Making a joyful noise this season
WHEN the current director of the King’s College, Cambridge choir, Stephen Cleobury, took over in 1982, he began a fresh festive tradition by commissioning a new carol each year for inclusion in the beloved Christmas Eve service A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols.
For Michael Berkeley, the composer of this year’s work, the performance will be particularly special—his father, Lennox Berkeley, was the first composer commissioned by Stephen Cleobury for this honour in 1983.
A traditional 15th-century Christmas text set to music, Mr Berkeley’s This Endernight will be performed during the famous service, which has been held at King’s since 1918 and is now broadcast to millions of people around the world.
Live on BBC Radio 4 on December 24 at 3pm, the service is free to attend and, although the queue tends to form a day before, those who arrived by 9am in previous years were successful in getting a seat. There’s a cafe inside the college grounds and the chapel doors open at 1.30pm (www.kings.cam.ac.uk).
Here, we present the many opportunities to enjoy the angelic music of cathedral choirs across Britain this Christmas, mainly in the Nine Lessons and Carols format. Most are free to attend, unless it’s indicated that you need a ticket. Katy Birchall