: Hail, Blessed Virgin Mary

A Hymn to the Mother of God (John Tavener)

Alma redemptoris mater (Medieval)

Angelus ad virginem (Words, 13th Century, Trans., C. Brunelle, Music, 14th Century)

Bogoroditse Dyevo (Arvo Pärt)

Bogoroditse Dyevo (Rachmaninoff)

Ed I beo thu, heuene quene (Tr: Blessed be you, Queen of Heaven, Words and music, 13th Century English, Trans., N. Zeeman)

I sing of a maiden (Hadley)

Joseph Was An Old Man (The Cherry Tree Carol, Words and music, English Traditional, Arr., Stephen Cleobury)

Joys Seven (The First Good Joy That Mary Had, Traditional, Arranged, Stephen Cleobury)

O Toute belle Vierge Marie (Tr: O most beautiful Virgin Mary, Hymne A La Vierge, Words, R. Bouheret, Trans., Anonymous, Music, P. Villette)

Procedenti puero (Tr: To the boy who comes forth, Benedicamus Domino, from Sloane MS. 2593, from the time of Henry VI, Music, P. Warlock)

Resonet in laudibus (Jacob Handl)

Shepherds In The Field Abiding (Woodward from the Cowley Carol Book); the most popular carol, with 15 appearances.

Softly A Light Is Stealing (Mary’s Magnificat, Words and music, Andrew Carter)

The Angel Gabriel Descended To A Virgin (Words, 15-17th century, Music, Robin Holloway)

The Angel Gabriel From Heaven Came (Words, S. Baring-Gould, Music, Old Basque, Arranged, Edgar Pettman); Also known as "Gabriel's Message," in one of three forms over the years, this has been the second most popular carol according to Robinson, with 13 appearances.

The Cherry Tree Carol (Arr. Cleobury)

Also:

Rejoice, O virgin Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, for thou hast borne the Saviour of our souls.

Words, the Orthodox Liturgy, Music, Arvo Part, This carol has been commissioned by the College.

Carols following “The Sixth Lesson
Lesson 6: Luke 2:1, 3-7

1918: O Come, All Ye Faithful (Reading was John 1:1-14)

1936 & 1937: While Shepherds Watched (Este's Psalter, 1592); according to Robinson, this carol appeared for the first 19 years of the Festival, from 1918-1947.

1957: A Virgin Most Pure; this carol appeared from 1948-1957.

A babe is born (Mathias)

A Child is Born in Bethlehem (Samuel Scheidt)

A Virgin Most Pure, As The Prophets Do Tell (Words, English traditional, Music, arr., Stephen Cleobury)

Alleluia! I bring you news of great joy (Grier)

Away in a manger (arr. Willcocks)

Dormi Jesu (John Rutter)

I Saw Three Ships (arr. Simon Preston)

I sing the birth (Elgar)

I Wonder As I Wander, Out Under The Sky (Appalachian Traditional, Music, Carl Rutti)

In Dulci Jubilo (Arr. R. Pearsall)

Jesu Of A Maiden Thou Wast Born (Misere’ Nobis, Words, A Version Of A Mediaeval English Carol, Music, M-A. Turnage, This carol has been commissioned by the College.)

Myn lyking (Richard Terry)

Not Yet Shepherds, (The Gleam, Words, Stephen Plaice, Music, Harrison Birtwistle, This carol has been commissioned by the College, with support from Sir Patrick and Lady Elias, for today's service.)

Sleep Little Jesus, My Gentle Dove (Lulajze Jezuniu, Sleep, Little Jesus, Sleep, Traditional Polish, Trans., Anna Kaspszyk, Arr., Roxanna Panufnik)

Sleep, Baby, Sleep, The Mother Sings (Words, J. A. Symonds, Music, Richard Lloyd)

Sweet Was The Song The Virgin Sang (Words, W. Ballet, Music., D. Blackford)

The Virgin's Cradle-Hymn (Rubbra)

Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day, (Words, English Traditional, Arranged, David Willcocks)

Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day, (Words, English Traditional, Music, J. Gardner)

Winter Solstice Carol (Giles Swayne)

Carols following “The Seventh Lesson
Lesson 7: Luke 2:8-16

1918: O Night Peaceful and Blest
    Childing of a Maiden Bright

1936: Shepherds In The Field Abiding (G. R. Woodward and C. Wood, the Cowley Carol Book)
    Come, Rock The Cradle For Him (G. R. Woodward from the Cowley Carol Book)

1937: Shepherds In The Field Abiding
    Hail, Holy Child

1957: While Shepherds Watched
    I Saw A Maiden

Away In A Manger, No Crib For A Bed (Words, 19th Century, Music, J. Tavener, This carol has been commissioned by the College for today’s service.)

Away In A Manger, No Crib For A Bed (Words, 19th Century, Music, W. J. Kirkpatrick, Arr., D. V. Willcocks)

Dormi, Jesu! (Rutter)

God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen (Words, English Traditional, Arranged, David Willcocks)

I Wonder As I Wander (Carl Rütti)

In the Bleak Midwinter (Words, Christina Rossetti, Music, Harold Darke)

On Christmas Day to My Heart (Richard Rodney Bennett)

Starry Night O’er Bethlehem (Words, Anne Willcocks, Music, David Willcocks, This Carol has been specially written for this service.)

