Posted by: njs44 | January 3, 2010

Little angels

Simon Hoggart writes that he, an unbeliever, found Christmas Day Evensong in Norwich Cathedral very beautiful.

Nobody has to be a believer to enjoy church music. We spent Christmas at my sister’s in Norwich, and on Christmas afternoon walked to the cathedral for evensong. It is an incredible building, started more than 900 years ago by Herbert de Losinga, who became bishop of Thetford in 1091. There is, I think, no music in the world quite as ethereal, enchanting and involving as a choir singing in a great cathedral. They had chosen some of the more obscure carols, which gave the service a sense of distance from the cliched, singalong world of Jingle Bells and O Come, All Ye Faithful.I found myself drifting back towardsBishop Losinga’s world, a peasant or mason perhaps, freezing in the transept, humbled by the grandeur of the building, yet uplifted by its mystical force. And if it did that to me, heaven knows the effect it must have on true believers.

I wanted to find the order of service to see just what heavenly music was sung that day, but alas there was nothing to help me on the Norwich Cathedral website. So instead I conducted a brief search of Youtube to find some less-well-known carols which are my own favourites. We are still within the 12 days, so here is a small selection.

How far is it to Bethlehem? (travelling from Dublin) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSiTrvALcRI

Lullay Myn Liking (from Winchester) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Zx9JA2DOow

The Carol of the Birds (from the Von Trapp Children and some beautiful snow scenes) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0cKUnM6n9s

Jesus Christ the Apple Tree (I could hardly make a compilation of Christmas Carols and not include King’s College Cambridge, could I?) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cm3fZDZxiko&feature=related

The truth sent from above (another one from King’s – nobody does it better) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUfcUreoZPw&feature=related

It would be great if other people might suggest more carols to add to this list.

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