List of carols at the Nine Lessons and Carols, King's College Chapel

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The west end of King's College Chapel seen from The Backs, with Clare College Old Court on the left and the Gibbs' Building of King's College on the right.

This is a list of carols performed at the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at King's College Chapel, Cambridge. The Festival is an annual church service held on Christmas Eve (24 December) at King's College Chapel in Cambridge, England. The Nine Lessons, which are the same every year, are read by representatives of the college and of the City of Cambridge from the 1611 Authorized King James Version of the Bible.

The service is broadcast live in the United Kingdom on BBC Radio 4, and abroad on the BBC's overseas programmes as well; it is estimated that each year there are millions of listeners worldwide who listen to it live on the BBC World Service. In the UK, a recorded broadcast is also made on Christmas Day on BBC Radio 3.[1] A television programme entitled Carols from King's which is pre-recorded in early or mid-December is shown on Christmas Eve in the UK on BBC Two and BBC Four.


In the table below, carols specially commissioned for the Choir of King's College Chapel are highlighted in green. To rearrange the table alphabetically or numerically by a particular column, click on the arrow symbol in the column heading.

Title Year of first performance Lyricist Composer Notes
Adam Lay Ybounden[2] 1955 15th century Ord, Boris
Adeste Fideles[3]
(O Come, All Ye Faithful)
[Unknown, sung 2008] 18th-century Latin, translated by Frederick Oakeley Wade, John Francis
Alleluia! A New Work is Come on Hand[2] 1966 15th century Wishart, Peter Charles Arthur
The Angel Gabriel Descended to a Virgin[4] 2002 15th–17th century Holloway, Robin
The Angels[citation needed]
(Should you hear them singing among stars)
1994 Taylor, John V. Harvey, Jonathan
Angels from the Realms of Glory[3] 1978 Montgomery, James Old French tune, arranged by Philip Ledger
Away in a Manger[5] 2005 19th century Tavener, John
The Birthday of thy King[citation needed]
(Awake, glad heart, get up, and sing!)
1988 Vaughan, Henry (adapted) Sculthorpe, Peter
Carol of St. Steven[citation needed] 1989 W. Sandys' Christmas Carols (adapted) Goehr, Alexander
A Child is Born in Bethlehem[2] 1966 14th century Benedictine processional, translated by G.R. Woodward and others Scheidt, Samuel
Christo Paremus Cantica[citation needed] 1993 15th century Burrell, Diana
The Fayrfax Carol[2] 1997 Early Tudor Adès, Thomas
Frohlocket, ihr Völker auf Erden[2]
(Rejoice, O Ye Peoples of the Earth)
[Unknown] Anonymous Mendelssohn, Felix
A Gathering[citation needed] 1991 Andrewes, Lancelot Casken, John
The Gleam[6]
(Not yet shepherds the gilded kings)
2003 Plaice, Stephen Birtwistle, Harrison
Glory, Alleluia to the Christ Child![3]
(Out of the Orient Crystal Skies)
[Unknown, sung 2008] 17th century Bullard, A.
God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen[3] align=center 1959 English traditional English traditional, arranged by David V. Willcocks
God would be Born in Thee[7]
(Lo, in the Silent Night a Child in God is Born)
2004 Silesius, Angelus Bingham, Judith
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing[3] [Unknown, sung 2008] Wesley, Charles, and Whitefield, George Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Jakob Ludwig Felix; descant by Stephen J. Cleobury
A Hymn to the Mother of God[2] [Unknown] Liturgy of Saint Basil Tavener, John
I Saw Three Ships[2] [Unknown] Traditional English Traditional English, arranged by Simon Preston
I Sing of a Maiden[3] 1965 15th century Berkeley, Lennox (also sung in a version by Patrick Hadley)
If Ye would Hear the Angels Sing[3] [Unknown, sung 2008] Greenwell, D. Tranchell, P.
Illuminare Jerusalem[8] 1985 Bannatyne manuscript in John MacQueen; Winifred MacQueen (1972), A Choice of Scottish Verse, 1470–1570, London: Faber and Faber, ISBN 0-571-09532-1  (adapted). Weir, Judith
In Dulci Jubilo[2]
(In Sweet Rejoicing)
1918 14th-century German de Pearsall, Robert Lucas; edited by Reginald Jacques
In Dulci Jubilo[3]
(In Sweet Rejoicing)
1988 14th-century German Praetorius, Hieronymous
In the Bleak Midwinter[2] [Unknown] Rossetti, Christina Darke, Harold Edwin
In Wintertime[citation needed]
(When Thou wast born in wintertime)
1983 Askwith, Betty Berkeley, Lennox
Infant Holy, Infant Lowly[3] [Unknown, sung 2008] Polish traditional, translated by Edith M.G. Reed Polish traditional, arranged by Stephen J. Cleobury
King Herod and the Cock[citation needed]
(There was a star in David's land)
1977 [Unknown] Walton, William
The Lamb[9]
(Little lamb, who made thee?)
1982 Blake, William Tavener, John Although the carol was first performed at the Festival in 1982, its première performance was given by the Winchester Cathedral Choir a few days before.
Misere' Nobis[10]
(Jesu of a Maiden Thou wast Born)
2006 Medieval English carol (adapted) Turnage, Mark-Anthony
The Night when She First Gave Birth[3]
2008 Brecht, Bertolt, translated by Michael Hamburger Muldowney, Dominic
Noël (Now comes the dawn)[11]
(Stardust and vaporous light)
2007 Gilder, Richard Watson Dean, Brett
Nowel, Nowel, Holly Dark[citation needed] 1986 de la Mare, Walter Bennett, Richard Rodney
Nowell Sing We Now All and Some[2] 1984 Medieval Medieval, edited by John Stevens
On Christmas Day to My Heart[12] 1999 Paman, Clement Bennett, Richard Rodney
Once in Royal David's City[13] every year Alexander, Mrs. Cecil Frances Gauntlett, Henry J.; arr. A. H. Mann, David Willcocks, Stephen Cleobury, et al. Since 1919 this carol has always been the processional carol, with verse 1 sung unaccompanied by a boy soloist.
One Star, at Last[citation needed]
(Fix on one star)
1984 Brown, George Mackay Davies, Peter Maxwell
The Oxen[citation needed]
(Christmas Eve and twelve of the clock)
1982 Hardy, Thomas Radcliffe, Philip Radcliffe was a longtime Fellow in Music of King's College.
Pilgrim Jesus[citation needed]
(Iesus! Christus! In the manger of my body)
1996 Crossley-Holland, Kevin Paulus, Stephen
Remember, O Thou Man[3] [Unknown, sung 2008] 16th century Ravenscroft, Thomas
Seinte Marie Moder Milde[citation needed] 1995 13th-century manuscript in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge MacMillan, James
A Spotless Rose is Blowing 2002 [Unknown] Ledger, Philip
A Spotless Rose is Blowing[3] 1929 15th-century German, translated by C. Winkworth Howells, H.
Spring in Winter[8] 2001 Smart, C., from Hymn &c: The Nativity of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ Woolrich, John
Starry Night o'er Bethlehem[7] 2004 Willcocks, Anne Willcocks, David
Sweet Baby, Sleep! What Ails My Dear?[3]
(Wither's Rocking Hymn)
1933 Wither, George Vaughan Williams, Ralph
Swetë Jesu[citation needed] 1992 13th century Maw, Nicholas
There is No Rose[2] [Unknown] 15th-century English Joubert, John
The Three Kings[2] 1932 Cornelius, Carl August Peter and Nicolai, P.; translated by H.N. Bate Cornelius, Carl August Peter; arranged by Ivor Atkins
The Three Kings[14] 2000 Sayers, Dorothy L., from The Three Kings (1916) Dove, Jonathan
Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day[2] [Unknown] Traditional English Gardner, John
Unto Us is Born a Son[3] [Unknown, sung 2008] 15th-century Latin, translated by G.R. Woodward Piae Cantiones (Devout Songs), arranged by David V. Willcocks
Verbum Caro Factum Est[2]
(The Word was Made Flesh)
[Unknown] John 1:14 Hassler, Leo
Wassail Carol
(Wassail sing we in worship of Christ's Nativity)
1967 [Unknown] Mathias, William
What Sweeter Music Can We Bring[5] 1987 Herrick, Robert Rutter, John
Winter Solstice Carol[15] 1998 Swayne, Giles (English words); Magnificat antiphon for Christmas Day (Latin words) Swayne, Giles
Богородиџе Дево радуйся, Благодатная Марие, Господь с Тобою[11]
(Bogoroditse Dyevo – Rejoice, O Virgin Mary, Full of Grace, the Lord is with Thee)
1990 Orthodox Liturgy (in Russian) Pärt, Arvo