The Fayrfax Carol (Thomas Adès) – New Commission

The First Nowell (arr. David Willcocks)

The Shepherd's Carol (Chilcott)

While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night (Words, N. Tate, Music, Este’s Psalter, 1592, Descants by Alan Gray and Stephen. J. Cleobury); this hymn has following the reading from 1948 through 1990, according to Robinson. It also appeared in 2007.

Carols following “The Eighth Lesson
Lesson 8: Matthew 2:1-12

1918: In Dulci Jubilo; this carol has appeared 21 times.
    The Magnificat (Reading was Matthew 1: 1-11)

1936: A Spotless Rose (Herbert Howells)

1937: The Three Kings (Cornelius and Atkins); this carol has been performed 25 times.

1957: Rejoice And Be Merry
    A Babe Is Born

A Babe Is Born, All Of A May (Words, 15th century, Music, William Mathias)

A Principal Point Of Charity (Words, 15th Century, Music, S. J. Cleobury. This carol was commissioned by the Worshipful Company of Musicians in 2004 for the Company’s annual carol service at St Michael’s Church, Cornhill, London.)

Alleluia, a New Work is Come on Hand (Peter Wishart)

Bethlehem Down (Peter Warlock)

Coventry Carol (Medieval)

Ding dong merrily on high (arr. Wilberg)

I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing In (Words, English Traditional, Arranged, Philip Ledger)

Look Up Sweet Babe, Look Up And See (Words, Richard Crashaw, Music, Lennox Berkeley)

Lowly, Laid In A Manger (The Holy Boy, Words, Herbert S Brown, Music, John Ireland)

Noël Nouvelet, Noël Chantons Ici. (Nowelling anew, this carol let us sing, French Traditional, Trans., Gerald Peacocke, Arr., Stephen Jackson)

Personent hodie (arr. Holst)

Riu, Riu, Chiu (Words translated, H. Keyte and A. Parrott, after R. Pring-Mill, Music attrib., Mateo Flecha The Elder)

The Three Kings (J. Dove)

The Three Kings (Peter Cornelius)

Three Kings From Persian Lands Afar (Words, Peter Cornelius and P. Nicolai, Trans., H. N. Bate, Music, Peter Cornelius, Arr., Ivor Atkins)

Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day (Gardner)

Carols following “The Ninth Lesson
Lesson 9: John 1:1-14

1918: The First Nowell (Reading was Galatians 4:4-7)

1936, 1937 & 1957: O Come, All Ye Faithful ("17th-18th Century French"). This carol has appeared in all Festivals except two (1918 and 1965)

O Come, All Ye Faithful (Adeste Fideles, Words trans., F Oakeley; Melody, J F Wade; Arr. And Desc, Stephen Cleobury)

O Come, All Ye Faithful (Adeste Fideles, Words trans., F Oakeley; Melody, J F Wade; Desc. Sir David Willcocks)

1965: Jesus Christ The Apple Tree, music by Elizabeth Poston.

Verbum Caro Factum Est (Hassler)

Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her (From heaven above to earth I come, Words, E. Muller, Trans., C. Winkworth, Music, J. S. Bach, from Magnificat BWV 243a)

Carols following “The Collect & Blessing

Congregational Hymn

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (Words, C. Wesley and G. Whitefield, Music, J. L. F. Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Descant, S. J. Cleobury); every year since the original service in 1918, with varying arrangements.

Organ voluntaries

In Dulci Jubilo BWV 729 (J S Bach)

Followed by one of the following:

Toccata from Suite Op. 5 (Duruflé)

Finale from Symphonie VI in B minor (Louis Vierne)

Fête (Jean Langlais)

Carillon-Sortie - Henri Mulet

Sinfonia from Cantata 29 - J S Bach
Wir danken dir, Gott - arr. Marcel Dupre

Carillon de Westminster Op. 54 No. 6     Louis Vierne

Toccata - Op. 104 - Joseph Jongen

Improvisation on ‘Adeste fideles’ Francis Pott. This work has been commissioned for today’s service with support from the Eric Thompson Trust and Christopher Jonas, Esq.

Recessional on ‘In the Bleak Midwinter’ (Lionel Steuart Fothringham)

Additional Sources:

Erik Routley, The English Carol. New York: Oxford University Press, 1959, pp. 227 et. seq. and Appendix 1. This invaluable volume contains considerable detail about the King's College Festival, plus the order of service at Truro and Addington.

On Christmas Eve: Program of the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. Birmingham: School of Printing, Central School of Arts and Crafts, 1936.

In March, 2007, I was privileged to receive a copy of the 1936 printing of the program of the Festival "On Christmas Eve,' of which only 250 copies were printed. The beautifully illustrated volume was produced under the direction of Leonard Jay by the students and teachers at the City of Birmingham School of Printing (a department of the Central School of Arts and Crafts, Margaret Street). The page at left is of the Fifth Lesson, and shows the lettering and illustrations found in this volume.

See also:

Note:

1. Ray Robinson, "The Service of Lessons and Carols," Choral Journal (American Choral Director's Association), December 1990, pages 13-20. Return

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