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Nine lessons and carols: History of the service, King's College Chapel, retrieved 2008-03-09 .
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Nine Lessons and Carols 1997, Provost and Fellows of King's College, Cambridge, 1997, retrieved 2008-08-28 .
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, Christmas Eve, 2008 (PDF), Provost and Fellows of King's College, Cambridge, 24 December 2008, retrieved 2008-12-16 .
  4. ^ Nine Lessons and Carols 2002, Provost and Fellows of King's College, Cambridge, 2002, retrieved 2008-01-01 .
  5. ^ a b A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, Christmas Eve, 2005 (PDF), Provost and Fellows of King's College, Cambridge, 2005-12-24, retrieved 2008-01-01 .
  6. ^ Nine Lessons and Carols 2003, King's College Chapel, Cambridge, 2003, retrieved 2008-01-01 .
  7. ^ a b Nine Lessons and Carols 2004, Provost and Fellows of King's College, Cambridge, 2004, retrieved 2008-01-01 .
  8. ^ a b Nine Lessons and Carols 2001, Provost and Fellows of King's College, Cambridge, 2001, retrieved 2008-01-01 .
  9. ^ Jeremy Grimshaw, The Lamb, for chorus: Composition description, allmusic, retrieved 2008-08-27 .
  10. ^ A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, Christmas Eve, 2006 (PDF), Provost and Fellows of King's College, Cambridge, 24 December 2006, retrieved 2008-01-01 .
  11. ^ a b A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, Christmas Eve, 2007 (PDF), Provost and Fellows of King's College, Cambridge, 2007-12-24, retrieved 2007-12-24 .
  12. ^ Nine Lessons and Carols 1999, Provost and Fellows of King's College, Cambridge, 1999, retrieved 2008-01-01 .
  13. ^ King's College Cambridge: A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, retrieved 2011-01-03 .
  14. ^ Nine Lessons and Carols 2000, Provost and Fellows of King's College, Cambridge, 2000, retrieved 2008-01-01 .
  15. ^ Nine Lessons and Carols 1998, Provost and Fellows of King's College, Cambridge, 1998, retrieved 2008-01-01 .

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]